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Measuring Emotion from Holiday Destination Homepages: An Australian Context

Chapter 1: Introduction

As use of the Internet has spread widely into our society, cyberspace has become an important part of our daily life (Hefley and Morris, 1995). According to a recent survey on Internet usage in the Australia, 56% of the total population used the Internet in the year 2006, and that percentage increases to 63% in the year 2007 (GMID, 2008).The maturation of Internet has led to a rapid development in a variety of destination offerings, services, and information quality, which have increased the ease of use, usefulness, security, and playfulness of websites (Gretzel, Yuan, & Fesenmaier, 2000; Hanna & Millar, 1997; Marcussen, 1997; WTO Business Council, 1999). To enhance the shopping and browsing experience, differentiate between tourism websites, and further increase online sales, destination marketers continue to offer improved website features (Hess, 2005; Lohse et al., 2000).

Research supports the influence of destination homepages features on consumer experiences and their resulting effects on consumer attitude towards a website (Cano & Prentice, 1998; Gretzel et a1., 2000; Klein, 1998). Offering a destination on a website, such as virtual tour, picture of destination, animation, image interactivity is important because presentation of destination homepage facilitates positive consumer responses, due to resulting hedonic or experiential value(Bigne, Andreu, & Gnoth, 2005; Ha and Perks, 2005).

As a typical interface in cyberspace, destination homepages can basically be considered as collections of slides composed of diverse visual(e.g. picture,color,text, multimedia presentation) and auditory stimuli (, sounds) designed to directly engage the user in the interaction while he/she is navigating through cyberspace (Laurel, 1993). Accordingly, homepages thus also have the potential to elicit universally shared emotions in their user.

In its past destination homepages tended to focus on providing cognitively convenient functions, such as search engines or directories. Therefore, most prior studies of tourism website have focused on the cognitive aspects of homepages (e.g. Sigala, 2002). However, as users gradually grew accustomed to these basic functions, providing cognitively convenient functions is not sufficient to satisfy user needs (Picard and Andrew, 1998). The advance of computer graphics increases the importance of aesthetic design of user interfaces, which provide users with emotional experiences (Oliver, 1996; Ngo and Byrne, 2001). Empirical evidence exits in the marketing literature supporting the argument that distinct aspects of product differentiation are captured in both the utilitarian (functional) and hedonic (aesthetic/affect laden) dimensions (Chittrui, 2003).

That is why not all online travel consumers are motivated by the functional and utilitarian aspects of a destination Website such as price and place. Particularly when homepages are used for holiday destination, the emotional aspects of homepages have gained increased importance (Schenkman and Jonsson, 2000). Also in a study by Huang (2003), emotional experiences in an online shopping environment were found to be positively related to a customer's intention to explore or purchase from website.

This is because emotions were found to influence both users' memories of products and their decision processes when they purchased products (Kim, 1998; Lee, 1998a).

However, in contrast to the ample amount of research focusing on cognitive functions of homepages, only a few studies have focused on the emotional aspects of destination homepages (Fesenmaier, 2007). Among these few studies on the emotional aspects have several limitations (Kim and Moon, 1998; Lee, 1998b). First, the emotional dimensions that had been used in previous studies did not reflect or useful to the characteristics of homepages of the destination specifically rather it belongs to the website, which is an extensive concept by its feature. Also, these because emotional dimensions they borrowed were found in the design of physical products (Lee, 1998b). Therefore, we cannot be sure whether the emotional dimensions used in those studies accurately measure the emotions that users feel with diverse homepages. Second, prior studies did not consider the affective qualities of the destination homepages that had been used by homepage designers to elicit diverse emotions (Kim and Moon, 1998).

Finally, prior studies did not identify any quantitative relations between the affective qualities of the destination homepage and browser's emotion in response to those affective qualities (Fesenmaier, 2007). Thus it was not clear which factors are closely related to which emotional dimension, how strong that relation is and what emotions have been evoked. Site developers therefore have to depend on insights and common sense in developing homepages, since they do not know the generic emotions evoked by various homepages or ways to evoke the generic emotions efficiently using design factors.

Therefore, the objective of the study is

  • to identify the affective qualities of destination homepages
  • to measure the affective response of the homepage browsers.
  • to identify a quantitative relationship between the affective responses of the browser and the affective qualities of the destination homepages

The present study will contribute to research on emotional aspects of consumer behavior during tourism website browsing.

Structure of the Thesis

In order to achieve the research objective a theoretical basis has to be shaped that will be described in chapter 2. It will present a combination of earlier research and studies related to emotional experience, homepages in general and destination homepages. Chapter 3 reports the research design and methodology of the first experiment experiments. The results of the experiment itself will be presented in chapter 4. The research design of the second experiment will be covered in chapter 5, followed by the results in chapter 6. Subsequently, chapter 7 discusses both experiments; its methodology and results. It also presents final conclusions and recommendations for further research.


The following areas of literature were covered to identify the proposed objective for the present study: (1) The emergence of eTourism, (2) Research in Tourism website (3) Emotional experience and Human-Computer Interaction (4) Methods used to Measuring website experience (5) Presence of emotions in destination homepages (6) Affective qualities in destination homepages (7) expression of emotions (8) Affective States (9) Measuring Emotions

1. Emergence of eTourism

Tourism is an information extensive product, since it exists only as information at the point of sale, and cannot be sampled before the purchase decision is made (WTO Business Council, 1999). Unlike durable goods, intangible and variable tourism services cannot be physically displayed before purchasing. Tourism products are therefore almost exclusively dependent upon representations and descriptions, i.e. information in printed or audio-visual formats. Communication and information transmission tools are therefore indispensable to the global marketing of the tourism industry (Sheldon, 1997).

The information-based nature of tourism product denotes that the Internet, which recommends global reach and multimedia capability, is gradually more important means of promoting and distributing tourism services (Walle, 1996). Tourism has become a highly competitive product over the world. Competitive advantage is vital for this industry as it is increasingly driven by science, information technology and Innovation. Tourism has become the world's leading industry and its growth shows a consistent year to year Increase. The World Tourism Organization (2005) predicts that by 2020 tourist arrivals around the world would increase over 200%.

Tourism-related services have emerged as a primary product category to be promoted and distributed to consumer markets through the Internet (Connolly et al., 1998, Sussman & Baker, 1996; Archdale et al., 1992., Millman, 1998; Underwood, 1996). Travel usually rates among the top three product/service categories purchased via the Internet, as indicated by numerous consumer surveys (Heichler 1997; Tweney 1997; Yoffie 1997). Machlis (1997) suggested that travel is the single largest revenue generator among consumers on the Internet, totaling U.S. $800 million in 1997.

As a primary source of tourist destination Information for travelers approximately 95% of Web users use the Internet to gather travel related information and about 93% indicate that they visited tourism Web sites when planning for vacations (Lake, 2001). The number of people turning to the Internet for vacation and travel planning has increased more than 300% over the past five years. The World Wide Web facilitated the entire interactivity and networking between computer users by using the Internet to allow instant access and distribution of tourism information as well as to support and gradually re-engineer the reservation of tourism organizations (WTO, 1995; Smith & Jenner, 1998).

Now more people have access from work or Internet cafes even from countries that are not technologically advanced or wealthy. This exemplifies that gradually the Internet is becoming persistent among all economic classes. Most Internet users are educated professionals who travel regularly and therefore should have a higher disposable Income. Increasingly consumers become familiar with ICTS and expect that tourism suppliers will have interactive interfaces on-line to support purchasing and discussion about specific requirements. The Internet, in particular, enables travellers to access reliable and accurate information as well as to undertake reservations in a fraction of the time, cost and inconvenience required by conventional methods.

An interactive Website provides a good opportunity for the numerous suppliers involved in a tourism destination to sell different product and service which are sought by individual visitors. An interesting part is using interactive methods of guiding Individuals through the enormous range of destination options are available. In this sense the Internet is not dissimilar to traditional marketing that consumers seek to simplify their choice by using a combination of intermediaries, trusted brand names and established business relationships.

Apart from simply broadcasting information to letting consumers interact with the Web site content allows the tourism organization to engage consumers' interest and participation to capture information about their preferences, and to use that information to provide personalized communication and services. The content of tourism destination Web sites is particularly important because it directly influences the perceived image of the destination and creates a virtual experience for the consumer. This experience is greatly enhanced when Web sites offer interactivity (Cano & Prentice, 1998; Gretzel et al., 2000)

With the increasing importance of online sales for tourism and hospitality products (Visa Europe, 2003) and the growing number of online tourists patronising tourism Webstores, it is crucial to develop a better understanding of the profile and behaviour of Internet surfers and shoppers. A number of research efforts have concentrated on general tourist information search behavior (Chen, 2000; Chen & Gursoy, 2000; Fodness & Murray, 1999; Gitelson & Crompton, 1983; Schul & Crompton, 1983; Snepenger, Megen, Snelling & Worrall, 1990; Vogt & Fesenmaier, 1998).

However, insufficient research attention has been paid to online consumer search behavior in the travel and tourism field. Despite the wide-spread discussion of e-commerce advantages, research of e-commerce business models in the tourism literature has, to date, focused primarily on organisational, business and technical factors (Sigala, 2004). In contrast psychological factors (e.g emotion, motivation, attitude, mood) which influencing the shape and adoption of tourism website have not been adequately addressed.

But it is important to understand the needs that consumers have with respect to being involved in e-commerce within the tourism and hospitality context. Investigative rather than simply descriptive information about online travelers should help tourism and hospitality firms make better decisions about their marketing strategies, segmentation and personalisation practices (Sigala, 2004). Thus, in addition to demographics, tourism and hospitality marketers need to know the intrinsic as well as extrinsic benefits/value that e-shoppers seek when engaging in e-shopping as well as the atmospheric and environmental signs that can influence Webstore adoption and use. To achieve this other under-utilised sub-fields of psychology can also be considered as potential explanatory patterns of e-commerce adoption and use (Aldersey & Williams, 1996). Specifically to design and develop techniques to measure the affect of non-verbal response behavior of prospective travelers when considering holiday destinations by using tourism websites.

(2)Research in Tourism website

This chapter reviews the research in tourism website. In line with the growth of online travel, there has been an increase in academic and practitioner publications equipped at understanding how to effectively build and evaluate hospitality and tourism websites. Researchers also investigate the challenges of identifying, attracting and retaining customers in the online market as well as the issue of understanding consumer's perceptions towards destination website. Some of the researchers also aim to identify the determinants that influence potential travelers to use the Internet for travel planning and to show their interrelations.

Murphy et al. (1996) were among the first researchers to examine online marketing effectiveness in hospitality and tourism. These researchers evaluated 36 restaurant websites using the categories of email contact, online sales promotions, frequent specials, directions, reservations, email newsletter, franchising, coupons, recruiting and contests. ). During this period a variety of approaches have been suggested or used for measuring the effectiveness of tourism and hospitality Websites. Murphy, Forrest, Wotring and Brymer (1996a) analysed the Websites of 36 hotels in late 1995, and identified 32 categories of hotel Website features, which they subsequently grouped into promotion and marketing, service and information, interactivity and technology, and management.

In the mid-to-late 1990s, practitioners and academics tried to understand the Web and the people who were using it to for travel information and bookings (Bonn, Furr, & Susskind, 1998, 1999; Jung, 1999; Kasavana, Knutson & Polonowski, 1997; Smith & Jenner, 1998; Walle, 1996; Weber & Roehl, 1999). In the late 1990s, other factors such as accessibility, segmentation, positioning, consumer research and timeliness emerged, and were also used to evaluate various tourism and hospitality websites (see

Morrison et al., 1999; Weeks and Crouch, 1999).

By 2000, academic papers on website evaluation expanded to include, visitor attraction centres, convention centres, tour wholesalers, travel agents and ski resorts. Other factors that emerged as important in the evaluation of hospitality and tourism websites were levels of information on websites, availability of virtual communities to share travel experiences, the actual customer decision making process (looker vs. booker behaviour), and special online pricing and promotion (Dellaert, 2000; McLemore and Mitchell, 2000; Tierney, 2000). Perry (2002) employed relationship marketing mechanisms such as reservations, loyalty programmes, newsletters, feedback, consumer services, public relations, information, special gestures, value-added services. Fürsich and Robins (2002) explored the use of the Internet in terms of constructing a self-image for the world. In 2003, the balanced scorecard tool introduced to evaluate the Web marketing efforts of Bed & Breakfasts, Destination Marketing Organizations (DMOs), NTOs and convention centres (Kim et al., 2003; St. John et al., 2003; so and Morrison, 2003).

Apart from the balanced scorecard approach, Choi (2003) evaluated 100 restaurant websites in terms of information clearing house, public relations, interactive brochure, virtual storefront and direct sales, marketing research, and encouragement. Murphy et al. (2003) explored email management, online relationship, and electronic customer service of hotel websites. Other factors such as product, price, promotion, place, In 2004 and early 2005, researchers continued to use the modified balanced scorecard approach to evaluate the marketing effectiveness of hospitality and tourism websites (Douglas and Mills, 2004; Kline et al., 2004; Lee et al., 2004; Morrison et al., 2004; Myung and Morrison, 2004; Yuan et al., 2004

Additional factors emerged in the research stream included facilities information, customer contact, and perceived ease of use, surrounding area information and usability performances (Law et al., 2004; Vrana et al., 2004; Yeung and Law, 2004). A model of online consumer attitudinal change (Han and Mills, 2005) and pictorial and textural analysis (Hellemans and Govers, 2005) were also developed to examine DMO websites. In 2005 Sigala developed an evaluative framework of Web interpretation practices to examine tourism websites. Few papers examined website effectiveness through surveys, textual analysis and experiments (Dellaert, 2000; McLemore and Mitchell, 2000; Tierney, 2000; Fürsich and Robins, 2002; Nysveen et al., 2003; Stergiou and Airey, 2003; Gretzel and Fesenmaier, 2005; Kao et al., 2005).

From the above discussion it is imperative to say that most of the previous research contemplates the functionality or usability of the destination website. Only recently a few specific research (Douglas et al., 2007; Kim and Fesenmaier, 2008) have been targeted the evaluation of non instrumental qualities of the destination website and their impact on browser. More specifically, there is not a single research that targeted the non instrumental qualities of destination homepages. Where as studies by Levene (2006) and Widyantoro and Yen (2001) seem to suggest that when an online travel planner first evaluates a Web site, he or she evaluates the Web site within a short period of time in an attempt to form an overall impression of it. That is, these studies indicate that when information searchers access a Web site, a rapid and almost unconscious but complex thought process is activated (Gladwell 2005; Lindgaard et al. 2006; Winter, Saunders, and Hart 2003). In their research, Kim and Fessenmier 2008 describes, “that first impressions aroused through an immediate interaction with Web page enables information searchers to make a quick choice about the particular Web site and even subsequent decisions. Importantly, these reactions have a potentially long-lasting effect (i.e., halo effect) whereby they support the search for or interpretation of, information in a way that confirms one's preconceptions (Lindgaard et al. 2006; Nickerson 1998)”.

That is why this research attempts to explore a new emotional aspect of destination homepages through investigating the affective qualities of destination homepages and measuring browser's perceived affective qualities. The next chapter will review the emotional experience in Human-Computer Interaction.

3. The Emotional experience in Human-Computer Interaction

This chapter describes the importance of emotion in HCI Most of the earlier HCI design guidelines for websites have focused on the cognitive efficiency of websites. However, as functionality and reliability improved, users needed to be satisfied in other ways. The growing possibilities of the internet (Web 2.0) and the advance of computer graphics, offered web developer the platform to provide users with more positive emotional experiences (Oliver 1996; Ngo and Byrne 2001). Designing interfaces ‘for emotion' proved to be an effective method to improve the communication in the online environment (Picard and Klein 2002) and to maximize the effect of online advertising in homepages (Singh and Dalal 1999).

Visual design plays an important role in this step, but is more than that. Pleasurable interfaces are also fun to play with. The fluidity of the graphics is engaging, and provides visceral experiences (Norman 2006). These are experiences that appeal to the senses. It can therefore be said that it is worth striving for a positive user experience, as it will satisfy the user and will most likely improve his feelings about the producer of the product. Furthermore, customers will leave the websites that they experience as negative. Schenkman & Jonsson (2000) were among the first to propose that evoking specific emotions should be a part of a web developer's overall site design strategy.

Mahlke & Thüring (2007) proposed a model to understand emotional experience in interactive contexts. They believe that perceived instrumental qualities that are related to the usability and usefulness of a system, and perceived non instrumental qualities that result from a system's appeal and attractiveness draw attention to the system users. Both types of quality are likely to influence the third component: the emotional reactions that accompany the user's interaction with the system. Perceived instrumental qualities are related to the usability of the system. Perceived non-instrumental qualities as ‘the quality aspects of an interactive system that address user needs that go beyond tasks, goals and their efficient achievement'. Over the past few years, various concepts of these noninstrumental qualities were discussed (e.g. Jordan 2000; Rafaeli and Vilnai-Yavetz 2003; Hassenzahl 2004; Lavie and Tractinsky 2004; Norman 2004)..

In order measures emotion, it is important to know how the noninstrumental qualities relate to the elicited emotions. The non instrumental qualities (aesthetic dimensions and hedonic attributes) are measurable and seem useful for the analysis of a HCI system. Not much is known about the influence of the perceived non-instrumental qualities on emotional reactions.

(4) Method used to Measuring website experience

Numbers of methods implemented to examine HCI experience but in this study only most widely used method is introduced.

Data Logging

The most common way to measure internet behaviour is by logging persons' website usage. How long does a user stay on a site, where did he come from and where is he going to? Where did he leave in an ordering process? And which keywords were used to get to the site?


A common way to evaluate user experience is by questionnaires. As example to study non intstrumental qualities of the website Hassenzahl (2004) and Lavie & Tractinsky (2004) are most widely used. Webqual (Loiacono, Watson et al. 2000) is another website quality measurement questionnaire. It measures the likelihood that a person will revisit or make a purchase from a specific site in the future

Mouse Behaviour

A small number of studies has been conducted that focus on mouse behaviour as a user experience response. Chen, Anderson et al. (2001) indicated a relationship between gaze position and cursor position on a computer screen during web browsing. Mueller & Lockerd (2001) developed a tool that records the changes in mouse location throughout the user interaction.

(5) Presence of Emotion in Destination Homepages.

According to the destination industry expert, destination homepage, as a communication tool is the potential to offer high level virtual experiences. Through the progress of media technology in recent years, most consumers can now view the photos and read information about scenic spots through the Internet in order to experience the sights in advance (Klein, 1998). Direct product experiences have consistently been shown to lead to stronger beliefs and attitudes than other media(Marks & Kamins, 1988; Smith & Swinyard, 1988). Furthermore, Bigne and Andreau (2004) argue that the recognition of these on-line experiences as a distinct product offering is the key to future economic growth when 75% of consumers are lured back to their favourite websites after a positive experience (Ha & Perks, 2005).

Research confirms the effect of tourism catalogue on experiential value. Destination image in tourism catalogue helped consumers generate a mental scenario or fantasy and resulting in pleasure (Fiore & Yu, 2001). Destination homepages also offers experiential value, which is augmented by fantasy, feelings, and fun derived from a virtual product experience (Song, Fiore, & Park, 2006). Song et al. (2006) found that homepage features, as virtual tour, photograph, videos, layout and other aesthetic contents positively affected consumer fantasy, which led to browsing enjoyment

Shih (1998) proposed that vividness of the image had a positive effect on approach responses towards the Web site. Therefore, level of realism of the image or completeness of sensory information created by an image interactivity function may result in a positive relationship with level of approach response variables. In another study, Griffith et al. (2001) reported that interface design influenced consumer involvement, or perceived relevance of the product to the consumer. An enjoyable and involving experience should enhance approach responses toward the environment (Mehrabian & Russell, 1974).

Therefore, the image interactivity functions including text and other aesthetic attributes of a homepage may increase approach responses toward online products and stores. The hedonic consumption paradigm in tourism suggests that in many situations consumers seek ‘‘fun, amusement, fantasy, arousal, sensory stimulation and enjoyment'' (Holbrook & Hirschman, 1982). Emotional experience plays a primary role in creating this enjoyment. Excitement, a combination of pleasure and arousal (Russell & Pratt, 1980), can increase approach tendencies, unplanned purchases, and hedonic shopping value (Dawson et al., 1990; Babin & Darden, 1995).

The homepage may enhance escapist, esthetic and entertainment experiences, which generate pleasure and arousal (Li, Daugherty, & Biocca, 2001). With the features of high level of interactivity, vividness, and thus high level of involvement with its users, the homepage enables visitors to transform experiential attributes into more searchable attributes. Thus, in a highly involved virtual environment, tourism marketers has the potentiality of moving tourist from the status of “watcher” (i.e., passive participation) to “player” (i.e., active participant) in the realm of experience (Pine & Gilmore, 1998) by increasing the level of interactivity and vividness

Since the homepage design (including the aesthetic and functional content) will dominate a user's evaluation at first sight, and influence user's decision making while surfing on the web site, emotional factor certainly should be considered as an important cue when designing the website (Brave & Nass, 2003).Meanwhile, there are many studies indicating that emotional factor is an essential element on emotional design.

Previous studies in the marketing field provide support for the view that consumers, who respond in a positive emotional way to commercial websites, are more likely to change their attitudes and purchasing intentions. Yet, online consumer search behaviour in the travel and tourism field has drawn little attention (Ha & Perks, 2005; Jang, 2004; Kim, Lee & Choi, 2003). As the growing number of online tourists are adopting tourism Webstores, it is important to develop a better understanding of the profile and behaviour of Internet surfers and shoppers as well as to link emotions (and to a certain extent attitudes and behaviours) Understanding consumers' affective responses becomes critical (Szymanski & Henard, 2001; Wirtz et al., 2000; Zins, 2002). Such understanding is vital in tourism services, with important emotional involvement regarding the tourist experience (Barsky & Nash, 2002; Ryan, 1999).

Thus, much research is required to know as how browser emotionally response to the destination homepages. Knowledge of the process of emotion, i.e. how emotions are evoked, can enhance our understanding of what makes us enjoy interacting with a tourist website. So far, however, little is known about how people respond emotionally to a destination homepage and what aspects of design or interaction trigger emotional reactions. To measure emotional responses can support exploration of relationships between subjective affective responses, and objective interaction and design characteristics.

The next chapter will review the affective qualities of destination homepages.

(6) Affective qualities in destination homepages

It is important to introduce core affect before defining affective quality (AQ) and perceived affective quality (PAQ). In combining various views and studies on affect in psychology over the past several decades, Russell described core affect as a “neurophysiological state that is consciously accessible as a simple, nonreflective feeling that is an integral blend of hedonic (pleasure-displeasure) and arousal (sleepy-activated) values” (Russell 2003, p.147). Hedonic value refers to the extent to which one is generally feeling good or bad; and arousal value refers to the extent to which one is feeling engaged or energized (Russell 1980). Core affect is primitive and universal. A person always has core affect at any given conscious moment. Core affect per se is free of objects and thus free of the cognitive structures implied (Russell 2003). This concept is similar to what is commonly called feeling, affect (Watson and Tellegen 1988), and mood (Morris 1989).

Whereas core affect exists within a person, affective quality exists within a stimulus. Affective quality refers to a stimulus' ability to cause a change in a person's core affect (Russell 2003). A stimulus can be a person, place, condition, event, state of affairs, physical object, behavior, etc. In this study, a destination homepage is considered as such a stimulus that contains certain affective quality.

Perception of affective quality (PAQ) is an individual's perception of a stimulus' affective quality (Russell 2003). PAQ begins with a specific stimulus and remains tied to that stimulus (Russell 2003). The perception of affective quality of the exposed stimuli typically impinges at any one time (how pleasant, unpleasant, exciting, boring, upsetting, or soothing each is), then influences subsequent reactions to those stimuli (Russell 2003). PAQ is considered as the second most primitive concept after core affect (Russell 2003). Note that certain homepage features that are attractive to one person may not be so to another. PAQ reflects such subjectivity.

The structure of affect and affective quality has been interpreted in several different ways, each with its own measurement model, conceptual framework, and accumulating literature (Larsen and Diener 1992; Reisenzein 1994; Russell 1980; Schlosberg 1941; Thayer 1989; Watson and Tellegen 1985; Wundt 1912/1924).

In the destination web environment, researchers have found that certain affective reactions can be evoked by some aesthetic features of the website, such as colors, music, shapes, layout, information load, images, graph, menu, and so on (Huang 2003; Hwang, et al. 2001; Kim, et al. 2003; Mundorf, et al. 1993; Scheirer and Picard 1999; Schenkman and Jonsson 2000; Tractinsky, et al. 2000; van der Heijden 2003).

Aesthetic features of a homepage refer to visual items that can raise the interests of online travellers such as pictures, colours and graphical layout. These visual items would attract the attention of first time visitors and form an initial image of the destination. There are two sub factors in this category — destination visualisation and Web design. The Internet allows a website to function not only as a substantive information tool, but also as an online multimedia which can satisfy the visual as well as information seeking behaviour of consumers (Murphy et al., 1996; Cano and Prentice, 1998; Countryman, 1999; Morrison et al., 1999; Benckendorff and Black, 2000; Palmer and McCole, 2000; Jeong and Lambert, 2001; Ismail et al., 2002; Kim et al., 2003; Mills and Morrison,2003).

Visuals refer to the quality of the pictures of the attractions, logos and slogans of the destination. The use of colours that match with logos, destination pictures and aesthetically appealing backgrounds also contribute to the visual appeal at destination websites. Such visual features enhance online travellers' interests as they provide a glimpse of the unknown destination. Online video clips, newsletters or brochures can provide more intense impact as they aid recall and awareness of the destination. The elements that enhance online attributes are site maps, homebuttons, search engines for website contents and directories. Other aspects include a memorable website address, availability of accuracy of links and correct spelling, clear and readable text, clean and uncluttered Web page. The presence of such visualisation elements enhance both the visual experience and the reliability and trustability of information presented by online users.

all these factors can be considered as the affective qualities of a homepage in general but till now there is no research that confirmed if picture, color, logos; graphical layouts can be defined as the generic affective qualities for a destination homepages and how they perceived.

(7) Expression of emotions

According to Desmet (2002) there are four expressive components that shape emotions:

Behavioral components: the actions or behaviors one engages in when experiencing an emotion. Such as approach, inaction, avoidance and attack (Arnold 1960). In the face of danger or fear people want to run away and when in love people want to approach and caress.

Expressive reactions: the facial, vocal and postural expressions that accompany the emotion.

Physiological reaction: the changes in activity in the autonomic nervous system which accompany emotions (activation, arousal, changes in heart rate)

Subjective feeling: the conscious awareness of the emotional state one is in. experiencing an emotion.

Using expressive and physiological reactions to measure emotions will be limited to interpret. First, the results are related to a select group of discrete (basic) emotions as fear, anger and happiness. While it is believed that for measuring emotions in HCI, more emotions are relevant. Second, the influence of the measurement tool is noticed by the participant, which may distort the results. The focus is therefore moved to the measuring of subjective feelings of participants. This is subject to self-report and therefore applicable in an online environment - The field of psychology focuses on dimensional method to analyze emotions by subjective feelings.

The following chapter will review the affective state of the browser

(8) Affective States

Figure: 1 Differentiating affective states (Desmet 2002 p. 4)

The term ‘emotion' is often misused for a wide variety of experiential phenomena, such as passions, sentiments, temperament and moods. Desmet (2002) defines these phenomena as affective states and distinguishes them into four different segments (after Frijda 1994), as shown in Table 1. The affective states are differentiated, based on two considerations. Affective states can be intentional and non-intentional: ‘states that involve relationship between the person and a particular object are intentional, whereas those that do not involve such a relationship are non-intentional' (Desmet 2002 p. 4).

Intentional Non-intentional



Emotions Moods

Sentiments Emotional traits

Affective states can be acute or dispositional: states that are limited in time are acute: states that are not limited in time are dispositional. Emotions are intentional. They are related to a particular object, whether that object is a person, a product or a website. For example: one is in love with a person, proud of a product or angry at an interface. This also implies that people are usually able to identify this object of their emotion (Ekman and Davidson 1994). However, in some cases a person may be unaware of the cause of their emotion. Emotions are furthermore acute, and their duration is limited to seconds, or minutes at most.

Emotions are distinguished from moods, sentiments and emotional traits. Moods tend to have a relatively long-term character but are still limited in time. One can be sad or cheerful for a few hours or several days. They are, in contrast with emotions, not intentional for they are not directed at a particular object but at the surroundings in

general (Frijda 1994). Emotional traits are descriptions of one's character and can be seen as long-lasting moods. For instance, being in a sad mood does not mean one is a gloomy person, since a mood is only temporal. Finally sentiments are the dispositional component of emotions, they are long-term attitudes towards particular objects or events. One can love ice-creams or Apple products and have a general disliking of products that are produced by child labour. Because of the acute state of emotions, they are hard to measure. In order to try and measure them, it is therefore important to know how emotions are elicited and how they are manifested by persons. These subjects will be he handled in the following sections.

(9) Measuring Emotions

This paragraph introduces some methods that are currently used to measure subjective feelings by the dimensional and discrete approach.

Measuring Emotions with a Dimensional Approach

The dimensional approach captures subjective feelings in a three-dimensional space. This space consists of the dimensions of valence (positive - negative), arousal (calm -excited), and tension (tense-relaxed, and sometimes indicated as control, or potency). Because of the difficulty of identifying the third dimension many theorists have limited themselves to the valence and arousal dimensions. Russell (1980) believes affective states as emotions and moods are grounded in simple structures as feeling good or bad, and feeling energized or activated. He proposed a circular structure to map emotional feelings into a two-dimensional (see figure)

Basically, in this dimensional approach participants are asked to evaluate how positive/negative and how excited they feel. The answers to these questions determine

the position participants take in the circular structure, which serves as an indicator of

their emotional state. The dimensional approach of measuring emotions has been used for a long time. Wundt (1896) already discussed the dimensions of pleasure, tension and inhibition in 1896. Mehrabian & Russell (1974) used the Semantic Differential Scale (SDS) to measure the three dimensions of value, arousal and dominance on 18 bipolar adjective pairs.

Self-Assessment Manikin (SAM)

Because there were issues about the reliance of a verbal rating system in SDS, Lang (1980) developed a picture-oriented instrument called the Self-Assessment Manikin (SAM). Just like the SDS, the SAM uses a 9-point rating scale for each dimension, the items are however nonverbal SAM has been applied for many studies in the field of psychology and consumer research.Tests with SAM (Bradley and Lang 1994) proved that the two dimensions of valence and arousal are pervasive organizers of human judgements. Pleasure reflects one's tendency to approach a stimulus, whereas arousal indexes the amount of vigour associated with a given behavioural choice. Bradley & Lang assume that judgements of dominance indexes the relationship between the perceiver and perceived. SAM is limited because it only describes the values of three constructs. It may furthermore prove to be difficult for users to interpret the images without help.

Measuring Emotions with a Discrete Approach

In the discrete approach of measuring emotions, a list of emotion words is presented. Participants have to rate the intensity of the words. Many verbal questionnaires with different sets of emotion words have been developed in the past. In this section, two instruments of measuring discrete emotions are presented. The first instrument is still under development and approaches the measuring of discrete emotions in a new way by combining it with their position on two dimensions. The second, is a non-verbal approach of rating discrete emotions.


Scherer (2005) developed the Geneva Emotion Wheel, a tool for the verbal report of emotions. It includes 16 emotions categories that are positioned in a circle that is based around two dimensions. The first dimension is the level of perceived control in the situation that generates the emotion. The second dimension is the positive/negative quality judgement of the situation and of the resulting feeling. The user is able to rate the intensity of each emotion category on a four-point scale, represented by the size of the circles next to the emotion words.


PrEmo is a measurement tool developed by Desmet (2002) to measure fourteen discrete emotions which are elicited by product appearance. Each emotion is portrayed by an animated figure by means of dynamic facial, bodily and vocal expression. The character expresses seven positive emotions (inspiration, desire, satisfaction, pleasant surprise, fascination, amusement, admiration), and seven negative emotions (disgust, indignity, contempt, disappointment, dissatisfaction, boredom, and unpleasant surprise). In experiments with PrEmo, participants were first presented with the image of a product and subsequently instructed to use the animations to report their emotions evoked by the product. This is possible by scoring a three-point scale which is presented on the left side of the animation. The scale represents the following ratings: ‘I do not feel the emotion' - ‘I somehow feel the emotion' - ‘I do feel the emotion'. Visual feedback of the scorings is provided by the background colour of the animation frame.PrEmo is an original way to rate emotions.

The most common doubt about the discrete emotion words is whether the labels really

express the experienced emotions and to what extent they do express them. A participant might want to respond with a word or category that is not provided in the list. This may force the person to respond with a close alternative. Additionally, the use of expressions (e.g. colloquial language or psychological terms) could make people misunderstand the word.

Finally, as researchers often use self-composed lists of discrete emotions, it is hard to compare results of discrete emotion measurements. Therefore from the above discussion we can conclude that dimensional method is the simplest to process and in that case self report seems to be the most practical method to use.


Participants: the number of participant for the first is 20 and they are all iniversity students.

To measure the affective qualities of the destination homepages, each of the samples will be given the printed picture of 25 different destination homepages. The homepages are selected as they are not popular and as obscure to reduce the bias to a particular homepage. The text used in the homepages is in English language. After viewing each of the pages for ten seconds the sample will be asked to rate the pages in a five point Likert scale from strongly agree to strongly disagree to identify the affective qualities of the homepgaes.

Following the first test a panel of homepages will be selected and will be used in the second test to measure the affective state of the browser. In the second test the Russels dimensional scale of emotion will employed to measure the perceived affective qualities.

Justification of the survey questionnaire in the first test


Vision is one of the most important senses of human beings. We see everything through eyes. People have different responses to different objects with colors. For example, food with different color designs will give consumers different perceive flavors. (Garber, Hyatt, and Starr, 2000). Also, consumers judge the quality of things by colors. Previous researches found that color is a direct indicator for consumers to evaluate the quality, for instance, tomatoes, citrus and cranberries (Francis, 1995). In the era of e commerce, companies are losing customers as a result of having color on websites that do not accurately show the actual color of product which is being sold (Nitse, Parker, Krmwiede and Ottaway, 2004). Therefore, color has been influential in consumer's decisions. There have been numbers of studies that have investigated that the application of colors on websites, such as that the influence of color on time perception” (Gorn, Chattopadhyay, Sengupta, & Tripathi 2004.), the performance in a visual search task of color and website design(Robert and Paul, 2003), the influence of color on click rate (Zviran, Te'eni, and Gross, 2006), the effect of visual stimuli, (i.e. the design of color) on mail survey response rates (LaGarce, R. and Kuhn, L. D. 1995), the effect The studies about the effect of colors on emotions, feelings, and series of purchasing behavior are all positive. Question 1, 2, 11 have been supported by these theories.


Viewing affective pictures elicits a number of physiological reactions in cardiovascular, electrodermal, and somatic systems. For instance, skin conductance responses are larger when viewing emotionally arousing pleasant or unpleasant pictures, compared to neutral pictures. Findings from another (Jeong and Choy, 2004) study indicated that if a hotel Website provided a variety of pictures of the hotel and featured service personnel or guests in the pictures, customers tended to have more favorable attitudes toward the hotel Website because they could mentally picture the overall image of the hotel and benefits of the service, and imagine actually experiencing the service.It is clear that affective pictures are effective cues in activating emotional response. Question 3, 4,7,11 correspond with these theories.


Pleasure is the extent to which the visitor perceives the homepage wattching to be enjoyable and is considered a prerequisite for a successful site. Chen et al. suggest that the level of entertainment offered by a web site is a key predictor of user attitude towards the site. Childers et al. (2002) argued that the extent to which a web site evoked hedonic feelings significantly affected the Internet shopping experience of the customer. This was further confirmed by Eroglu et al. (2003). Provision of multimedia elements, such as graphics, audio, video, and backgrounds, is considered significant in enhancing web site content and increasing attractiveness. Further, using interesting themes, flashy graphics, or appealing site design may make a web site experience entertaining and increase visitors' likelihood to conduct business.

Question 5,6, 8,9,10 supported by these theories.

please see the attached survey