Journal publications (peer reviewed)
Trust and Distrust on the Web: User Experiences and Website Characteristics
Seckler, M., Heinz, S., Forde, S. Tuch, A. N., & Opwis, K. (2015).
The aim of this research is to study the content of trustful and distrustful user experiences on
the web to identify website characteristics that enhance trust or cause distrust. We collected users'
reports about critical incidents and quantitative questionnaire data by means of an online survey.
Results from N = 221 participants suggest that distrust is mostly an effect of graphical (e.g., complex
layout) and structural (e.g., pop-ups) design issues of a website, whereas trust is based on social factors
such as reviews or recommendations by friends. The content of a website affects both trust and
distrust: privacy issues had an effect on distrust and security signs enhanced trust. Furthermore, we
show how trustful and distrustful user experiences differ in terms of perceived honesty, competence,
and benevolence. High honesty and competence characterize a trustful experience, whereas a
distrustful experience is associated with missing honesty and missing benevolence. We discuss how
different website characteristics help to enhance trust or to prevent distrust and how this impacts the
allocation of design resources.
Linking objective design factors with subjective aesthetics: An experimental study on how structure and color of websites affect the facets of users’ visual aesthetic perception
Seckler, M., Opwis, K., & Tuch, A. N. (in press).
The present study examines how objective design factors of a website are linked to different facets of subjective aesthetic perception. Five online experiments based upon the screenshots of real-existing websites with a total of N = 194 participants were conducted to isolate and analyze the effects of two objective structural factors (vertical symmetry, visual complexity) and three objective color factors (hue, saturation, brightness) on the different facets of subjective aesthetic perception (simplicity, diversity, colorfulness, craftsmanship) measured with the Visual Aesthetics of Website Inventory (Moshagen & Thielsch, 2010). Although all investigated factors are apparent features in website design, their effects on different facets of subjective aesthetic perception are not yet well understood. Our results show that websites of high symmetry, low complexity, blue hue, medium brightness or medium and high saturation received the highest overall aesthetics ratings. Furthermore, data reveal that structural factors compared to color factors have a manifold and greater impact on the different facets of subjective aesthetic perception than the color factors. Both structural factors have a great impact on simplicity, diversity and craftsmanship whereas the color factors have a great impact especially on colorfulness. Only complexity affects all facets of subjective aesthetic perception. The other objective design factors had effects on specific facets. Our findings shed light on the relationship between objective and subjective factors of aesthetic perception and may help designers to systematically target specific facets of visual aesthetics.
Long-term Modality Effect in Multimedia Learning
Ruf, A. P., Seckler, M., & Opwis, K. (2014).
Cognitive theories of multimedia are seeking the best way of creating materials to enhance learning outcomes. The so-called modality effect accords that learning outcomes are better if visual material such as images is presented together with auditory rather than with visual information such as text. However, previous research on this effect is conflicting. There is also some evidence that the modality effect can be reversed if the learning environment is self-paced. Finally, there is little research about the modality effect over time, and its impact on long-term memory. There is a lack of studies comparing multimodal learning in a system-paced as well as in a self-paced environment over time. Therefore, the aim of this study is (1) to compare auditory and visual learning conditions, (2) to examine the relationship between self- and system-paced learning time, and (3) to analyze the modality effect over time (immediate and after one week).
Designing Usable Web Forms – Empirical Evaluation of Web Form Improvement Guidelines
Seckler, M., Heinz, S., Bargas-Avila, J. A., Opwis, K. & Tuch, A. N. (2014).
Download PDF (open access)
This study reports a controlled eye-tracking experiment (N = 63) that shows the combined effectiveness of 20 guidelines to improve interactive online forms when applied to forms found on real company websites. Results indicate that improved web forms lead to faster completion times, fewer form submission trials, and fewer eye movements. Data from subjective questionnaires and interviews further show increased user satisfaction. Overall, our findings highlight the importance for web designers to improve their web forms using UX guidelines.
Empirical Evaluation of 20 Web Form Optimization Guidelines.
Seckler, M., Heinz, S., Bargas-Avila, J. A., Opwis, K. & Tuch, A. N. (2013).
Most websites use interactive online forms as a main contact point to users. Recently, many publications aim at optimizing web forms. In contrast to former research that focused at the evaluation of single guidelines, the present study shows in a controlled lab experiment with n=23 participants the combined effectiveness of 20 guidelines on real company web forms. Results indicate that optimized web forms lead to faster completion times, less form submission trials, fewer eye fixations and higher user satisfaction in comparison to the original forms.
Linking objective web-design factors to facets of subjective aesthetic perception.
Seckler, M., & Tuch, A. N. (2012).
The present study examined how objective design factors of a website such as bilateral symmetry, color hue, color saturation, and color brightness can be linked to different facets of subjective aesthetic perception. Our results from multiple online studies suggest that each design factor affects the facets of the Visual Aesthetics of Website Inventory in a different way. Our findings may help designers to systematically target specific facets of visual aesthetics.
User-friendly Locations of Error Messages in Web Forms: Put them on the right side of the erroneous input field.
Seckler, M., Tuch, A. N., Opwis, K., & Bargas-Avila, J.A. (2012).
There are many ways of placing error messages in web forms. A study of web conventions shows that the most common approach is to display error messages embedded in the form at the top of the entire form. Six frequent locations (right, left, above and below the erroneous input field, as well as on the top and at the bottom of the form) were tested in an online study with n = 303 participants. Results of efficiency, effectiveness and satisfaction show that the locations near the erroneous input field lead to a significantly better performance than the error messages on the top and at the bottom of the form; in addition error messages on the right side of the erroneous input field were subjectively evaluated as the most satisfying and intuitive by participants. The results indicate possible improvements for online shops, where error messages are currently mostly placed on the top of the form.
Designing product listing pages - Effects on sales and users' cognitive workload.
Schmutz, P., Roth, S. P., Seckler, M., & Opwis, K. (2010).
Product listing pages, where information on multiple products are displayed, represent a vital point of an E-commerce website on which consumer decisions are made. Prior research has shown that the design of product listing pages has an impact on users' performance and their recall of brand names. The aim of this study was to examine effects of presentation on cognitive load and consumer decisions. An online study was conducted comparing presentation type (matrix versus list presentation). List presentation was associated with lower cognitive load and more economic product selections. Eye-tracking data from an additional laboratory experiment suggest that list presentation triggers comparison processes which could account for the differences found.
Seckler, M. & Steinemann, S. (2015). Die Media Equation – oder wieso wir den Ticketautomaten anfluchen und unser Auto verhätscheln. The Inquisitive Mind Blog
- go to blog post
Bargas-Avila, J.A. & Seckler, M. (2014). Simple is better - Making your web forms easy to use pays off. Google Research Blog
- go to blog post
Nordic Conference on Human-Computer Interaction 2014 - Long-term Modality Effect in Multimedia Learning
Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems 2013 - Empirical Evaluation of 20 Web Form Optimization Guidelines
Nordic Conference on Human-Computer Interaction 2012 - Linking objective web-design factors to facets of subjective aesthetic perception
Landscape of User Experience in Switzerland (LUXS) 2011 - HCI Research Group Basel
PhD thesis - Web Design in Human–Computer Interaction: Effects of Website Characteristics on Users’ Perception of Aesthetics, Usability and Trust
Master's thesis - User-friendly Locations of Error Messages in Web Forms: The right place is on the right side of the erroneous input field -
Bachelor's thesis (in German) - Effiziente Navigation in Menüs: Wie kognitive und motorische Aspekte die Effizienz von Menüs verbessern -