The Aesthetic-usability effect is where people are influenced by the aesthetic design of a product such as a phone or car impacts of how people feel about being able to use it. The Aesthetic-usability effect is playing more of a role in design as people realise the important role it plays. This effect is becoming particularly important in product design. A product that has a good aesthetics in its design is more like to be perceived as simple and user friendly by its users. This is because the users find the design more pleasing and are happy to use it. In turn a product that has poor aesthetics will more than likely be seen as difficult to use, even though it could actually be a superior product that its more aesthetically pleasing rival. The poor aesthetics create a negative feeling towards and users will not like the product.
The Aesthetic-usability is very similar to how people respond to some one of first impressions. “first impressions of people influence attitude formation and measurably affect how people are perceived and treated.” (Lidwell, W., Holden, K., & Butler, J. (2003).
It has been in the last 15 years that have seen designers illustrate the importance that aesthetics have in design and how people react to them. Now when ever something is designed the aesthetics play a big part in it. Whether it be a car, phone or a website the aesthetics and how people respond to them are a big priority and influence in a products design.
It is interesting how the aesthetics of basic designs can have such an impact on people’s emotions and what they are doing. These emotions can really affect peoples perception of what they are doing.
“Just as negative affect can make some simple tasks difficult, positive affect can make some difficult tasks easier.” Norman, D. A. (2002).
The Aesthetic-usability effect can be seen in everyday products and how the fit in to a consumer world. Hear are three cases where the aesthetic design of a product makes it stand out from a rival product
• ipod V other brand MP3 Player: The ipod is the dominant portabl music device in the world. Yet despite the immense popularity it performs the same function as any other portabl music device. That is you can plug you head phone into and list to music files that are stored on it while you are out and about. Where the ipod is different is in its design, more importantly the aesthetics in its design. The ipod has very few buttons and controls along with a good appearance. Some of the rival Mp3 players have more functions and their appearances vary. It is these differences that make people buy and ipod over their rivals.
• Jaguar X-Type V Ford Mondeo: On the surface these two cars are very different. One is a sleek and prestigious luxury car (the Jaguar), while the other is a plain and humble family car for the middle classes (the Ford). Yet if most people had the choice of the two cars they would prefer to have the Jaguar. Despite the cars doing the same thing. That is they have four doors, carry five people, and have a boot for storage. What separates the two is how the look and are perceived. The Jaguar has a very stylish design and the interior is trimmed with luxuries like leather and a walnut dashboard. The Ford is a simple (and in someway boring design) with cloth seat and a plastic dashboard. It is these differences in the Aesthetics that make the Jaguar stand out over the Ford.
• Facebook V Myspace: These are two very well know social networking websites. Despite doing the same thing facebook is used by more people than Myspace. Why? It is all down to the aesthetic design of their layout. Facebook uses just two colours (blue and white) and has the main information contained one page for people’s profile. Myspace’s layout is not as asethically pleasing as facebook and as a result more people use facebook.
Module 3 References
Boulton, M. (2005, March 6) Aestgetic-usablity effect Retrieved from:
Norman, D. A. (2002). Emotion and design: Attractive things work better. Retrieved from:
Lidwell, W., Holden, K., & Butler, J. (2003). Aesthetic‐Usability Effect. In Universal Principles of Design (pp. 18‐19). Massachusetts: Rockport.
Ulrich, K., Eppinger, S. (1995) Product Design and Development. New Yorok: McGraw Hill
Cushman, W, (1991) Human Factors is Product Design. Amsterdam: Elsevier