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TU Berlin

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First impression of web pages: factors that affect users' aesthetic perception

Location: Auditorium 1, TEL, Ernst-Reuter-Platz 7, 20th floor

SPEAKER: Alexandre Tuch (University of Basel, Psychology Department)


A websites' first impression is a crucial moment for capturing the users interest. Within a fraction of time, people build a first visceral “gut feeling” that helps them to decide whether they are going to stay on the website or continue surfing to other sites. Previous research in Human-Computer Interaction has shown that people are able to form reliable attractiveness appraisals of website screenshots within the first 50 ms of exposure. However, it is unclear how such aesthetic impressions are formed and which factors decide as to whether a website triggers positive or negative appraisals.

In this talk I will present experimental studies by which we investigated the role of visual complexity (VC) and prototypicality (PT) as design factors of websites, shaping users' first impressions. Our results reveal that both factors affect the users’ aesthetic appraisals within incredibly short timeframes between 17 and 50 ms. The findings will be discussed in regard to their theoretical and practical relevance.


Alexandre Tuch is a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Psychology Department of the University of Basel (Switzerland) and is currently working as a visiting researcher at the Computer Science Department of the University of Copenhagen (Denmark). He holds a M.Sc. and Ph.D. degree in Psychology from the University of Basel.

His primary research interest is the role of visual aesthetics in User Experience (UX). Thereby he investigates how users form first impressions of websites and how the visual appearance of an interface affects users’ perception of system qualities such as usability.

HOST: Dominik Strohmeier

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