Applying Implicit Association Test Techniques and Facial Expression Analyses in the Comparative Evaluation of Website User Experience

Maurizio Mauri, Gaia Rancati, Andrea Gaggioli, Giuseppe Riva

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This research project has the goal to verify whether the application of neuromarketing techniques, such as implicit association test (IAT) techniques and emotional facial expressions analyses may contribute to the assessment of user experience (UX) during and after website navigation. These techniques have been widely and positively applied in assessing customer experience (CX); however, little is known about their simultaneous application in the field of UX. As a specific context, the experience raised by different websites from two well-known automotive brands was compared. About 160 Italian university students were enrolled in an online experimental study. Participants performed a Brand Association Reaction Time Test (BARTT) version of the IAT where the two brands were compared according to different semantic dimensions already used in the automotive field. After completing the BARTT test, the participants navigated the target website: 80 participants navigated the first brand website, while the other half navigated the second brand website (between-subject design). During the first 3 min of website navigation, emotional facial expressions were recorded. The participants were asked to freely navigate the website home page, look for a car model and its characteristics and price, use the customising tool, and in the end, look for assistance. After the website navigation, all the participants performed, a second time, the BARTT version of the IAT, where the two brands were compared again, this time to assess whether the website navigation may impact the Implicit Associations previously detected. A traditional evaluation of the two websites was carried on by means of the classic heuristic evaluation. Findings from this study show, first of all, the significant results provided by neuromarketing techniques in the field of UX, as IAT can provide a positive application for assessing UX played by brand websites, thanks to the comparison of eventual changes in time reaction between the test performed before and after website navigation exposure. Secondly, results from emotional facial expression analyses during the navigation of both brand websites showed significant differences between the two brands, allowing the researchers to predict the emotional impact raised by each website. Finally, the positive correlation with heuristic evaluation shows that neuromarketing can be successfully applied in UX.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)674159-N/A
RivistaFrontiers in Psychology
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2021


  • brand association
  • emotions
  • facial expression
  • online experiment
  • user experience (UX)


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