READING NEWS ON SMARTPHONES: HOW DO MOOD, MODALITY INTERACTIVITY, AND NEWS STORY LENGTH INFLUENCE USER ENGAGEMENT?

Open Access
Author:
Wang, Ruoxu
Graduate Program:
Mass Communications
Degree:
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Dissertation
Date of Defense:
March 03, 2017
Committee Members:
  • Michel M. Haigh, Dissertation Advisor
  • Fuyuan Shen, Committee Member
  • Mary Beth Oliver, Committee Member
  • James Dillard, Outside Member
  • Michel M. Haigh, Committee Chair
Keywords:
  • smartphone news reading
  • mood
  • modality interactivity
  • news story length
  • user engagment
  • persuasion
  • user experience
  • human computer interaction
Abstract:
Reading news on smartphones has become a primary activity among smartphone users. A 2 (Mood: Positive vs. Negative) x 2 (Modality Interactivity: Scrolling vs. Swiping) x 2 (Length: Long form vs. Short Form) x 2 (Topic: Zika vs. West Nile) between subject experiment (N = 332) was conducted to examine the effects of mood, modality interactivity, news story length, and topic on user engagement under the context of smartphone news reading. Results showed mood, modality interactivity, or news story length had no direct impact on user engagement. However, there was a combinatory effect of mood, length, and topic on dimensions of user engagement. When reading stories about Zika, happy readers showed more curiosity toward the long form story than the short form story. Sad readers showed equal curiosity toward the long form Zika story and the short form Zika story. Participants in the sad mood condition reading stories about the West Nile virus showed more curiosity toward the long form news story compared with the happy readers. Participants in the happy mood condition showed more curiosity toward the short form news story compared with the sad readers. A significant three-way interaction among mood, length, and topic on credibility was also discovered. The long form Zika story was generally perceived as more credible than the short form news story regardless of the mood condition. Sad readers perceived the short form story as more credible than the long form story about West Nile. Happy readers perceived the short form West Nile story as equally credible as the long form story.