Using Distractor Images in Web Design to Increase Content Familiarity: A NeuroIS Perspective

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingArticle in proceedingsResearch


Among other things, ecommerce websites act as the online equivalent of a shop window, allowing users to browse and become familiar with various offerings. Yet the actual cognitive processes by which users become familiar with the content of websites are poorly understood. This study investigates these processes by adopting a neuroIS perspective, i.e. by theorizing how designers might leverage the biological mechanisms enabling users to recognize web-based content. This is captured in a design hypothesis prescribing that webpages include novel distractor images that are positively valenced (happy) but low arousal (not exciting). Evaluation of this design hypothesis is underway across two progressively naturalistic iterations of laboratory experiments. Support for the hypothesis is provided by findings from the first iteration situated within within a specifically-developed fictitious website. These findings are discussed, as well as ongoing developments from the second iteration of testing, which takes place within a live web development project.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the Thirty Fifth International Conference on Information Systems
Number of pages12
PublisherAssociation for Information Systems. AIS Electronic Library (AISeL)
Publication date2014
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes
EventThe 35th International Conference on Information Systems. ICIS 2014: Building a Better World through Information Systems - The University of Auckland Business School, Auckland, New Zealand
Duration: 14 Dec 201417 Dec 2014
Conference number: 35


ConferenceThe 35th International Conference on Information Systems. ICIS 2014
LocationThe University of Auckland Business School
Country/TerritoryNew Zealand
Internet address


  • Web design
  • Familiarity
  • NeuroIS
  • Laboratory experiment

Cite this