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Assessing Dimensions of Perceived Visual Aesthetics of Web Sites

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We will be discussing: Lavie, T. and Tractinsky, N. (2004) Assessing Dimensions of Perceived Visual Aesthetics of Web Sites, International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, 60(3):269-298.

Original Abstract: Despite its centrality to human thought and practice, aesthetics has for the most part played a petty role in human-computer interaction research. Increasingly, however, researchers attempt to strike a balance between the traditional concerns of human-computer interaction and considerations of aesthetics. Thus, recent research suggests that the visual aesthetics of computer interfaces is a strong determinant of users’ satisfaction and pleasure. However, the lack of appropriate concepts and measures of aesthetics may severely constraint future research in this area. To address this issue, we conducted four studies in order to develop a measurement instrument of perceived web site aesthetics. Using exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses we found that users’ perceptions consist of two main dimensions, which we termed “classical aesthetics” and “expressive aesthetics.” The classical aesthetics dimension pertains to aesthetic notions that presided from antiquity until the 18th century. These notions emphasize orderly and clear design and are closely related to many of the design rules advocated by usability experts. The expressive aesthetics dimension is manifested by the designers’ creativity and originality and by the ability to break design conventions. While both dimensions of perceived aesthetic are drawn from a pool of aesthetic judgments, they are clearly distinguishable from each other. Each of the aesthetic dimensions is measured by a five item scale. The reliabilities, factor structure and validity tests indicate that these items reflect the two perceived aesthetics dimensions adequately.

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Rubric for the reading group: Everyone attending is expected to read the paper in advance. Please bring a copy with you, preferably annotated with interesting reflections. The format of discussion will be a brief invited introduction/critique by two members of the group, followed by general discussion and informal mixing.

This talk is part of the Crucible/Microsoft HCI Reading Group series.

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