In a move akin to Google’s efforts to help you avoid drunk e-mailing, computer scientists are now trying to keep you happy while using the Web—by gauging when you get ticked off.
From three different experiments, researchers found that Internet users who became frustrated, confused, or upset while online tended to move their cursor sporadically and less precisely, instead of in smooth strokes. Perturbed users also tended to navigate their mouse more slowly, not faster as some might expect. The findings, reported in the information systems journal MIS Quarterly, may allow computer scientists or website developers to identify and intervene in real time when users become agitated with the interface or content of a site.
"Using this technology, websites will no longer be dumb," Jeff Jenkins, lead study author and an information systems professor at Brigham Young University, said in a press release. "Websites can go beyond just presenting information, but they can sense you. They can understand not just what you're providing, but what you're feeling."