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The Effects of responsive website design and screen size of tablets on university students’ reading comprehension, cognitive load, and preference of reading on tablets

Aytekin, Merve
It is known that instructional design principles are used for providing better learning in multimedia environments. E-reading can be thought as a part of multimedia learning and it has become more popular in society with the help of digital technologies. Nowadays, people mostly use handheld devices like tablets for reading and each of them has their own screen resolution. Thereof, online web content should provide ideal viewing for each screen size to support easy reading which is called responsive website design (RWD). Therefore, the purpose of this study is to investigate the effects of RWD and screen size on reading comprehension, cognitive load, and preference of reading on tablets. For this purpose, matched between-participants after-only true experimental design is conducted. The input variables for used matching are gender and working memory. In the implementation, different website designs (responsive/non-responsive) and different screen sizes (small/large) are used as independent variables. The dependent variables are reading-comprehension, preference of reading on tablets and cognitive load of students. Quantitative data were collected; and descriptive analysis and MANOVA were used to analyze the data. According to the results of the analysis, none of the independent variables yielded significant results based on the results of the multivariate test. However, between subject analysis shows that website design has a significant effect on the reference of reading on tablets, and there is a marginal interaction effect of website design and screen size on cognitive load.