Recently with widely available access, the web has emerged as a medium for new interventions. However, as yet, little is known about what makes some websites more effective than others. This study investigated an approach to developing websites that utilized two media characteristics - media richness and interactivity - to promote physical activity among college students. Four forms of websites were developed and tested in a 2 × 2 between-subject experiment (high vs. low richness; high vs. low interactivity) that was conducted among 205 participants. Overall, media richness had a significant main effect on college students' intention to visit the fitness center while interactivity influenced the likelihood they would recommend it. Although media richness did not have a significant main effect on recommendation, a significant interaction effect was observed that rich media led to higher recommendation intention when interactivity level was low. In addition, knowledge, attitude and trustworthiness of the fitness center mediated the effects of media richness and interactivity on behavioral intentions. These findings support the efficacy of utilizing these media characteristics to design web-based health interventions promoting college students' physical activity.
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