Dude, what’s up with your mouse flow?

That moment you are on the clock to complete the online sale and the website decides it’s the time to stop working. Are. You. Kidding. Me! Frantic mouse clicks around the site begin, then yelling, then back to clicking and a prayer…finally, your purchase goes through. Phew.
For web developers, understanding where users become frustrated on their site helps them improve the user experience and interface. Brigham Young University professor Jeffrey Jenkins, and co-researchers from around the world, used the latest cursor-tracking technology to complete a study that measured one’s mood simply through their mouse movements and clicks.
While one might think that a frustrated person would move their cursor all over the table, it’s actually the opposite, “It’s counterintuitive; people might think, ‘When I’m frustrated, I start moving the mouse faster,” Jenkins said. Actually, movements become “jagged and sudden and [people] start moving slower.”
According to the BYU report, an information systems expert says, “people experiencing anger (and other negative emotions) become less precise in their mouse movements and move the cursor at different speeds.”
The BYU study introduced students to a poor performing and slow loading web page to increase negative emotions, and asked them to take a timed online test that was destined for failure.
Jenkins discovered that this concept of mood meets mouse flow could be applied to web developers and fix or alter trouble points in a company’s website for desktop or mobile devices.
“Traditionally it has been very difficult to pinpoint when a user becomes frustrated, leading them to not come back to a site,” Jenkins said in the report. “Being able to sense a negative emotional response, we can adjust the website experience to eliminate stress or to offer help.”
Read about more university advances at AZ Tech Beat.
Contributions from BYU.edu, lead photo courtesy of Brigham Young University