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An Empirical Investigation of Color Temperature and Gender Effects on Web Aesthetics

Constantinos K. Coursaris, Sarah J. Sweirenga, and Ethan Watrall

Journal of Usability Studies, Volume 3, Issue 3, May 2008, pp. 103-117

Article Contents

Gender Differences in Hedonic Effects

Effects of Web design on affect have also been studied in the context of the users' gender. While several studies have explored the relationships between trust, satisfaction, and the consequent loyalty to a Web site (Anderson & Srinivasan, 2003; Cyr & Bonnani, 2005; Devaraj, Fan, & Kohli, 2002; Szymanski & Hise, 2000; Yoon, 2000), very few studies have focused on the relationship between gender and Web site design preferences (Cyr & Bonnani, 2005; Simon, 2001). In the realm of visual design, men had more favorable impressions of how product information was presented. Women were more attracted by the colors on the site, and men by animations and the interactive, "flashy" aspects of the site (Cyr & Bonanni, 2005). Simon (2001) found that women preferred sites that were less cluttered, having few graphics, as well as sites that avoid multiple levels of sub-pages to drill through. Men liked sites that used extensive graphics and animation. Additionally, in a study of gender and Web usage among college students, significant gender differences emerged with respect to evaluative criteria and use patterns, with men liking some of the "bells and whistles" and women using academic Web sites more (Mitra et. al, 2005).

It appears that there are gender differences regarding perceptions of aesthetics, usability, and the consequent affective state of satisfaction in Web site design, but more research is needed to understand the nature of such differences. As with past studies on hedonic dimensions and usability and acceptance, gender differences were explored in terms of Web site designs as an aggregate of multiple design elements instead of a more controlled design regarding these aesthetic factors. There is limited research that investigates the effects of gender on color preferences. Studies in various contexts have found that both men and women prefer the same color temperature (i.e., cool blue) (Dittmar, 2001; Guegen, 2003; Silver & Ferrante, 1995), but significant differences arose regarding their least preferred colors, where men "stated more often yellow and less often red as least preferred than women did" (Dittmar, 2001). Thus, the following hypothesis is proposed for this study:

H4. Increasing the color temperature of a Web site design will have a more negative impact on women's perceptions of its aesthetics than those of men.

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