Emotions and eye-tracking of differing age groups searching on e-book wall

Published date16 July 2018
Date16 July 2018
AuthorKo-Chiu Wu,Yi-Hsieh Huang
Subject MatterLibrary & information science,Information behaviour & retrieval,Information & knowledge management,Information management & governance,Information management
Emotions and eye-tracking of
differing age groups searching on
e-book wall
Ko-Chiu Wu and Yi-Hsieh Huang
Department of Interaction Design, National Taipei University of Technology,
Taipei, Taiwan
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to explore the effects of a large e-book touch-wall, on which the
visualized interface provides information in a fun, hedonic-oriented fashion on readers of different ages
browsing in a public library. The authors examined how emotions exert influence on the information-seeking
behaviors of readers.
Design/methodology/approach The authors investigated the emotions and responsive eye movements
of 38 readers in various age groups when operating the touch-wall interface of New Taipei City Library. They
were monitored using an eye-tracker and a camera that videotaped their spontaneous facial expressions. A
facial affect scoring technique was used to measure emotions and statistical analysis was used to explore the
relationships among the scope of eye movements, emotions and information-seeking behavior of readers of
different ages.
Findings Results revealed that participants experienced an array of emotions, such as contemplative,
doubtful or peaceful. The older the participant was, the smaller the scope of eye movements was. Scope was
also affected by emotions (both positive and negative).
Originality/value These results serve as useful reference for exploration into human information
interaction, perceived ease of use, affected searching and the formulation of knowledge structures in
visualized interfaces.
Keywords Emotions, Usability, Usability testing, Information-seeking behaviour, e-Book wall,
Eye-tracking test
Paper type Research paper
The rapid development of the internet has brought forth an increasingly diverse array of
human information interactions (HII). OBrien (2011) pointed out that the current focus of
research into HII is on how users with different tasks and purposes operate the information
system. This can be done in a rational or emotional manner, which leads to particular
information-seeking and usage behaviors. Venkatesh et al. (2012) proffered that humans use
informationtechnology for utilitarianas well as hedonic purposes.Dervin and Reinhard (2007)
postulated thathuman emotions affect not only concentration, memory,performance and the
ability to make judgments but also exert influence over information-seeking behaviors in
everyday life.Lopatovska (2014) conducted research into the variety and breadth of emotions
of users searchingon Google, thereby developing a model of emotions and mood in the online
information search process. She proposed that primary emotions (i.e. happiness, surprise,
anger, disgust, fear or sadness) are used to direct search actions. Secondary emotions
(i.e. positive, relaxed, worried or gloomy states) are affective states arising once the reader
begins undergoing feelings and practicing systematic connections between categories of
objects and situations and engaging in cognitive evaluations of the emotional stimuli.
Wu and Hsieh (2016) developed an e-book wall that combines the high-functionality of an
online public access catalog (OPAC) with the ease of use and sense of fun of an HII interface
Aslib Journal of Information
Vol. 70 No. 4, 2018
pp. 434-454
© Emerald PublishingLimited
DOI 10.1108/AJIM-01-2018-0017
Received 24 January 2018
Revised 24 May 2018
Accepted 9 July 2018
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available on Emerald Insight at:
The authors would like to thank the Ministry of Science and Technology of the Republic of China,
Taiwan for financially supporting this research under Contract No. MOST 104-2410-H-027-018.
for New Taipei City Library. The e-book wall offers two types of representation. One is a
spread-out clustering representation, and one is a tree-like hierarchical structure, which
enables library patrons to browse for books according to their intention in visiting the
library. The recommended titles are placed in clusters or in a hierarchy to provide patrons
with diverse options in the browsing and searching process. The use of the clustering
interface had a negative correlation with anxiety and uncertainty. Users with utilitarian
needs tended to underline the importance of perceived ease of use whereas pleasure-seeking
users accepted a little more anxiety or uncertainty.
This study employed an eye-tracker and a camera to monitor eye movements and
videotape facial expressions in order to examine how readers of different ages generate
divergent emotional patterns when seeking information for different purposes.
Literature review
Emotions in information-seeking behavior
Savolainen (1995) explored peoples decisions regarding media channels and usage of
information in their daily lives. People exhibit different emotions under different
circumstances; even faced with similar situations, different people exhibit various emotions.
This is due to the ample possibilities arising from the cognitive processing activities related
to the dynamics between emotions and behaviors. Emotions, like specific nodes, connect an
individuals thoughts, physical systems and habits (Eysenck and Keane, 2010).
An analysis of emotions is crucial to understanding of human information-seeking
behavior (Fisher and Landry, 2007; Choi et al., 2016). When a need for new information
arises, people start to search for and receive useful messages. Inevitably in response they
feel a surge of emotions such as frustration, stress, anxiety or a sense of uncertainty in the
information-seeking process when problems occur. Tenopir et al. (2008) denoted that
positive feelings are normally blended with thoughts regarding searching results and
successful navigation. Negative feelings are frequently blended with thoughts connected
with the system, imminent task, search strategy, limited collections of the digital database
and uncertainty involving searching.
The behavior of information-seekers can be predicted through a grasp of the
emotional load emerging in the information-seeking process (Lopatovska, 2011).
Since a wide variety of emotions exhibited by humans are produced by a constant
interplay of emotive perceptions, thoughts, decisions and recollection, there have been a
large number of methodologies or categorizations for emotions. Fontaine et al. (2007)
postulated that the world of emotions is not two-dimensional (i.e. valence arousal
model) or three-dimensional (i.e. evaluation pleasantness, potency control and
activation arousal), as previous researchers stated, but rather contains at least four
dimensions, namely, evaluation-pleasantness, potency-control, activation arousal and
novelty unpredictability. Scherer (2005) made an attempt at classifying common
emotions into eight dimensions: positive vs negative, high power/control vs low power/
control, active vs passive, conductive vs obstructive. He regarded emotions as a dynamic
system, where the interplay of stimuli from the external environment and ones
psychological states, cognition, physical and mental states, motivationandsubjectivityis
ongoing and fluctuates over time; that is, positive emotions (such as a sense of certainty
or pleasure) and negative emotions show up by turns. The aim of this study was to
establish a categorization of emotions related to hedonic-oriented information-seeking
behavior on a specific interface.
Eye-tracking and recognition of emotions
Eye tracking, which is the process of identifying where someone is looking and how, has
generated a great amount of interest in the user experience (UX) field since the
Emotions and

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