EE Times has an article about how people exposed to poorly designed and hosted websites exhibit symptoms similar to those experienced during road rage… The causes are similar to those that create road rage. Pages that load too slowly (think slow moving traffic), difficulty navigating (inadequate road signage), distracting pop-ups (in-car distractions), and gratuitous ads (endless roadside billboards) all contribute to this ‘internet road rage’, or as they term it, mouse rage syndrome.
According to the article,
“Users want Google-style speed, function, and accuracy from all of the Web sites they visit, and they want it now. Unfortunately, many Web sites and their servers cannot deliver this.”
In testing poor websites, users “showed very distinct signs of stress and anxiety” as their faces “tensed visibly, with the teeth clenched together and the muscles around the mouth becoming taught.” Such facial expressions serve to increase feelings of anger, and communicate those emotions to others. Heart rate and behaviours such as repeatedly clicking or bashing the mouse also increased.
As mentioned in a previous article, the physiological or bodily dimension of emotion can have effects on how we experience emotions. A highly agitated or relaxed state tends to affect how we experience events, either amplifying (agitated) or reducing (relaxed) the intensity of the emotional response.
As the researchers who conducted the testing put it, “businesses selling online have a duty to provide an Internet experience that is as stress-free as possible.” This experience includes simple and easy-to-navigate layouts, on sites that load quickly and are continuously available. Users have built expectations around the internet based on the experiences they have when visiting sites like Google. Sites that violate those expectations provoke negative feelings in users and over time, will see their audience dwindle.