Measuring Online Flow

Measuring Online Flow

D. Aiken (Eastern Washington University, USA)
Copyright: © 2007 |Pages: 3
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-792-8.ch041
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Examination of the flow construct began almost twenty years ago. Csikszentmihalyi has written extensively on this notion loosely described as attaining an intrinsically enjoyable “optimal experience” (Csikszentmihalyi, 1977, 1990, 1997). Flow requires people to be completely and totally immersed in an activity. Time will stand still and nothing else will seem to matter (Mannell, et al., 1988). Flow is important because it has a relatively clear set of antecedents and consequences that have significant implications for web commerce. While flow has been studied in a broad range of contexts including sports, work, shopping, games, and computer use, researchers are only now beginning to study flow during consumer web navigations. Hoffman and Novak (1996) have ascribed the flow experience to web behavior, measuring the loss of self-consciousness in an essentially blissful encounter. In this situation, flow is defined as the state occurring during web navigations characterized by: (1) a seamless sequence of responses facilitated by interactivity, (2) an intrinsically enjoyable experience, (3) accompanied by a loss of self-consciousness that is (4) self-reinforcing (Hoffman and Novak, 1997). Web consumers who achieve the flow experience are so acutely involved in the act of online navigation that thoughts and perceptions not relevant to navigation are filtered out completely – the consumer is immersed in the computer-mediated interaction. Self-consciousness disappears, the consumer’s sense of time becomes distorted, and they achieve an internalized sense of gratification (Novak, et al., 2000).

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