Institute of Art Design + Technology
Dún Laoghaire

Annie Condon 

BSc [Hons] Applied Psychology

As I near graduation from my BSc in Applied Psychology program, my studies have been on technology and psychology. Through this, I have developed a keen interest in UX research and design, particularly in the realm of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), which was a key component of my final project. My passion for this field has grown throughout my time at IADT, and I am now eager to explore opportunities for both a career and a master's degree in this area. My thesis research centred on examining how gender impacts users' perceptions of trustworthiness and visual appeal in the context of e-commerce homepages.

Project Overview

Building upon previous research that has indicated gender's influence on website design preferences and trustworthiness judgments, my project focused on investigating how gender impacts users' perceptions of the visual appeal and trustworthiness of e-commerce homepages.

Project Description

The aim of my project was to investigate how visual design elements impact the perceived trustworthiness of male and female users, which is a gap in current research. Specifically, I focused on gender differences in the visual appeal and trustworthiness of ecommerce homepages. To conduct the study, I employed a between-subjects experimental design and recruited 98 participants. However, five were excluded due to color blindness or gender self-identification as non-binary, resulting in a final sample size of 90 participants. Participants were shown 30 e-commerce homepages and asked to rate their perceived trustworthiness and visual appeal on a seven-point Likert scale. I conducted two independent t-tests to compare the trustworthiness and visual appeal ratings between male and female participants, and used Pearson's correlation to determine the relationship between these two variables.

Project Findings

The results of the study I conducted suggest that gender does not significantly impact users' perceptions of trustworthiness or visual appeal in the context of e-commerce. However, the findings revealed a significant positive correlation between trustworthiness ratings and visual appeal, indicating that higher visual appeal tends to be associated with higher perceived trustworthiness. These results contribute to the understanding of gender differences in e-commerce perceptions and highlight the importance of trustworthiness and visual appeal in creating a positive user experience on e-commerce sites.
To further enhance the user experience, e-commerce sites should pay close attention to both trustworthiness and visual appeal, as these factors may be interrelated. For instance, incorporating visually appealing design elements may lead to increased trustworthiness ratings among users. However, it is important to note that this relationship may not be the same for all users, and more research is needed to understand how specific visual design factors may affect trustworthiness ratings differently for men and women.
Overall, this study highlights the significance of both trustworthiness and visual appeal in shaping users' perceptions of e-commerce sites. By prioritizing these factors, e-commerce companies can create a more positive user experience and improve customer satisfaction.

Thesis Title

The Effect of Gender on Users' Perceptions of the Trustworthiness and Visual Appeal of Ecommerce Homepages