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Unravelling the relationship between response time and user experience in mobile applications

Mengli Yu (School of Economics and Management, Beihang University, Beijing, China)
Ronggang Zhou (School of Economics and Management, Beihang University, Beijing, China) (Beijing Advanced Innovation Center for Big Data and Brain Computing, Beihang University, Beijing, China)
Zhao Cai (Nottingham University Business School China, University of Nottingham–Ningbo China, Ningbo, China)
Chee-Wee Tan (Department of Digitalization, Copenhagen Business School, Frederiksberg, Denmark)
Huiwen Wang (School of Economics and Management, Beihang University, Beijing, China) (Beijing Advanced Innovation Center for Big Data and Brain Computing, Beihang University, Beijing, China)

Internet Research

ISSN: 1066-2243

Article publication date: 18 May 2020

Issue publication date: 26 August 2020

Abstract

Purpose

This study examines the impact of response time on user experience for mobile applications and considers the moderating influence of gender and network environment on this relationship.

Design/methodology/approach

An experiment was conducted with 50 young adults to evaluate their user experience of a mobile application that simulates variations in network environment and response time. User experience was evaluated based on the three constituent dimensions of tolerance, acceptance, and satisfaction.

Findings

Analytical results demonstrate that response time not only adversely affects user experience of mobile applications, but that this effect is not homogeneous across the three dimensions of tolerance, acceptance and satisfaction. The findings also illustrate that gender moderates the effect of response time on user experience, however, the negative influence is more salient for males than females, which is opposite to our hypothesis. The joint moderating influence of gender and network environment turned out to be partly significant.

Practical implications

By illuminating users' tolerance, acceptance, and satisfaction with varied response times, findings from this study can inform the design of mobile applications such that desired levels of user experience can be assured with minimum resources.

Originality/value

Although response time has been hailed as a key determinant of user experience for desktop applications, there is a paucity of studies that have investigated the impact of response time on user experience for mobile applications. Furthermore, prior research on response time neglects the multi-dimensional nature of user experience. This study bridges the above mentioned knowledge gaps by delineating user experience into its constituent dimensions and clarifying the effects of response time on each of these dimensions.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This paper is based on research presented at the IEEE International Conference on Industrial Engineering and Engineering Management, 2016 (https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/7797881/). The work described in this paper was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC: 71640034 and 71801204).Thank Shuang Shao, Wen Li, and Lei Zhou for assistance with the experiments.Conflict of interest statement: The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.

Citation

Yu, M., Zhou, R., Cai, Z., Tan, C.-W. and Wang, H. (2020), "Unravelling the relationship between response time and user experience in mobile applications", Internet Research, Vol. 30 No. 5, pp. 1353-1382. https://doi.org/10.1108/INTR-05-2019-0223

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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