Learning Portfolio Week 10

Question One

‘A picture speaks a thousand words’ – a statement correct when analysing aesthetics in relation to a design’s usability.  According to the function, a design changes, and so too should the aesthetics.  Aesthetic importance in design is often overlooked, and, as Lidwell, Holden and Butler (2003) assert, has a significant impact on the saleability, useability acceptance and performance of a design.

Research shows that aesthetically pleasing designs look easier to use and therefore are more widely successful. This can be pointed to the fact that these better looking designs are often less cluttered and better organised than less pleasing designs.  Better aesthetics equals better saleability regardless whether or not the product or design is functionally better. This is because most people buy with their eyes and their initial visual pleasure forms a positive attitude toward the design. A good example of how important aesthetics is can be seen in the success of the PC over the Macintosh. Tractinsky (1997) emphasizes that if computers were perceived initially as difficult to use, users were more likely to express dissatisfaction with the interface of the system after four months of use.

Clearly the importance of aesthetics should not be questioned, and as “…style develops from experience…” (Baird, McDonald, Pittman and Turnball, 1964, p.10) all designers should improve their eye for aesthetics simply by looking at the successfully sold and designed products that surround us in everyday life.


Question Two

There are many products at our disposal, being born within an age of modernity and technology. However not all of these meet the aesthetic Usability principle.


One of these that does; the nokia  ‘6300’ – a simple model that offers useful features without clutter, instead going for a simpler, more aesthetically pleasing design. Slim, the phone looks easy to use, with a large screen and clear and simple buttons.


The revered IPod; a design masterpiece in its simple aesthetics – resulting in a product that even those of the older generations can work on first go (mostly). A screen and a circular pad with a button in the centre – simple aesthetics that meet the usability principle.

DVD Player

The humble DVD player, yet another product that through its simple design has ensured maximum usability. With a slimline design the DVD player is a modern household essential that combines function and practicality.



Lidwell, W., Holden, K., & Butler, J. (2003). Aesthetic‐Usability Effect. In Universal Principles of  Design (pp. 18‐19). Massachusetts: Rockport.

 Russell N Baird, D. M. (1964). The Graphics of Communication. Orlando: Holt, Rinchart and Winston, Inc.

Tractinsky, N. (1997). Aesthetics and Apparent Usability: Empirically Assessing Cultural and Methodological Issues . Retrieved May 25, 2009, from Electronic Publications: Papers : http://www.sigchi.org/chi97/proceedings/paper/nt.htm



~ by 2gracie on June 2, 2009.

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