The objective of this research is to better understand the influence of cultural affinity on the design of Arab e-commerce websites, specifically the use of human images. Three versions of an e-commerce website selling cameras were built for this study – one with the image of an Arab woman holding a camera, another with the image of a Western woman holding a camera, and a third with no human image. All three websites displayed the same products (cameras) and contained the same navigational and textual elements. An eye tracking experiment involving 45 Arab participants showed that the image of the Arab woman gained participants' visual attention faster and for a longer duration than the image of the Western woman. When participants were presented with all three websites, 64.5% expressed their preference to purchase from the website with an Arab image. Although not reported in detail here, a structured questionnaire was also administered to study the influence of cultural affinity on perceived social presence and image appeal. A post-interview yielded further insights into participant preferences and the selection of culture-specific content for designing Arab ecommerce websites.


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