Avoidance of browsing approach

Help-Seeking Situation: Avoidance of browsing approach

Definition: This is a cognitive situation where a user avoids taking a path that may lead the user off the trail, through in-depth exploration or through several iterations of the search process. The user perceives that taking an in-depth approach will lead to disorientation, lostness, or that they will lose their sense of place.


Guideline or Design Recommendation

  1. Provide instructions and design browsing features simple along with a textual form.
  2. Avoid dynamic features.


  • Previous experience
  • Complex information presentation
  • Lack of system knowledge
  • No section headers
  • Unclear labeling

Rationale and Objective:

Browsing is one of the main features for searching a DL, but due to complex information presentation, browsing features may be too complicated for users and they avoid taking this route. Instructions are required to support BVI users in browsing a DL. For BVI users, dynamic features or excessive text create confusion, which is one main reason why BVI users avoid this approach.  Many browsing features are based on visual elements, such as map or timeline, which also causes BVI users to experience difficulties navigate and understand the content. These features should be sufficiently explained in textual form.

Techniques, Methods, and Features

Techniques and Methods

  • Provide instructions on how to browse the DL
  • Simplify web page design for intuitive browsing
  • Avoid dynamic features – e.g. feature expansion (closed/opened)
  • Describe dynamic or visual features in a textual form, applying clear headings and labels – e.g. map or timeline
  • Add a navigation feature, such as link, so that BVI users can navigate.



  • Instruction
  • Simplicity
  • Static features
  • Textual descriptions of visual components
  • Navigation features (e.g. link – sometimes, invisible)
  • Date information for the timeline



  • Link added.
  • Date added.
  • Invisible links added: “Skip to event details” and “Return to thumbnail”


  • Description added for Timeline/Key terms

Related Resources:

See also:

Help-seeking Situations >  Avoidance > Factors > System design > Complex No alternative text


Help-seeking Situations >  Avoidance > Factors > User factors > Previous experience
Help-seeking Situations >  Avoidance > Factors > User factors > Lack of system knowledge

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