The Interplay of Aesthetics, Usability and Credibility in Mobile Website Design and the Effect of Gender

Kiemute Oyibo, Julita Vassileva


In human-computer interaction, aesthetics, usability and credibility are key factors in the design of a successful website. Specifically, aesthetics has been identified as one of the main drivers of web credibility. However, in the mobile domain, large-scale research, cutting across cultures and continents, which is key to the generalizability of findings, is scarce. To bridge this gap, we conducted a multicultural study among 526 participants from 5 continents: Africa, Asia, North America, South America and Europe. Using four systematically designed mobile websites, we investigated: (1) the interrelationships among aesthetics, usability and credibility; and (2) the moderating effect of gender. Our results, based on partial least square path modeling, reveal that: (1) perceived aesthetics is stronger than perceived usability in predicting the perceived credibility of mobile websites; and (2) gender moderates the effect of perceived aesthetics on perceived usability, with this effect being stronger for males than for females. Our findings underscore the need for designers to pay closer attention to aesthetics in designing successful mobile websites, as their visual appeal, irrespective of gender, enhances their perceived ease of use and credibility. These findings are noteworthy because, given the usability challenges posed by the relatively small-screen size of the mobile device, designers may be tempted to focus on designing easy-to-use websites only, while downplaying their visual appeal. Such a decision may adversely impact the overall credibility of their websites going by users’ first impression.


mobile website; path model; aesthetics; usability; credibility; gender; user inteface; design layout; perception

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