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Mobile marketing interface layout attributes that affect user aesthetic preference: an eye-tracking study

Liang Xiao (School of Management and E-Business, Zhejiang Gongshang University, Hangzhou, China) (Modern Business Research Center, Zhejiang Gongshang University, Hangzhou, China)
Shu Wang (School of Management and E-Business, Zhejiang Gongshang University, Hangzhou, China) (Modern Business Research Center, Zhejiang Gongshang University, Hangzhou, China)

Asia Pacific Journal of Marketing and Logistics

ISSN: 1355-5855

Article publication date: 24 March 2022

Issue publication date: 9 February 2023

838

Abstract

Purpose

The rapid growth of m-commerce and mobile marketing has flooded the users with homogeneous contents that raise little user interest making the users' browsing pattern on these contents aimless free browsing. However, the interface that presents the mobile marketing contents triggers much user attention, especially the layout. Without significant usability defects, the layout poses influences on the user's aesthetic experience. Identifying the layout attributes that affect user aesthetic preference is critical to the design of mobile marketing interfaces since they influence users' interaction intention, cognitive process, and decision-making.

Design/methodology/approach

In this paper, 6 layout attributes that quantify the aesthetic design of the interface layout and 3 eye-movement indicators that connect to human aesthetic preference were identified through literature research. An eye-tracking experiment measuring the 3 eye-movement indicators on 6 pairs of interface layout materials corresponding to the 6 layout attributes was conducted. The experiment was designed to mimic the free browsing context in mobile marketing. The materials were divided into Liked/Disliked preference groups according to the response of the subjects. Analysis of indicators on materials between the L/D groups shows that the attributes of balance, centricity, density, simplicity, and symmetry affect user aesthetic preferences.

Findings

Analysis of the attribute value levels shows that balance, centricity, and density are responsible for addressing users' aesthetic preferences for a disliked interface layout. The study suggests an attribute set for quantitatively optimizing the aesthetic design of mobile marketing system interfaces and provides evidence for the visual attention and cognitive process under the free browsing context.

Originality/value

The study contributes to the field both theoretically and practically: (1) it provides support for optimizing the interface layout of mobile marketing systems quantitatively from the aesthetic perspective. (2) It promotes the cognitive attention theory by providing evidence for the cognitive process of interacting with mobile marketing interfaces from the perspective of visual attention and cognitive fluency. (3) It expands the objects of visual perception from traditional or symbolic artworks (such as logos) to the abstract visual stimuli of interface layout. (4) It suggests an optimization tool of five quantification layout attributes for mobile marketing businesses and platforms to aesthetically improve their marketing interfaces to improve user experiences.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank Prof. Fumao Yu for his great advice on analysing the data and Fujun Wang for collecting parts of the data.

Funding: This paper was supported by the The National Social Science Fund of China (No. 19BGL098).

Funding and Data availability statement: The original contributions presented in the study are included in the article/supplementary material; further inquiries can be directed to the corresponding author.

Conflict of interest statement: The authors claim that there is no conflict of interest.

Citation

Xiao, L. and Wang, S. (2023), "Mobile marketing interface layout attributes that affect user aesthetic preference: an eye-tracking study", Asia Pacific Journal of Marketing and Logistics, Vol. 35 No. 2, pp. 472-492. https://doi.org/10.1108/APJML-07-2021-0477

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

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