University of Twente Student Theses


The fluency effect as the underlying variable for judging beauty and usability

Nazareth, Deniece S. (2014) The fluency effect as the underlying variable for judging beauty and usability.

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Abstract:Many studies have found a correlation between beauty and perceived usability. However, the direction of the relation is not yet clear. Hassenzahl and Monk (2010) argued that beauty and perceived usability were not directly related based on their inference perspective. In this study, a different possible explanation is given for this relation, namely processing fluency. In Human Computer Interaction (HCI) research, processing fluency, as used in this study, has not yet been applied to the problem of beauty and perceived usability. The purpose of this thesis was to show that fluency is the underlying, cognitive variable when judging beauty and usability. In HCI research, Likert-scales would have been influenced by fluency. Due to fluency, beauty, and perceived usability of websites would be judged more positive. We were also interested in breaking the fluency effect through a treatment. Due to treatment, the influence of our fluency manipulations would decrease, resulting in less positive judgments. Also, the correlation between beauty and perceived usability would decrease. Our results showed that the fluency manipulations indeed resulted in more positive judgments of beauty and perceived usability. For breaking the fluency effect, results were found for visual complex websites as judgments were less positive when participants received a treatment. This suggests that a practical tool (i.e. treatment) has been developed for future research in beauty and perceived usability. Interestingly, our results also offer a new direction in future research, namely designing for fluency. More possible explanations, implications and future research are provided in the discussion section.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology MSc (66604)
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