The Community for Technology Leaders
International Professional Communication Conference (2009)
Waikiki, HI, USA
July 19, 2009 to July 22, 2009
ISBN: 978-1-4244-4357-4
pp: 1-5
Thea van der Geest , University of Twente, The Netherlands
Raymond van Dongelen , Noordelijke Hogeschool Leeuwarden, The Netherlands
Would users, when having a first glance on websites, expect that visually appealing websites contain better information than websites that are less appealing? And if they looked longer, would that change their judgment? We created two versions for 12 homepages of websites, one with low visual appeal, the other one with high visual appeal. Through a pre-test, we made sure we entered the main study with validated ‘beautiful’ and ‘ugly’ sites. In the main study, 588 participants asked to judge the expected information quality of the sites for a given task. For 11 of the 12 sites, we demonstrated that a positive judgment of the visual appeal was consistently transferred to a positive expectation of the information quality of the site, after a short exposure time. In a follow-up experiment, a week later, with 355 of the same participants, we proved that also with a longer exposure time the high visual appeal sites were expected to contain better information than the low appeal ones, although the difference between the two versions decreased somewhat. We conclude that visual appeal is an important shortcut for users to determine the information quality of a website.

R. van Dongelen and T. van der Geest, "What is beautiful is useful - Visual appeal and expected information quality," International Professional Communication Conference(IPCC), Waikiki, HI, USA, 2009, pp. 1-5.
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