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EMAC 2021 Annual Conference

Web Design for different User Generations: The Impact of Aesthetics on Emotions and Quality Perceptions

Published: May 25, 2021


Tina Hormann, University of Twente; Efthymios Constantinides, University of Twente; Carolina Herrando, University of Twente


Abstract. With widespread physical store lockdowns and consumers lastingly obliged to social distancing measures, electronic commerce seems more important than ever to apparel retailers. The purpose of this study in progress is to advance the state of knowledge regarding emotional and behavioral responses of generational cohorts towards website quality perceptions. A comprehensive model of the user experience from websites was developed based on theory on the classical and expressive aesthetics framework, core affect and generational cohorts for explaining how and when Generation X and Generation Z perceive a website as qualitative by means of its visual attractiveness. The core objective is to examine the relationships between aesthetics (classical and expressive), core affect (valence and arousal) and appraisal of website quality (attractiveness perception). A preliminary factorial experiment (n=88) by means of an online survey was conducted based on websites that were self-designed under the conditions of 2(classical, expressive) by 2(high, low) to evaluate the reliability and validity of the proposed relationships within the framework. Results validated the framework and provide insights into the affective mechanism how Generation X and Z react to web designs in an online apparel consumption context. Contrary to popular belief, it was empirically shown that online apparel shoppers from Generation X experience more positive valence and higher activating (arousal) levels being exposed to expressive web designs compared to consumers from Generation Z.