Exploring Web users’ optimal flow experiences

Hsiang Chen (I‐Shou University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan)
Rolf T. Wigand (Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York, USA)
Michael Nilan (Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York, USA)

Information Technology & People

ISSN: 0959-3845

Publication date: 1 December 2000


Characterizations of users’ experiences on the Web are beginning to appear. Recently released research suggests that Internet use may reduce psychological well‐being, for instance by increasing loneliness and depression. Our current study implies that using the Internet may provoke enjoyable experiences through the flow state, which may in turn positively influence an individual’s subjective well‐being and improve a person’s happiness, life satisfaction, and positive affect. By surveying 304 Web users through an open‐ended questionnaire, this study captures a picture of Web users’ flow experiences regarding their optimal situations on the Web. Results suggest that using the World Wide Web is an activity that facilitates flow, which generates an optimal, extremely enjoyable experience with total involvement and concentration. Symptoms and dimensions of flow states on the Web are reported directly from subjects’ responses, such as merging of action and awareness, a loss of self‐consciousness, the sense of time distortion, enjoyment, and telepresence.



Chen, H., Wigand, R. and Nilan, M. (2000), "Exploring Web users’ optimal flow experiences", Information Technology & People, Vol. 13 No. 4, pp. 263-281. https://doi.org/10.1108/09593840010359473

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