|M.Sc Student||Ziv Ofra|
|Subject||The Relationship between Aesthetics, Enjoyment and Trust in|
E-Commerce Web Sites
|Department||Department of Industrial Engineering and Management||Supervisor||Professor Anat Rafaeli|
E-commerce takes place in a virtual environment characterized by high levels of uncertainty and low levels of trust. In E-commerce the encounter between potential customers and organizations takes place via web sites. Therefore, the initial trust customers hold towards an organization is heavily dependant upon their experience while visiting the site and their perceptions of the site design. Although there are recommendations regarding the functional design of web sites there is limited knowledge regarding aesthetic aspects. This study examined the relationship between the perceived aesthetics of a web site, customers' experiences while visiting the site and organizational trustworthiness. The focus was on the effect of including employee pictures in web sites on the perceived aesthetics of the site, the level of enjoyment from the visit to the site, and the trust felt towards the organization. The study examined the commercial domain of E-learning. Subjects (N=156) participated in a lab experiment in which they experienced a realistic situation of choosing between several E-learning providers. Four web sites were constructed to represent two online colleges. Each college was represented with a site that either included or did not include pictures of teachers. Subjects were asked to choose between the colleges and to evaluate the level of aesthetics of the web sites, their enjoyment from visiting the sites and their level of trust in the represented colleges. The study findings revealed that including pictures of teachers in web sites of online colleges positively affected perceived aesthetics of the web site, level of enjoyment from visiting the site and trust toward the online college. Enjoyment during the visit was confirmed as a mediator.