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December 23, 2015 at 9:00 am

Detecting Bad Web Design: How Mouse Clicks Reveal User’s Emotions

One of the main focuses of most companies is improving their web page for a better user experience. Agree? That means the better their web design and their functionalities are, the higher quality traffic a website can have. However, it doesn’t guarantee that people will like the updates and improvements. There are factors and reasons as to why users have a bad or good experience with a particular website. And a user’s emotions can influence their website experience.

You will know when a person is happy or irritated through observing the way they act. Now, with the advancements of technologies, you can detect a person’s emotion through their mouse movements. A researcher from Brigham Young University, Professor Jeffrey Jenkins founds out that a person’s experience on a web page can affect their emotions. And having a better web design in the Philippines can convey a positive emotion through the way they move their mouse.

Jenkins and his team have created software that can detect, gather and process enough data points from your cursor movements to measure your emotional state. Researchers also utilize attentional control theory to explain how a mouse movement can be used as a reference for the user’s emotions. Moreover, they found out that there is indeed a change of mouse movement whenever a person is feeling happy or irritated.

To give you an idea how a mouse can detect your emotions towards a particular website, Jenkins explained that the control over your mouse movements could be an indicator of negative or positive emotions. How? When a mouse cursor is less precise, jerky and slow, that means a person is feeling down or irritated. In short, the user has a bad website experience.

For instance, when a user creates a mistake in messages and having slow download times, it can contribute to the negative emotion that increases the distance a cursor travels, and it slows the cursor speed. Moreover, instead of having or creating a straight or curving path, the mouse movements become jagged and sudden. Researchers can also identify or tell the anger level of the user, as well as the overall emotional state through the way he or she moves a computer’s mouse.

If users move their mouse in a way where it conveys frustrations towards the site, then developers can detect and have the chance to review their web design. Perhaps, there are some bugs that are still on the site, and functionalities that developers failed to implement successfully. On the other hand, when a user is happy or satisfied with their website experience, then the movement of the user’s mouse will also indicate that they are having a good time visiting the site.

Through this study, Jenkins believes that determining the user’s emotion is to website developers’ advantage. By using the data points based on the mouse movements, they can now be able to measure how a user feels towards a particular website, which can also be helpful and useful when it comes to their next update or website’s improvements. Moreover, this study also gives companies the chance to monitor their website’s traffic.

Good news! According to Science World Report that, Jenkins’ cursor-tracking concept can already be applied to mobile devices, where mouse movements can replace the usual swipes and taps. Although applications of this software to mobile devices are still in its early phases, however, Jenkins believes that phones and tablets can provide huge amounts of data.

And there’s more! Jenkins and his team are now in the process of refining its software. They also hope that the user’s interaction with the website is going to be better through good interface design.


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