Effects of the aesthetic design of icons on app downloads : evidence from an android market

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-102
Journal / PublicationElectronic Commerce Research
Issue number1
Online published4 Oct 2016
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2017


With the rapid development of the mobile app market, understanding the determinants of mobile app success has become vital to researchers and mobile app developers. Extant research on mobile applications primarily focused on the numerical and textual attributes of apps. Minimal attention has been provided to how the visual attributes of apps affect the download behavior of users. Among the features of app “appearance”, this study focuses on the effects of app icon on demand. With aesthetic product and interface design theories, we analyze icons from three aspects, namely, color, complexity, and symmetry, through image processing. Using a dataset collected from one of the largest Chinese Android websites, we find that icon appearance influences the download behavior of users. Particularly, apps with icons featuring higher colorfulness, proper complexity, and slight asymmetry lead to more downloads. These findings can help developers design their apps.

Research Area(s)

  • Aesthetics, Demand, Icon, Image processing, Mobile apps