University of Twente Student Theses


What is beautiful is good and useful?

Dongelen, R. van (2008) What is beautiful is good and useful?

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Abstract:This study discusses the influence of visual appeal on the expectation a user has of the information quality of the website. In the experiment 588 students participated. The participants were presented with three different information search scenarios. For each of these scenarios the participants were asked to rate the expected information quality of four websites. Each website was shown 750 ms. For each reaction the reaction time was recorded. After the rating procedure a selection procedure followed. In the selection procedure participants were asked to select four websites from a list of eight websites based on their expectation of the information quality. In both procedures half of the websites had a high visual appeal and half of the websites had a low visual appeal. After one week the rating procedure was repeated but now each website was shown 5 seconds. The results show that the participants expected the highest quality of information on a website with a high visual appeal. The websites with a high visual appeal received a higher rating, and were selected more often. The effect of visual appeal decreased when websites were shown longer to the participants. But the effect was still there. Furthermore the results show that extreme reactions (extremely negative of extremely positive) were significantly faster than all other reactions. The study shows that visual appeal is an important shortcut for users to determine the information quality of a website.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:05 communication studies
Programme:Communication Studies MSc (60713)
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