Thomas S. Tullis & Cheryl M. Tullis
Proceedings of HCI International 2007 Conference, Beijing, China
Publication year: 2007

Homepages of 42 retail e-commerce websites were analyzed to determine if measurable characteristics could be defined which would correlate with user ratings of visual appeal and with scores from a standard customer satisfaction index.  The visual appeal ratings correlated with the size of the area of the largest image on the homepage and the total number of characters on the homepage.  Visual appeal ratings improved as the size of the largest image increased, and they worsened as the total number of characters increased.  Those two variables accounted for 60% of the variance in the visual appeal ratings.  Customer satisfaction ratings for the sites were from published data. Those ratings correlated with whether the sites used a variable-width or fixed-width page design, the link density on the homepage, the presence of a Flash element on the homepage, and whether the site supported font scaling.  Sites with a variable-width design tended to have higher satisfaction ratings, as did sites that support font scaling.  Sites with a Flash element on the homepage tended to have lower satisfaction ratings, as did sites with higher density of links on the homepage.  These four variables accounted for 40% of the variance in the customer satisfaction ratings.

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