Soussan Djamasbi, Marisa Siegel, & Tom Tullis
AIS Transactions on Human-Computer Interaction, September 2012, (4:3), pp. 190-211.
Publication year: 2012

User experience is becoming increasingly important in gaining a competitive advantage in the marketplace. One way to improve user experience is by including images of faces, which, according to the social presence theory, can create a feeling of warmth. People are drawn to faces not only because they can act as social cues signaling the presence of others, but also because paying attention to faces has played a significant role in human evolution. Areas on a web page that typically receive less attention from users, such as the right side or below the fold, may benefit from including images of faces, which can draw users’ attention. Although they may be useful in attracting attention to particular places on a web page, images of faces may also distract attention from key information. To test this possibility, we conducted two eye tracking studies in which images of faces were placed on areas of a web page that are shown to receive less attention. The results indicated that faces did not increase the number of people who viewed the areas where faces were located but faces affected fixation patterns on these areas. Our results also showed that faces located above the fold of the web page negatively affected the performance of those who were completing tasks.

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