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Title: Analysing the effects of website design elements on online purchase intention: a cognitive-affective perspective
Authors: Shaouf, Abubaker
Advisors: Lü, K
Keywords: The stimuli-organism-response (S-O-R) model;The theory of reasoned action (TRA);The selectivity hypothesis;Gender differences;Emotion
Issue Date: 2016
Publisher: Brunel University London
Abstract: With the competitive nature of business-to-consumer (B2C) websites, the role of website design elements (WDEs) has the same importance as the website’s content, if not more, for the viewers’ interaction. The development of technology provides an extended opportunity for web designers and online marketers to create shopping environments that prompt both cognitive and affective reactions from online shoppers. While studies of website design and its consequences are widespread in the literature, there is little theoretical foundation that can be used to understand how WDEs result in online purchase intention through the influence of cognitive and affective judgements. This study, therefore, develops a theoretical model that incorporates a set of cognitive and affective elements in order to investigate the effects of WDEs on consumers’ intentions to shop online. The model is developed through the use of the Stimuli-Organism-Response (S-O-R) model and the Theory of Reasoned Action (TRA) in which 20 hypotheses are drawn. In terms of WDEs, three elements based on previous research are included, namely: visual design (VD), information design (ID), and navigation design (ND). These design elements are modelled to website trust, website attitude, pleasure, and emotional arousal – which are important antecedents of behavioural intention. A salient consideration is also exploring the moderating role of gender in the relationships between independent and dependent variables in the proposed model. We address this purpose through the use of the Selectivity Hypothesis. In a laboratory setting, a total of 532 male and female online shoppers successfully completed a questionnaire survey after browsing a real B2C website. The collected data was managed and analysed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 20.0 and Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) based on Analysis of Moment Structures (AMOS) version 21.0. The results of this study highlight the importance of WDEs in shaping consumer behavioural intention through the influential role of cognitive and affective responses. In particular, the results indicate that consumers’ trust in e-vendors and their emotional responses are positively and significantly affected by WDEs. A consumer’s intention to shop online was also found to be influenced by website trust, website attitude, and emotional reactions of pleasure and arousal. Moreover, gender was found to moderate most of the relationships between WDEs and their consequences of online trust and emotional responses. Overall, the results of this study suggest that the effect of WDEs on online purchase intention is mediated by the levels of consumers’ trust in an e-vendor, as well as the pleasure and emotional arousal they generate. An important contribution of this study is that it provides a new understanding of how WDEs affect behavioural intentions by addressing the influential role of consumers’ cognitive and effective responses. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time that such an approach has been applied in order to understand the impacts of WDEs on online purchase intention in B2C settings. This study is also the first that shows a relationship between WDEs and shoppers’ emotional responses. Additionally, enhancing the knowledge of the role of gender in online consumer behaviour can make further research contributions. Keywords: Website design, cognitive response, affective response, trust, emotion, attitude, purchase intention, gender differences, moderators, mediators, the Stimuli-Organism-Response (S-O-R) model, the theory of reasoned action (TRA), and the Selectivity Hypothesis.
Description: This thesis was submitted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy and awarded by Brunel University London.
Appears in Collections:Business and Management
Brunel Business School Theses

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