User experience design approaches for accommodating high “need for touch” consumers in ecommerce

Christian Bruun Løkke-Andersen, Qian Janice Wang, Davide Giacalone*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Inability to touch physical products when shopping online may be an issue for consumers with a high “need for touch” (NFT), defined as preference for the extraction and use of haptic information. This study explores the inclusion of congruent auditory and visual haptic information in online product presentation videos as a user experience (UX)–design approach to compensate for the lack of touch in e-commerce. A between-subjects online experiment was conducted where participants (N = 183) evaluated variants in two product categories—kitchen knives and sweaters—in three conditions: static images, videos containing natural audio from the product interaction, and the same videos with a musical background. Product presentation was found to significantly affect perceived haptic properties (weight for the knives, softness for sweaters), perceived overall quality, perceptual discrimination and experienced task difficulty. Importantly, interactions between NFT and product category were identified: specifically, natural auditory haptic information improved the user experience of high NFT consumers in one product category (knives), but not the other (sweaters). Practical applications: Overall, the present study demonstrates that auditory haptic information congruent with visual haptic information can improve the user experience of high NFT consumers in an online shopping context. However, the effectiveness of this UX-design approach may be dependent on the product characteristics, in particular the salience of the instrumental (vs. autotelic) dimension of touch.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12727
JournalJournal of Sensory Studies
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2022


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