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 2×2 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.

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Keywords Aesthetics, Aversive stimuli, Human computer interaction, Mobile, Persuasion, Sedentary behavior
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Conference 44th Graphics Interface, GI 2018
Aydin, A. (Arda), & Girouard, A. (2018). Couch: Investigating the relationship between aesthetics and persuasion in a mobile application. In Proceedings - Graphics Interface (pp. 137–144). doi:10.20380/GI2018.18