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Journal of Interactive Media

Editor-in-Chief: Ziegler, Jürgen

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Volume 17, Issue 1


The Influence of User Interface Attributes on Aesthetics

Thomas Schmidt / Christian Wolff
Published Online: 2018-03-27 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/icom-2018-0003


In this paper we present an empirical study among 40 participants which investigates the relationship between various factors of user interface aesthetics on the one hand, and the influence of the user interface attributes, symmetry, colorfulness as well as visual complexity on user interface aesthetics on the other hand. The user interface aesthetics will be classified in intuitive aesthetics (1st impression with a presentation time of 500 ms) and reflective aesthetics (reflective long-term impression after a longer presentation). Reflective aesthetics is further classified in classical aesthetics (common attractiveness) as well as expressive aesthetics (creativity). For this study we have set up a corpus of 30 websites which are used as stimulus material. In a multi-step lab experiment, participants rate aesthetics and their subjective impression concerning user interface attributes using questionnaires. We are able to show that the intuitive aesthetic judgment correlates strongly with the reflective judgment. The symmetry of a website positively correlates with all definitions of aesthetics, especially with the classical or traditional interpretation in the sense of attractiveness. Visual complexity can be seen as the strongest predictor for the aesthetic judgement of users and it negatively correlates with all definitions. Concerning colorfulness, a preference for websites of a medium degree of colorfulness for the intuitive as well as the classical aesthetics can be stated. Concerning expressive aesthetics, websites of moderate to high colorfulness receive the best judgments. The relationships which we have found are finally discussed in the context of previous research and some implications for future user interface design are given.

Keywords: Aesthetics; user interface design; website design; symmetry; visual complexity; colorfulness


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About the article

Thomas Schmidt

Thomas Schmidt has a Master of Science in media informatics from the University of Regensburg. Since the end of 2017, he is research assistant at the chair of media informatics at the University of Regensburg. His main research interests are sentiment analysis, information behavior, digital humanities, usability engineering and the empirical analysis of aesthetics and UI-Design.

Christian Wolff

Prof. Dr. Christian Wolff has been professor for media informatics at the University of Regensburg since 2003. After his Ph. D. thesis, in which he designed an interactive retrieval frontend for factual data (1994, University of Regensburg), he worked as an assistant professor at the Computer Science Department of the University of Leipzig from 1994 to 2001. In 2002, he became professor for media informatics at the Chemnitz University of Technology. As an information and computer scientist, he has a long record of research in electronic publishing, information retrieval and HCI. Currently, there is a strong focus on new interaction technologies like eye tracking or multitouch and gestural interaction in his group.

Published Online: 2018-03-27

Published in Print: 2018-04-25

Citation Information: i-com, Volume 17, Issue 1, Pages 41–55, ISSN (Online) 2196-6826, ISSN (Print) 1618-162X, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/icom-2018-0003.

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