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Companies can pump millions into a website’s design, implementing the splashiest graphics and seemingly intuitive information architecture. But that doesn’t guarantee users will like the site. Brigham Young University professor Jeffrey Jenkins argues that taking note of how users move their mouse while on a webpage reveals positive or negative associations with the page and could lead to better web design.

In MIS Quarterly, a peer-reviewed information systems journal, Jenkins and his research partners Martin Hibbeln, Christoph Schneider, Markus Weinmann, and Joseph S. Valacich, published the results of three studies which conclude that erratic, imprecise cursor movements signal that a user is feeling frustrated, angry, confused, and/or sad. In other words, they’re having an awful experience.

Drawing on Attention Control Theory—which argues that negative emotion decreases people’s ability to control their attention—Jenkins aimed to answer two questions: Does negative emotion influence mouse cursor

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