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Chapter 2. Flow in Web Design > What Causes Flow Online?

What Causes Flow Online?

Speed and control play a big part in establishing flow in online interactions. In 1996, Hoffman and Novak extended Csikszentmihalyi's work to consumer navigation on the web. They proposed that users return to web sites that facilitate flow and suggest that online marketers offer these “flow opportunities.”[16] It turns out that marketers are listening. Nearly 45 percent of the users that they surveyed experienced flow online. A subsequent study found that 47 percent of users had experienced flow on a specific web site.[17] Hoffman and Novak defined flow online as:

[16] Hoffman and Novak, “Marketing in Hypermedia Computer-Mediated Environments,” 66.

[17] Thomas P. Novak, Donna L. Hoffman, and Yiu-Fai Yung, “Measuring the Customer Experience in Online Environments: A Structural Modeling Approach,” Marketing Science 19, no. 1 (2000): 22–42.

“the state occurring during network navigation which is: (1) characterized by a seamless sequence of responses facilitated by machine interactivity, (2) intrinsically enjoyable, (3) accompanied by a loss of self-consciousness, and (4) self-reinforcing.” [18]

[18] Hoffman and Novak, “Marketing in Hypermedia Computer-Mediated Environments,” 57.


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