What is beautiful is useful: visual appeal and expected information quality

Thea van der Geest, Raymond van Dongelen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionProfessional

8 Citations (Scopus)
876 Downloads (Pure)


Would users, when having a first glance on websites, expect that visually appealing websites contain better information than websites that are less appealing? And if they looked longer, would that change their judgment? We created two versions for 12 homepages of websites, one with low visual appeal, the other one with high visual appeal. Through a pre-test, we made sure we entered the main study with validated ‘beautiful’ and ‘ugly’ sites. In the main study, 588 participants asked to judge the expected information quality of the sites for a given task. For 11 of the 12 sites, we demonstrated that a positive judgment of the visual appeal was consistently transferred to a positive expectation of the information quality of the site, after a short exposure time. In a follow-up experiment, a week later, with 355 of the same participants, we proved that also with a longer exposure time the high visual appeal sites were expected to contain better information than the low appeal ones, although the difference between the two versions decreased somewhat. We conclude that visual appeal is an important shortcut for users to determine the information quality of a website.
Original languageUndefined
Title of host publicationProceedings of the IPCC 2009 Conference
ISBN (Print)9781424443581
Publication statusPublished - 19 Jul 2009
EventIEEE International Professional Communication Conference, IPCC 2009 - Honolulu, United States
Duration: 19 Jul 200922 Jul 2009

Publication series



ConferenceIEEE International Professional Communication Conference, IPCC 2009
Abbreviated titleIPCC
CountryUnited States


  • IR-101082
  • METIS-262535

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