Eyes don’t lie: understanding users’ first impressions on website design using eye tracking
Websites are becoming more prevalent these days. They need to create a favorable first impression on the users during initial exposure. After allocating their attention to stimuli, users form a cognitive representation of the visual information leading to first impression. Hence, first impression is important to evaluate the effectiveness of a website.
This research tries to examine the amount of exposure time needed to form first impression; identify the web design factors that influence the formation of users’ first impression; study the emotional responses of users on website design; and finally understand the relationship between first impression and eye movement. Eye movements on displays indicate spatial focus of attention. Eye tracking can provide fixation points where users focus their attention on stimuli. In this study eye tracking has been used to study users’ first impression on website design. The study was conducted in two phases. In the first phase, participants were presented with the stimuli of twenty five university websites’ screen shots of home pages on the eye tracker with no time restrain and asked to move on to the next stimuli when they feel that they have formed their initial impression of the website. On viewing each homepage, participants were asked to rate the page on their first impressions and emotional response. In the second phase, users were shown their gaze plots from the eye tracker device for the previous stimuli viewed, followed by a short interview. Twenty students from a mid west university were recruited to participate in the experiment. Quantitative analysis was performed on the various fixation data extracted from the eye tracker as well as on the data collected from survey. Open coding was performed on the qualitative data obtained from the interview. The results show that first impressions are formed within 180ms after allocating their attention to stimuli. The qualitative analysis identified various issues with the website design and also revealed a number of ways in which the website design can be improved that affects impression
By the Missouri University of Science and Technology
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