Testing Consumer Response to E-Commerce Sites{1}

by Vincent S
Just as we have been diving deeper into into the world of web development and exploring both the client and server side of the process, I found an article presenting a recent study on measuring consumers’ emotional responses while visiting web pages.  A study was performed  at the University of Missouri on which two doctors of computer science quantified emotional biological responses to their interaction with a particular site.  The model they employed in order to test response is a model known as the SOR model, or the Stimulus-Organism-Response model.  The stimulus aspect can be divided into two main categories named high-level interaction, and low-level interaction.  A high-level interaction consists of media content such as videos or click events.  A low-level interaction involves more simple changes such as formatting.  The organism aspect refers to the user specs such as age and gender.  Finally, the response is the actual biological response.  The response was measured in facial ques, muscle movements, and of course survey responses.

The point of this article is to show how research is invested in optimizing the user experience.  More specifically, the study was applied while customers shopped on a generic e-commerce site.  The research tested how users responded from everything from font styles to how they felt after placing an online order.  This article was part of the AIS transactions journal and demonstrated attempts to understand what users are actually getting out of the internet experience.  It was stated in the article that user interaction has become such a primary concern due to the fact that so many options have become available in enhancing the site.  It is important for big investors to know what color schemes work, is the user being overwhelmed with visuals, and if the overall experience truly beats the traditional in-store style of shopping.  Some of the sites that have survived and become profitable in a world of over saturation of internet sites owe their success to their design and provided user experience.  For all the future web developers out there, remember coming with the e-commerce idea is only half the battle, an appealing web design and user experience can make or break any site no matter how amazing of a business idea you may have.


Joginapelly, Tanvi. Sheng, Hong.  (March, 2012).  Effects of Web Atmospheric Cues on Users’ Emotional Responses in
E-Commerce.  Transactions on Human-Computer Interaction.  Retrieved from The Journal of AIS Transactions on May 13, 2012.