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In this study, we tested whether the visual complexity (VC) of webpages influences viewer's affective reactions. In a laboratory experiment, 48 students viewed 36 webpages varying in VC while subjective feelings, behavioral, and cardiovascular responses were recorded. Less complex webpages were associated with more positive affect, decreased eye movements (specifically in the first few seconds of viewing), a triphasic heart rate response, and increased finger pulse amplitude. Results suggest that affective responses to webpage viewing differ as a function of VC and that webpage displaying could be made adaptive to the user's emotions.
Date of Publication: Oct.-Dec. 2011