Proceedings: GI 2018

Couch: Investigating the Relationship between Aesthetics and Persuasion in a Mobile Application

Arda Aydin (Carleton University), Audrey Girouard (Carleton University)

Proceedings of Graphics Interface 2018: Toronto, Ontario, 8-11 May 2018, 146 - 153

DOI 10.20380/GI2018.20

  • BibTex

    author = {Aydin, Arda and Girouard, Audrey},
    title = {Couch: Investigating the Relationship between Aesthetics and Persuasion in a Mobile Application},
    booktitle = {Proceedings of Graphics Interface 2018},
    series = {GI 2018},
    year = {2018},
    isbn = {978-0-9947868-3-8},
    location = {Toronto, Ontario},
    pages = {146 -- 153},
    numpages = {8},
    doi = {10.20380/GI2018.20},
    publisher = {Canadian Human-Computer Communications Society / Soci{\'e}t{\'e} canadienne du dialogue humain-machine},
    keywords = {Human Computer Interaction, Aesthetics, Persuasion, Mobile, Aversive stimuli, Sedentary behavior},


Aesthetics, specifically visual appeal, is an important aspect of user experience. It is included as a principle in frameworks such as Fogg's Functional Triad and the Persuasive Systems Design. Yet, literature that directly investigates the influence of aesthetics on persuasion is limited, especially in the context of mobile applications. To understand how aesthetics influences persuasion if it includes the concept of operant conditioning, we designed a mobile app called Couch, which aims to reduce sedentary behaviour. We devised a 2x2 between-subject experiment, creating four versions of the app with two levels of aesthetics and two levels of persuasion (with and without). Measuring persuasion through self-reports, we found that higher levels of persuasion had a significant impact in reducing sedentary behaviour over aesthetics. However, visual appeal had no significant effect on persuasion. We comment on the level of visual appeal of the app and discuss the implications for future work.