Roxanne Hovland and Sally McMillan
The Internet thus dictates "that advertisers adjust to a new medium that is not bound by either space or time and that has the capability to involve and engage the consumer" (McMillan, Hwang, and Lee 2003, p. 400).
These college-aged consumers spend a considerable amount of time online and can be categorized as savvy computer users whose interactive activities include downloading, creating content, and chatting online (McMillan 2004).
One stream of research defines it according to features, or the characteristics of the site that make it engaging (e.g., Ahren, Stromer-Galley, and Neuman 2000; Carey 1989; Ha and James 1998; Jensen 1998; Lombard and Snyder-Dutch 2001; McMillan
2000; Novak, Hoffman, and Yung 2000), and emphasizes actual features such as e-mail options, navigational tools, transaction capabilities, customized content, user control, and timeliness.
Interactivity also might be defined according to user perceptions of the interactivity of a site (e.g., Jee and Lee 2002; McMillan
and Hwang 2002; Newhagen, Cordes, and Levy 1996; Schumann, Artis, and Rivera 2001; Wu 1999, 2000).
(2002) combines features, processes, and perceptions to develop a multifaceted definition of interactivity, then expands each dimension into three unique types of interactivity: human-to-human, human-to-computer, and human-to-content.
In turn, we apply McMillan's
(2002) multidimensional conceptualization of interactivity to explore gender differences and interactivity; we also integrate Wu's (2000) perceived interactivity dimensions.
(2002) Multidimensional Definition of Interactivity
If we apply McMillan's
(2002) three types of interactivity, the finding that men are more likely than women to use the Internet for information gathering and entertainment correlates with human-to-computer interactivity.
We also classify McMillan's
(2002) multidimensional definition into two categories: user-based interactivity, which includes processes, actually using an interactive feature, and perceptions, which refer to the mental constructions of beliefs about the interactive communication environment, versus system-based interactivity, which includes features.
The perceived control items address aspects of McMillan's
(2002) human-to-computer and human-to-content interactions.
The perceived responsiveness items pertain to McMillan's
(2002) human-to-human type, and perceived personalization questions relate to human-to-human and human-to-content interactions.
Advertising efforts should focus on the audience, and the capabilities of the Internet make the connection between the audience and the advertiser much more direct (McMillan 2005).
The Internet dictates "that advertisers adjust to a new medium that is not bound by either space or time and that has the capability to involve and engage the consumer" (McMillan, Hwang, and Lee 2003, p. 400).
Sally J. McMillan is Professor of Advertising and Public Relations at the University of Tennessee.
research focuses on exploring interactivity, definitions and history of new media, online research methods, health communication, and impacts of communication technology on organizations and society.
has published in leading journals and conducted research funded by agencies ranging from the National Cancer Institute to the American Academy of Advertising