Attention, Perception And Information Processing By Users Of Political Parties Websites

The goal of this research is to provide webmasters with a theoretically and experimentally valid scheme toward understanding the influence of design in the selection, processing and memory retention of specific items that give form to websites of Portuguese political parties. Within the websites at the service of parties political communication, we found a widespread ignorance on the part of the users about design serving an optimal decoding of messages published these types of communicational devices. In Portugal, the lack of literature on the subject is a valid argument justifying the need for scientific studies to overcome public ignorance of both the academic scholars and information architects and hypermedia systems. On this basis, the main goal of this research is to determine the potential of design elements as a vehicle for organizing the process of interaction between the user and the hypermedia product. The many questions that exist about the influence of design in the process of message decoding are the basis of our interest in knowing the patterns of visual behavior and information processing of users of the majors portuguese political parties on the World Wide Web presence.

Therefore, our project has the following research question: The strategy of design used by Portugueses Political Parties influences the attention, perception and information processing? Our problem is related in its essence with the optimization of transmission and decoding of the message, and, therefore, we present the following statement which makes the hypothesis of this research: Attention, perception and information processing are mental processes whose intensity varies according to the strategy of design that make up the configuration of political websites. The research implements an exploratory methodology. Initially, and after the collection, consultation and drafting of the state of the art on all topics related to the subject of study, we intend to observe and measure the visual behavior of users of the portuguese political websites under assessment. The exploratory study of visual behavior will be held at the Department of Literature, Arts and Communication, University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro, with a non-probability sample of 600 subjects (100 subjects per website x 6 political parties under assessment). The majors portugueses political parties in study are: Partido Socialista (PS), Partido Social Democrata (PSD), Partido Popular (CDS-PP), Bloco de Esquerda (BE) Partido Comunista Português (PCP) e Partido Ecologista “Os Verdes” (PEV). Based on the exploratory sessions using the eye-tracking device, we concluded that the subject begins its visual route using visual ressources. However, the information processing is mainly based in textual ressources, and images play a supportive role in the interpretation of the contents published in political parties websites.


José Belo – Universidade de Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro, Portugal.

Galvão Meirinhos – Universidade de Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro, Portugal.



Licenciado em Marketing, licenciado em Publicidade e Relações Públicas, Mestre e Doutor em Ciências da Comunicação pela Universidade Autónoma de Barcelona. Desenvolveu, também, o seu percurso profissional no mundo das empresas, sendo, entre 2004 e 2007, diretor de comunicação da DELAUBE SARL, empresa especializada no desenvolvimento de projetos imobiliários em França.

Desde 2009, é diretor dos ciclos de estudos em ciências da comunicação. Em 2011, passou a ser representante da UTAD no Centro de Estudos e Investigação de Segurança e Defesa de Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro. Já em 2012, iniciou os seus trabalhos de pós-doutoramento na área da eficácia comunicativa na Universidade de Vigo.

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