Demographic factors have little effect on aesthetic perceptions of icons : a study of mobile game icons
Jylhä, Henrietta; Hamari, Juho (2022)
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Purpose: Customization by segmenting within human–computer interaction is an emerging phenomenon. Appealing graphical elements that cater to user needs are considered progressively important, as the way a graphic is visually represented can greatly contribute to the interaction. However, aesthetic perceptions are subjective and may differ by target group. Understanding variations in user perceptions may aid in design processes; therefore, we set out to investigate the effects of demographic differences relating to perceptions of graphical user interface (GUI) element (i.e. game app icon) aesthetics. Design/methodology/approach: The authors employed a vignette experiment with random participant (n = 513) assignment to evaluate 4 icons from a total of 68 pre-selected mobile game icons using semantic differential scales. This resulted in a total of 2052 individual icon evaluations. Regression analyses were performed with the effects of age, gender and time using graphical user interfaces (i.e. app stores) and the interactions of these variables relating to perceptions of GUI element aesthetics. Findings: The results indicate that, overall, demographic factors have relatively little effect on how icons are perceived. Significant relations suggest that experienced users, younger audiences and women are more critical in their perception of aesthetic excellence, and that perceptions change for younger women. The implications of the findings are discussed via adaptive decision-making theory. Originality/value: In the context of graphical user interface element aesthetics, demographic differences have received minimal attention as moderating variables regardless of their relevance in design and development. Hence, it merits further research.
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