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Abstract

Content is of primary importance in the World Wide Web. In particular, subjective perceptions of content are known to influence a variety of user evaluations, thereby altering attitudes and behavioral outcomes. Thus, it is essential that individually experienced facets of content can be adequately assessed. In a series of seven studies, we create, validate, and benchmark a measure for users’ subjective view on web content. In the first six studies, a total of 3106 participants evaluated a sum of 60 websites. The resulting Web-CLIC questionnaire is a 12-item measure based on prior research on web content. It encloses four main facets of users’ content experience: clarity, likeability, informativeness, and credibility – jointly representing a general factor subjective content perception. Very high internal consistencies and high short- to medium-term retest reliabilities are demonstrated. Strong evidence for construct validity in terms of factorial, convergent, divergent, discriminative, concurrent, experimental, and predictive validity is found. In a seventh study, encompassing 7379 ratings on 120 websites, benchmarks for 10 different content domains and optimal cut points are provided. Overall, the present research suggests that the Web-CLIC is a sound measure of subjective content perception of both practical and theoretical benefit.

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