The Impact of Selected Visual Design Features on Human Visual Attention During the Decision-making Process in an E-Commerce Environment: A Quantitative Research Study by Using Eye-tracking Technology

Michael Schraff & Maximilian Ernst Becker

Student thesis: Master thesis

Abstract

The modern-day consumer is exposed to an almost infinite amount of information every day. The rise of the internet and the introduction of digital shopping opportunities have boosted this development even more. This progression makes it more and more difficult for marketers and business decision makers to create an e-commerce environment, which enables their own products to stand out and get recognized by the consumer. In our world of nearly endless choice options, it is crucial to capture the attention of human individuals in order to make them aware of specific products and eventually stimulate a potential purchase decision. Various researchers conducted studies assessing the possibilities to capture human visual attention and influence the decisionmaking process. However, most of the existing literature only considers that topic in an offline context. So far, only an insufficient amount of literature dives into that topic from an online point of view. This thesis deploys concepts and models from the research fields of neuroscience as well as psychology and combines them with modern technologies of the emerging area of neuromarketing. By setting up a quantitative eye-tracking study in a laboratory environment, we assessed the influence of manipulations of different visual design features on human visual attention in an online shop environment. The experimental results display an influence of various manipulated website design elements on the initial and the further visual attention of human individuals. The affixation of a promotional element to a product picture decreases the time to first fixation and increases the total fixation duration towards that product and, therefore, captures the initial and prolongs the further visual attention. Similar observations could get made for a surface size increase of a price element which resulted in a decrease of time to first fixation towards that element and an increase in total fixation duration. Therefore, individuals looked faster and longer on those two elements if they got manipulated. A manipulation of colour contrast between the product colour and the web shop background colour has no significant effect on initial and further human visual attention. Additionally, the experiment showcased a clear tendency that the product picture captures the initial attention of the individual, whilst the product description receives a higher amount of further attention in a web shop environment. The findings provide guidelines for marketers, web shop designers and business decision makers to optimize the design of their online shops in order to maximise consumers’ visual attention.

EducationsMSc in Brand and Communications Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
LanguageEnglish
Publication date2019
Number of pages157
SupervisorsJesper Clement