Date of Completion


Document Type

Honors College Thesis

Thesis Type

Honors College

First Advisor

Erik Monsen


website, design, conjoint, utility, small, business


This study serves as a publicly available, data-backed guide for selecting the best aesthetics when designing an e-commerce website. The conjoint method was used to evaluate seven different web design elements, each with two levels, to establish some understanding of how to please online shoppers. Conjoint studies use an orthogonal array to significantly reduce the number of variable level combinations for participants to evaluate through equal weighting. Participants were asked to complete a survey in which they ranked eight websites with identical content based on aesthetic qualities. Simultaneously, a database collected the number of times users visited each page and the amount of time spent per page in the background. A linear regression model calculated the individual effects of each variable design element on participant rankings of the websites in order to identify the optimal combination of design elements. The study revealed that the design elements tested did have significant effects on website utility, and that higher utility websites induced longer browsing times. The study also revealed differences in design element utility between men and women. The results will help businesses of all sizes understand some specific steps to take that will improve their websites in the eyes of consumers and encourage business.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.