Title: Incorporating web aesthetics into e-tail atmospherics research: an evaluation of multiple theoretical frameworks

Authors: Yong J. Wang, Soonkwan Hong, Jie Wei, Kevin W. Cruthirds

Addresses: Copeland Hall 638, College of Business, Ohio University, Athens, Ohio 45701, USA. ' School of Business and Economics, Michigan Technological University, 103 Academic Office Building, 1400 Townsend Drive, Houghton, Michigan 49331, USA. ' NUS Business School, National University of Singapore, 1 Business Link, Level 6, BIZ 2 Building, Singapore 117592, Singapore. ' School of Business Administration, University of Texas at Brownsville, 80 Fort Brown, Brownsville, Texas 78520, USA

Abstract: With an objective of understanding the environmental influences on consumers through an aesthetic approach, the present study evaluates the influence of the visual aesthetics of the e-tail websites on online consumers| psychological and behavioural consequences from a conceptual perspective. In the paper, we focus on clarifying: 1) the need for web aesthetics research; 2) the concept of aesthetics; 3) the current research gap; 4) the advantages and disadvantages of different theoretical frameworks for the study of web aesthetics. To examine the effects of web aesthetics, innovation adoption and diffusion theory, classical attitude theory, usability theory, and environmental psychology theory are respectively adopted as theoretical foundations, and the four theoretical frameworks are comparatively discussed in an online shopping context. Based on theoretical explanations, the important meanings of web aesthetics to marketing researchers and e-tail practitioners are offered.

Keywords: web aesthetics; webmospherics; online retailing; website design; environmental psychology; internet; world wide web; e-tail atmospherics; consumers; visual aesthetics; psychological consequences; behavioural consequences; innovation adoption; diffusion theory; classical attitudes; usability; marketing researchers; e-tail practitioners; e-tailers; market research; electronic marketing; e-marketing; electronic retailing; e-retailing.

DOI: 10.1504/IJEMR.2011.039898

International Journal of Electronic Marketing and Retailing, 2011 Vol.4 No.1, pp.80 - 99

Received: 10 Jun 2010
Accepted: 08 Nov 2010

Published online: 21 Oct 2014 *

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