Visual Appeal and Affect in Websites A multi-method investigation into the relation between visual appeal judgements of websites and effect

Huisman, Gijs (2011) Visual Appeal and Affect in Websites A multi-method investigation into the relation between visual appeal judgements of websites and effect.

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Abstract:The present study investigated the relation between visual appeal judgements of websites and affect. Furthermore, it was investigated which method might prove most reliable in measuring the affective component of visual appeal judgements. To investigate the relation between judgements of visual appeal and visceral affective responses, which are rapid subconscious good/bad judgements of a stimulus, six high and six low visual appeal website screenshots with a stimulus exposure time of 50ms were presented to participants. During stimulus exposure, electromyography (EMG) measurements of the corrugator supercilii muscle region were taken, and participants were subsequently asked to rate the level of visual appeal on a ten-point scale, and to indicate a LEMtool (Layered Emotion Measurement tool) emotion image. In the second phase of the experiment, six high and low visual appeal websites were displayed for 1s, during which eye-fixations were recorded using eye-tracking. In the final experimental phase the same twelve websites as in the second phase were presented without a time-limit. Participants were asked to give a visual appeal rating, and, for each screenshot, to use LEMtool to select visual elements that they had a particular feeling towards. Facial EMG measurements showed participants experienced more negative affect, as indicated by heightened corrugator muscle activity, when giving low visual appeal ratings, compared to high ratings. Also, a significant negative correlation was found between visual appeal ratings and facial muscle activity. Furthermore, high visual appeal websites received significantly higher visual appeal ratings and received significantly more positive LEMtool indications, than low visual appeal websites and vice versa. These self-report findings were consistent between a stimulus exposure time of 50ms and free-viewing. Finally, eye-tracking revealed that there was no significant difference in the number of fixations and the relation between fixation and non-fixation duration, between high and low visual appeal websites. Based on these results it was concluded that there is indeed a relation between visual appeal judgements of websites and affect. Because 50ms was enough time for participants to judge the level of visual appeal of the website screenshots, and because a significant correlation between visual appeal ratings and corrugator muscle activity was found, it is plausible that people make visual appeal judgements based on visceral affect. This notion was supported by LEMtool measurements, and eye-tracking data. Finally, the triangulated measurements revealed that both facial EMG measurements and visual appeal rating scales proved reliable methods of measuring affective responses to the visual appeal of websites screenshots.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:05 communication studies
Programme:Communication Studies MSc (60713)
Link to this item:http://purl.utwente.nl/essays/60903
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