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Usability is more important that aesthetics in the long run

The October 2005 newsletter from HFI is a discussion of how beauty can influence users' overall impression of a product and how to measure the product-emotion relationship.

The newsletter mentions a study by M. Hassenzahl where a MP3 application was evaluated with a variety of different visual designs. They study showed that:
- When participants only looked at the MP3 player, the overall rating of the product was based on its perceived beauty and anticipated usability
- When participants were allowed to use the player, the overall rating of the product was more influenced by participants' experience of using the product

The study suggests that the emotional aspects of a design are important in attracting customers in the first place. However, when the product is judged through usage over time, usability is what matters most.

Links:

  • Is Beauty the new usability attribute? Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - November 16, 2005

See also: Emotional design (10)  Visual design (19)  Usability testing (68)  Research (129) 

 

COMMENTS

Aesthetics vs. usability is a false dichotomy. In the end, we're talking about problem solving. Problems are often more complex than just getting from A to B. We solve our problems through design and design isn't art, it is problem solving.

Aesthetics is just part of the toolkit. Same with usability. If credibility and trust are part of my problem space, aesthetics may be just the tool I need. Good design means good usability - by definition. Aesthetics, in the context of design, is all about usability.

They are both sides of a coin.

Jon Wiley | November 16, 2005

 

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