TECHNIQUES - Archives May 99

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The First Annual Undergraduate Research Conference recognizes and celebrates undergraduate research and creativity activities at Minnesota State University, Mantkato. The URC was held in the MSU,M Centennial Student Union April 15 and 16, 1999. Below are two research summaries from members of the Techniques staff.


Choosing The Right Colors
by Brandi Maon and Angie Pinson

Color in website design is one of todayŐs hottest topics. However, many people in designing web pages ultimately choose a color or colors that are very inappropriate and quite unattractive. The reason for this misuse of color is a direct result of there not being any clearly defined color principles that pertain to web site design. More importantly, there has not been any significant research done to dictate usersŐ color preferences in viewing these sites.

Our research study was based on finding these user preferences in hopes of evaluating the most effective and eye-catching color combinations in producing online documentation. The way we went about finding this information is by setting up a online color combination questionairre. We combined two separate colors per page, and asked that our research subjects fill out surveys explaining if they liked the color combinations or diskliked them. And if they disliked them, we encouraged them to tell us why, to allow us to gain extended insight as to why these combinations do not work.

The conclusions that our research provided to us were: Users prefer white backgrounds with dark colored text, links, and any other informational objects such as blue or black and also users disklike dark colors such as purple or green as background colors regardless of text and link colors.

Hopefully our research project summary will provide you with insight as to what users like and do not like when they look at web sites. Keep in mind that even though your site may have a lot of great information, if it is unattractive and distracting in color, many users will disregard it right away and lose interest in the company or itŐs products.


Are You Informed
by Cyndie Davis and Ann Freir

Do you feel it is important to keep up on current events? If so, where do you get your daily news from? This was the focus of our research project. The title of our project, which was presented in poster form, was "What Source of Media are Adult Americans Attracted to for Their Daily News and What Are the Reasons for the Attraction to a Particular Source?"

Our project involved 130 randomly selected Minnesota State University, Mankato students that were kind enough to fill out our questionairres and also we selected five students to participate in a videotaped focus group to discuss the issue.

What we discovered was that most students remained current on public events through the use of two or more sources (television, radio, internet, etc.), with television being the primary souce for staying on top of the news. The reasons students opted for the television is they felt television is more convenient and accessible. When asked what they perceive the future of the media to be, students overwhelminly felt that the internet will take over as the primary news source for people.

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