To be or not to be……..Aesthetic Usability Effect

Aesthetic Usability Effect

 Week 8 – Learning Portfolio Item 1- Q1

When we go to buy a product we are often attracted by it’s design because we imagine ourselves using it, debating what looks nice and what doesn’t.  However, Lidwell explains in Lidwell, W. Holden, K. Butler, J. (2010) Universal Principles of Design (2nd Edition) Aesthetic Usability Effect (pp 20- 22) that design is used to influence use psychologically. We perceive designs that we like easier as to use because we enjoy looking at them. If we like a product then we tend to create a positive attitude towards it i.e mobile phones . The Aesthetic Usability Effect purely influences the users own personal preferences.

As customers and potential users, design appeals to use specifically. Some of us may prefer a specific design over others. This is mainly due to difference in user preferences i.e colour, size etc. This is because “Advances in our understanding of emotion affect, have implications for the science of design.” ( Norman, D. A. 2002) Our emotions such as happiness, love, hate, drive us to these products because they influence how we feel. However, as technology advances so does new trends. We always want the “New” thing and design attracts us to it. However, it means that ”  Aesthetic Design can be a more important influence on user’s preference than traditional usability” (Jacko, A. J. 2009 ) Products are being produced with less quality only to be substituted with a better design. As a result, people will like the design and perceive the product as easier to use when the quality of the product is quite low.

We develop positive attitudes towards these products. But we assume  that Usable products must be simple to use, Dillon, A. (2003. pp.18 – 29)  If the product has many buttons and looks complicated to use then we will not use it. Regardless of if the complicated design is a easier product to use. Manufacturers take advantage of  the users preferences because industries are  “More focused towards the user, usability is becoming somewhat of a given” ( Boulton, M. 2005) We are primarily influenced by what we want.


Reference List

Lidwell, W. Holden, K. Butler, J. (2010) Universal Principles of Design (2nd Edition) Aesthetic Usability Effect (pp 20 – 22) Rockport: Massachutess

Jacko, A. J (2009) Human-Computer Interaction: New Trends. Berlin , Germany: Springer Verlag

Dillon, A.(2003) Designing usable electronic text. New York, United States: Taylor and Francis inc.

Norman, D.A. (2002). Emotion and design: Attractive things work better. Interactions Magazine, ix (4), 36 – 42. Retrieved from

Boulton, M. (2005) Aesthetic – Usability Effect. Retrieved from



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