Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science


Theses & dissertations (Interdisciplinary)


Human Computer Interaction

First Advisor

Debra Satterfield


Global businesses are increasingly reliant on sales through electronic channels, and the importance of aesthetic satisfaction for e-commerce visitors is crucial to survival. A study by Kogaonkar and Wolin (Korgaonkar et al., 1999) shows that consumers are motivated to make purchases online based on "the aesthetic enjoyment and positive experience of emotion online," enhancing the need for websites that appeal to a visitors aesthetic preferences. Pursuing a competitive foothold within a shifting global marketplace, companies often seek out new visual bases for web presences, generating web designs based on perceived preferences of design. These designs are often assumed to be attractive to visitors, which may be inaccurate.

The goal of this research is to generate a framework that analyzes target audience structural design preferences for e-commerce websites. This study hypothesizes that clearly identifiable structural design preferences exist within e-commerce applications, and can be generalized within individual demographic profiles.

Forty-four websites were selected from publicly available listings of the most frequently visited global e-commerce websites. Service, rental, and listing websites were excluded from this research. A full size website image was taken using automated processing software for each website, and each image was analyzed to obtain a list of common features including: primary navigation, secondary navigation, company promotions, advertising from external advertisers, logo size and placement, and featured products. A secondary script was created to analyze each image that calculated the exact number of pixels, location, and percentage of space dedicated to each feature.

A global pool of participants completed a user profile survey, an online purchasing evaluation assessing current and past online purchase behavior, and then were presented a series of questions. Each question screen evaluated only a single feature, and included between 2 - 6 variations of images of a custom e-commerce website created specifically for this study.

Results showed that clearly identifiable structural design preferences could be analyzed, that preferences could be generalized within both grouped profiles, and individual demographic profiles, and variable connections did travel together with consistent patterns.


Copyright Owner

Bennett Stone



File Format


File Size

103 pages