Dianne Cyr


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Dr. Dianne Cyr is a Professor in the Beedie School of Business at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver. She is the author of 4 books and over 100 research articles, book chapters or proceedings. Dr. Cyr has received numerous awards including Best paper for 2009 in the top ranked MISQ journal.

My background is varied and interdisciplinary. Both my Bachelor and Masters degrees are in Psychology, and I worked in clinical psychology for the better part of a decade before returning to university to embark on doctoral studies. The earlier training held me in good stead for my Ph.D. research which was focused on the linkage of strategy and human resource management in international joint ventures. I am currently at Simon Fraser University as a Full Professor with tenure in Management Information Systems.

Since 1994 my primary role has been as a university professor, coupled with activities in the business world. I joined Simon Fraser University (SFU) in 1994 as an Adjunct Professor, and carried a very full teaching load (of up to 8 courses in some years), while at the same time conducting research, publishing, and organizing a consulting practice. An opportunity arose for full-time academic employment at the start-up Technical University of British Columbia (TechBC) in 1998. As one of the founding faculty, I was involved in numerous activities to shape the mission, curriculum and structures for TechBC. More specifically, I developed the Management and Technology program until the closure of the university in 2002. At this time, TechBC was merged into SFU, and another academic chapter began.

As the President of Global Alliance Management (1993-2004), I provided consulting and training services in the area of joint ventures and strategic alliances to small and mid-sized companies. During this time I made numerous public presentations on the topic of joint ventures or alliances, and developed a program in alliances for the British Columbia Trade Development Corporation. As a Director of Canada Sri Lanka Capital Corporation (1994-2003), I was involved in the development of an agro-industrial joint venture in Sri Lanka.

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Cyr, Dianne, Head, Milena, Larios, Hector (2010): Colour appeal in website design within and across cultures: A multi-method evaluation. In International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, 68 (1) pp. 1-21. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/B6WGR-4X3N468-2/2/ffdef6653c44dd2023a81b26d3741845

Cyr, Dianne, Head, Milena, Ivanov, Alex (2009): Perceived interactivity leading to e-loyalty: Development of a model for cognitive-affecti. In International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, 67 (10) pp. 850-869. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijhcs.2009.07.004

Cyr, Dianne, Head, Milena, Larios, Hector, Pan, Bing (2009): Exploring human images in website design: a multi-method approach. In MIS Quarterly, 33 (3) pp. 539-566. http://www.business.mcmaster.ca/IS/head/Articles/Exploring%20Human%20Images%20in%20Website%20Design%20Across%20Cultures.pdf

Lim, Eric T.K., Cyr, Dianne (2009): Modeling Hedonic Consumption Behaviors in Online Shopping. In: Proceedings for the Eighth Pre-ICIS HCI Research in MIS Workshop HCI/MIS’09 December 14, 2009, Phoenix, USA. http://aisel.aisnet.org/sighci2009/4/

Cyr, Dianne (2008): Modeling Web Site Design Across Cultures: Relationships to Trust, Satisfaction, and E-Loya. In Journal of Management Information Systems, 24 (4) pp. 47-72.

Cyr, Dianne (2008): Modelling Website Design across Cultures: Relationships to Trust, Satisfaction and E-loyal. In Journal of Management Information Systems, 24 (4) pp. 47-72. http://www.diannecyr.com/cyr2008_modelling.pdf

Cyr, Dianne, Kindra, Gurprit S., Dash, Satyabhusan (2008): Web site design, trust, satisfaction and e-loyalty: the Indian experience. In Online Information Review, 32 (6) pp. 773-790.

Cyr, Dianne, Hassanein, Khaled, Head, Milena, Ivanov, Alex (2007): The role of social presence in establishing loyalty in e-Service environments. In Interacting with Computers, 19 (1) pp. 43-56. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.intcom.2006.07.010

Cyr, Dianne, Head, Milena M., Ivanov, Alex (2006): Design aesthetics leading to m-loyalty in mobile commerce. In Information & Management, 43 (8) pp. 950-963. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.im.2006.08.009

Ivanov, Alex, Erickson, Thomas, Cyr, Dianne (2006): Plot-polling: Collaborative Knowledge Visualization for Online Discussions. In: Tenth International Conference on Information Visualization July 5-6, 2006, London, United Kingdom. pp. 205-210. http://www.visi.com/~snowfall/PlotPoll_IvanovEricksonCyr_IV06.pdf

Cyr, Dianne, Bonanni, Carole, Bowes, John, Ilsever, Joe (2005): Beyond Trust: Website Design Preferences Across Cultures. In Journal of Global Information Management, 13 (4) pp. 25-54. http://www.igi-global.com/article/beyond-trust-web-site-design/3630

Cyr, Dianne, Bonanni, Carole (2005): Gender and website design in e-business. In International Journal of Electronic Business, 3 (6) pp. 565-582. http://www.diannecyr.com/docs/Gender%20and%20website%20design%20(IJEB)%20final.pdf

Cyr, Dianne, Trevor-Smith, Haizley (2004): Localization of Web Design: A Comparison of German, Japanese, and U.S. Website Characteris. In JASIST-Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 55 (13) pp. 1-10. http://www.diannecyr.com/cyr2004_weblocalization.pdf

Cyr, Dianne, Bonanni, Carole, Ilsever, Joe (2004): Design and e-loyalty across cultures in electronic commerce. In: Janssen, Marijn, Sol, Henk G., Wagenaar, René W. (eds.) Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on Electronic Commerce - ICEC 2004 October 25-27, 2004, Delft, The Netherlands. pp. 351-360. http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1052220.1052265

Cyr, Dianne, Ilsever, Joe, Bonanni, Carole, Bowes, John (2004): Website Design and Culture: An Empirical Investigation. In: Evers, Vanessa, Galdo, Elisa del, Cyr, Dianne, Bonanni, Carole (eds.) Designing for Global Markets 6 - IWIPS 2004 - Sixth International Workshop on Internationalisation of Products and Systems 8-10 July, 2004, Vancouver, BC, Canada. pp. 33-.

Cyr, Dianne, Bowes, John, Budd, Jim, Ilsever, Joe (2003): Managing E-Loyalty Through Experience Design: Cross-Cultural Perspectives. In: Evers, Vanessa, Rose, Kerstin, Honold, Pia, Coronado, José, Day, Donald L. (eds.) Designing for Global Markets 5 - IWIPS 2003 - Fifth International Workshop on Internationalisation of Products and Systems 17-19 July, 2003, Berlin, Germany. pp. 213-226.

Cyr, Dianne

19.9 Commentary by Dianne Cyr

Noam Tractinsky uses aesthetics to refer to an artistically or pleasing appearance or effect. There is a focus on the visual and the attributes that encroach on our hedonic or affective sensibilities. As an art collector for many years, a new abstract acquisition will move me in certain ways - based on the colors, balance and overall flow of the work. But as with visual aesthetics or visual design in HCI, it is often difficult to explain why. While it may no longer be heretical to consider design or visual aesthetics as central user elements in HCI, in-depth understanding of these areas remains elusive — especially from a theoretical perspective.

Tractinsky’s contributions to the field of design are substantial, and he has provided an impetus through his research to better understand the design perspective and what is pleasing to the user. His article utilizes three lenses— the design perspective, the psychological perspective, and the practical perspective — all of which have implications for the ongoing development of theory that informs practice. Building from this work, I propose there are three areas that merit additional attention by HCI researchers and practitioners as we move forward in the field, and it is these areas which I address below. That is: (1) the need to theoretically ground the principles of visual aesthetics in experimentally driven research; (2) the expansion of methodologies to gain new perspectives on visual aesthetics and design, and (3) new directions for research that emphasize individual and cultural factors. These are all topics mentioned in this chapter.

19.9.1 Developing Theoretical Models for Design Aesthetics

In 2007 Shirley Gregor and David Jones wrote an article in the Journal of the Association for Information Systems titled “The Anatomy of a Design Theory”.  The crux of the paper is that insufficient attention has been focused on the specification of design theory in terms of identifying purpose and scope; constructs to be tested; principles of form and function that define the structure, organization, and functioning of the design product or design method; and principles of implementation, among others. While great strides have been made in these areas in recent years — there is room for improvement to carefully identify and test principles of design aesthetics, and the subsequent impact on the user. Perhaps this is, as Tractinsky points out, because aesthetics and other design principles are intertwined and the specifics of design as tested are not sufficiently delineated. As is also mentioned in this chapter, terms such as “aesthetics” or “beauty” are ill defined, originating in diverse disciplines in which different meanings of the terms prevail. The psychological perspective further exacerbates the development of theory since it is difficult to determine precisely why a user responds to design elements. Along these lines, what exactly is pleasure? How is it different from enjoyment or satisfaction? Although some studies are aiming to disentangle these various constructs as reactions to design, in the realm of affect and emotion there is much work yet to be done. Developing or adopting theoretical frameworks that underpin such emotive or affective responses is essential to the development of design theory that can be tested over time in diverse contexts. For instance, in our paper in which we examined human images in website design (Cyr et al. 2009) images were examined as they contributed to user’s perceived social presence of the website. The theory of visual rhetoric was used as the theoretical context for user experience and provided understanding for why emotive responses occur. In other work it is likewise important to carefully outline theory, apply it to user experience, and to build new understandings that add rigor to the discipline.

19.9.2 Methodologies through which to Interpret Visual Design

Related to the preceding, it is generally acknowledged that methodologies are best used when they are suited to the research problem, and are aimed to elicit depth and precision. In this regard, Tractinsky aptly profiles various methods for how user responses to visual aesthetics or visual design are gauged. He notes that typically visual design is measured using surveys with single or multiple item scales. However as measurement techniques expand, there is opportunity to delve into new methods that more deeply and comprehensively attend to what users are experiencing.  More specifically, Tractinsky refers to the study using fMRI for testing reactions to product packaging (i.e. Reimann et al., 2010), and there is merit to pursue these alternative methodologies as they inform the HCI and design communities. For instance, in our work we examined human images in website design (Cyr et al. 2009) as well as user reactions to the use of different colors (Cyr et al. 2010) on websites  using eye-tracking equipment that measures exactly where and for how long users look at elements of design. Coupled with interviews to determine why users look where they do, these methods offer a systematic analysis of elements of visual design. Most recently, a paper published in the top IS journal MISQ by Angelika Dimoka and her colleagues (forthcoming) has charted a research agenda for the use of neurophysiological tools in IS research. The use of methodologies such as eye-tracking and fMRI are part of an evolving research agenda, and are well applicable to visual aesthetics, and the cognitive and affective outcomes for users related to their reactions to visual design principles. In this regard, Soussan Djamasbi (2011) has examined online viewing and aesthetic preferences using an eye-tracking device.  These methodologies offer precise insights into why users respond as they do - that serves to develop or elaborate design theory.

19.9.3 New Directions for Research

Tractinsky points out important areas for future exploration. I particularly think there is need for additional investigations into how to better serve practitioners through HCI research. Recently a representative of the practitioner community responsible for the production of superior interfaces wrote to me lamenting the need for better design information based on systematic study. Her questions included: why method A is better than method B when running a user evaluation study; how to effectively turn interview data into design criteria for interface development; or how to best determine prototypes that are able to elicit viable evaluation data. This disconnect between designers and users is also outlined by Tractinsky and deserves attention generally, and more specifically in the area of aesthetics and design. Other important areas for investigation outlined in the chapter relate to individual and cultural factors, and as already noted, design differences have been found across cultures for images and color preferences (Cyr et al. 2010; 2011). In a study in which visual design was modeled to trust for Canadians, Germans, and Chinese — only for Chinese users did visual design result in trust (Cyr, 2008). This finding signals diverse reactions to aesthetic elements of websites across different countries. Since work in this area is very sparse, more research is required. The impact of design aesthetics in mobile commerce is also worthy of future investigations. Further, visual design aesthetics significantly impacts perceived usefulness, ease of use, and enjoyment of mobile services (Cyr at al. 2006), representing a novel area for upcoming research in the realm of mobility. Finally, research agendas might explore differences in aesthetics and subsequent reactions to design between men and women. Studies on website design, including visual design, has uncovered significant differences between male and female produced websites (Moss et al. 2006), and related to perceived social presence (i.e. warmth and sociability) of a website as experienced by men versus women (Cyr et al. 2007). While one might expect perceptual differences between men and women to aesthetic stimuli to be well documented, in fact little research resides in this area. In sum, collectively these topics will not only inform and expand theory for aesthetic and visual design, but will provide valuable data for practitioners as well.

19.9.4 References

  • Cyr, D., Head, M., and Larios, H. (2010). Colour Appeal in Website Design within and across Cultures: A Multi-method Evaluation. International Journal of Human Computer Studies, 68(1-2), 1-21.
  • Cyr, D., Head, M., Larios, H. and Pan, B. (2009). Exploring Human Images in Website Design: A Multi-Method Approach. MIS Quarterly, 33(3), 539-566.
  • Cyr, D. (2008). Modeling Website Design across Cultures: Relationships to Trust, Satisfaction and E-loyalty. Journal of Management Information Systems, 24(4), 47-72.
  • Cyr, D., Hassanein, K., Head, M. and Ivanov, A. (2007). The Role of Social Presence in Establishing Loyalty in e-Service Environments. Interacting with Computers. Special Issue on “Moving Face-to-Face Communication to Web-based Communication”, 19(1), 43-56.
  • Cyr, D., Head, M., and Ivanov, A. (2006). Design Aesthetics Leading to M-loyalty in Mobile Commerce. Information and Management, 43(8), 950-963.
  • Cyr, D., and Bonanni, C. (2005). Gender and Website Design in E-Business. International Journal of Electronic Business, 3(6), 565-582.
  • Dimoka, A., Banker, R.D., Benbasat, I., Davis, F.D., Dennis, A.R., Gefen, D., Gupta, A., Ischebeck, A., Kenning, P., Pavlou, P.A., Müller-Putz, G., Riedl, R., vom Brocke, J., and Weber, B.  (forthcoming). On the Use of Neurophysiological Tools in IS Research: Developing a Research Agenda for NeuroIS. MIS Quarterly.
  • Djamasbi, S., Siegel, M., Skorinko, J., and Tullis, T. (2011). Online Viewing and Aesthetic Preferences of Generation Y and Baby Boomers: Testing User Website Experience through Eye Tracking, International Journal of Electronic Commerce, 15(4), 121-158.
  • Gregor, S. and Jones, D. (2007). The Anatomy of a Design Theory. Journal of the Association for Information Systems, 8(5), 312-335.
  • Moss, G., Gunn, R., and Heller, J. (2006). Some Men Like it Black, Some Women Like it Pink: Consumer Implications of Differences in Male and Female Website Design. Journal of Consumer Behavior, 5, 328-341.
  • Reimann, M., Zaichkowsky, J., Neuhaus, C., Bender, T. and Weber, B. (2010.) Aesthetic Package Design: A Behavioral, Neural, and Psychological investigation. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 20(4), 431-441.

Cyr, Dianne (2014): Emotion and website design. In: Soegaard, Mads, Dam, Rikke Friis (eds). "The Encyclopedia of Human-Computer Interaction, 2nd Ed." The Interaction Design Foundation .

Evers, Vanessa, Galdo, Elisa del, Cyr, Dianne, Bonanni, Carole (eds.) Designing for Global Markets 6 - IWIPS 2004 - Sixth International Workshop on Internationalisation of Products and Systems 8-10 July, 2004, Vancouver, BC, Canada.