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Primer on visual design

Luke Wroblewski has written a nice primer on visual design of web pages, which condenses the core principles of functional aesthetics.

There is too little talk about visual design among interaction designers and information architects though it's an important aspect of usability. If you want to learn more, read Kevin Mullet and Darrel Sano's book Designing Visual Interfaces.


Henrik Olsen - January 28, 2003

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See also: Primers (10)  Web page design (23) 



Emotion and design:

ATTRACTIVE THINGS WORK BETTER by Don Norman provides examples of how emotion impacts on our experience (percieved or otherwise) - but of course this does need to be ballanced with usability ;-)


  • the article
  • Interview with Don Norman about emotion and affect
  • Time Pressure and Creativity: Why Time is Not on Your Side
  • Article in Interactions Magazine, ix (4), 36-42

ben hyde - August 28, 2002

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Usability vs. beauty, pleasure, and fun

First Donald Norman started talking about beauty and pleasure in design. Now Jakob Nielsen starts talking about fun. What on earth is happening to the two good old usability gurus?

For years a war has been going on between usability engineers and graphic designers, which no one has described better than Curt Cloninger: "In the usability corner, wearing the blue and purple underlined trunks, weighing in at just under 25K per gig... J-a-a-a-a-a-kob Nie-e-e-e-e-lsen." "And in the graphic design corner, wearing the greyscale trunks, weighing in at 500K per site (that's dollars, not bytes)... Kioken(oken-oken-oken)."

So is this war over? I don't think so…


  • Jakob Nielsen's article User Empowerment and the Fun Factor
  • An interview with Don Norman about the value of beauty, fun and pleasure in design
  • Curt Cloninger's article Usability Experts are from Mars, Graphic Designers are from Venus

Henrik Olsen - July 08, 2002

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Don't underestimate the power of Graphic Design

In the book, Fresh Styles for Web Designers, Curt Cloninger gives the usability community a telling-up for dismissing front-end design as mere "icing". "Yes, visitors have to be able to use your sites. But visitors should also be able to feel your sites. The web is not a database. The web is a communication medium."

I fully agree with him. If mankind didn't care about colours, pictures and layout, the world would look a bit different. Done right, Graphic Design and Interaction Design work together to enhance each other.


  • Curt Cloninger's personal Web site
  • Read reviews and buy the book at
  • Read reviews and buy the book at

Henrik Olsen - January 15, 2002

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