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INTL. JOURNAL OF HUMAN–COMPUTER INTERACTION, 25(4), 243–281, 2009 Copyright © Taylor & Francis Group, LLC ISSN: 1044-7318 print / 1532-7590 online DOI: 10.1080/10447310802546724

Intl. Journal 1532-7590 1044-7318 of Human–Computer Interaction, Vol. 25, No. 1, December 2008: pp. 1–78 HIHC Interaction

Better in 3D? An Empirical Investigation of User Satisfaction and Preferences Concerning Two-Dimensional and Three-Dimensional Product Representations in Business-to-Consumer E-Commerce A. Ant Ozok and Anita Komlodi

Department of Information Systems, UMBC, Baltimore Maryland

Ozok and Commerce Electronic Komlodi Product Representations

This study aimed at determining the user preferences and satisfaction concerning three-dimensional product representations in business-to-consumer electronic commerce. An experiment was designed and conducted on 20 college-age electronic shoppers to determine the user preference and satisfaction issues concerning twodimensional (2D), three-dimensional low-interaction (3DL), and three-dimensional high-interaction (3DH) product representations. A valid and reliable survey with 0.89 Cronbach’s alpha internal reliability coefficient was presented to participants after they completed tasks on each product representation type. Results indicated that participants found the 3D representations (both low and high interaction) more detailed, easier and more fun to use, more accurate, and carrying more information than 2D representations. It was concluded that 3D representations in general resulted in higher satisfaction for the shoppers. Future studies can be conducted to determine the business aspects of different product representations as well as human information visualization and processing issues relating to product representations in electronic commerce.

1. INTRODUCTION Business-to-consumer (B2C) e-commerce has been growing steadily in the last decade. Forrester Research (2005) predicted that online retail sales in the United States will reach $329 billion by 2010. It would be logical to hypothesize that in most shopping activities for consumer products, customers are interested in touching and feeling the products before they buy them (Lightner, Yenisey, Ozok, & Salvendy, 2002). As such an activity is largely difficult with the current This research was partially supported by the National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates Award, Award # EIA-0244131. Correspondence should be addressed to A. Ant Ozok, Department of Information Systems, UMBC, 1000 Hilltop Circle, Baltimore, MD 21250. E-mail: ozok@umbc.edu

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Ozok and Komlodi

e-commerce technology, almost all consumer products in retail e-commerce contain a visual representation (on top of text-based information) of the product, and most of these products’ visual representations consist of 2D, color, static pictures of the product. To determine the frequency of 2D picture use in online retail, the researchers visited the pages of 200 selected retail products on 20 different Web pages as a preliminary study. The product categories included consumer electronics, apparel, and motor vehicles. Of this sample, 140 product pages contained a 2D color picture of the advertised product. Of the remaining product pages, 31 offered a three-dimensional product representation, and 19 provided no representation. Though the image sizes varied, the most popular image sizes were (approximately) 240 by 240, 200 by 200, and 100 by 100 pixels, each corresponding to about a quarter of the pages that offered 2D representations. The finding confirmed the initial hypothesis by the researchers that most e-commerce retail products are represented by noninteractive, 2D (2D) color images. With the developments of animation and virtual reality technologies in the last decade such as Adobe Flash™ (1996; formerly Macromedia FlashTM), online vendors of consumer products were able to integrate more interactive product representations into...
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