Eye-movement analysis was adopted to evaluate the visual perception of Chinese traditional commercial blocks, and the Chenghuangmiao block in Hefei, China, was selected as a typical case. Eye-movement data from 40 respondents viewing 14 sample pictures were recorded. The spatial elements of the sample pictures, including landmarks and commercial brands, were further extracted to analyze the visual characteristics of spatial elements and the factors that affect the respondents' perceptions of those elements. Then, the semantic differential method was used to analyze the relationship between visual preferences and psychological perceptions of spatial elements. Seventeen pairs of opposing adjectives were selected to score the intrinsic properties and visitors’ feelings of spaces. The software SPSS 22.0 was used to analyze these data. Results showed that distinctive spatial elements, such as street corridors, Ma Tau Walls, and various landmarks, were the most visually attractive. In addition, the location of a given element within a picture was an important factor affecting eye movements. On this basis, strategies for improving spatial-visual effects are proposed. The strategies include emphasizing the visual characteristics of different spatial elements, considering the overall layout of spatial elements, and creating diversified spaces based on different spatial categories.
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