Week 1: Aesthetic-Usability Effect

Q1: In your own words, write a summary of the article and provide critical analysis/discussion on the topic of the article 

The article discusses the Aesthetic-Usability Effect (AUE) , this is known as when users perceive more aesthetic designs as easier to use over designs that are less aesthetic. This is said to be because these aesthetic designs foster positive attitudes which in turn results in users being more patient and accepting of design flaws and harder to use interfaces. The article also discusses how creators should always aim to make aesthetic designs because of this Aesthetic-Usability effect as it will aid in building positive attitude from users towards the product.

In this critical analysis it will be discussed what elements go into creating a usable design and how this effect works through fostering a positive attitude.

The idea of the AUE was first studied back in 1995 by Masaaki Kursu and Kaori Kashimura. They discovered there was a strong correlation between ratings of aesthetic appeal and perceived ease of use than the correlation between their ratings of aesthetic appeal and actual ease of use.(Meyer, 2017)

Oliver (2002) defines four principles of webpage interface design and development:

1) usability: how easily the media item is navigated and processed.

2) visualisation: creation of visually interesting and pleasing media while avoiding potentially distracting or unnecessary features.

3) functionality: features item and how useful they are for supporting a given task.

4) accessibility: tools that help users access the site in alternative formats and increase functionality.

These are all principles that should be considered to create an aesthetic design to enhance usability.

Positivity fosters critical thinking, learning and creativity which is why aesthetic designs work so well due to the promotion of positive attitudes. Psychologist Alice Isen discovered that being happy broadens the thought process, this is because a positive attitude allows for better brainstorming and looking at multiple alternative options to issues. (Norman, 2004) By making a design aesthetically pleasing this results in a positive attitude so when users face a difficulty they can find a solution easier.

To summaries Digital Strategist Ramon Vincent went on to say, “People are much more productive when they are in a positive mind set. We can complete tasks faster, and we can achieve results more effectively. (Vincent, 2017)

Question 2:

Study 3 examples (e.g. products found in everyday surroundings) that meet the aesthetic usability effect principle. Provide a reasoned explanation for each item why they meet the design principle 

Example 1: Apple Macbook Pro


Apple’s Macbook Air fits into the Aesthetic-Usability effect for a number or reasons.

Firstly it is slim, light and has a simplistic exterior design that is not clunky and heavy. This means users can take the laptop from place to place with ease which means they’re more likely to use it.

Secondly the Macbook Air eliminated struggling to find applications, their design is having a simple task bar at the bottom on the screen to home important apps. This clean and simplistic desktop display adds to the aesthetic appeal of the laptop.




The BMW X5 fits the Aesthetic Usability Effect due to the layout of its multimedia screen. The screen is operated by a dial in which users must type out each letter through the rotation of the dial which can be tedious and time consuming. This is often overlooked due to the clean layout of the multimedia screen. It has a simplistic and attractive design that moves seamlessly. This distracts from this fidgety typing which makes it smoother to use.

BMW cars also have a higher overall aesthetic appeal compared to other car models such as Mazda or Hyandi. The cars aesthetic interior and exterior make customers believe that this car will operate better than any other cheaper brand of car. The brand BMW is known for its sleek and flowing design which in turn makes the cars seem of a higher quality and in turn operate better.


EXAMPLE 3: Twitter

Screen Shot 2017-05-24 at 11.46.41 am.png

The website Twitter is one of the largest social media platforms in the world, its success can be attributed to its aesthetic-usability. The website has a gridded layout which sections off information to make it easier for users to distinguish between text. This allows users to find and access information quickly and easily.

The site also uses blue as it’s main colour which is known for its calming and soothing properties. (McNee, 2017) This may be a deliberate choice as this would aid in calming users when technical issues arise in the site.






Question 1 References


Meyer, K. (2017). The Aesthetic-Usability Effect.   Retrieved from https://www.nngroup.com/articles/aesthetic-usability-effect/

Norman, D. A. (2004). Emotional Design: Why we love (or hate) everyday things. New York: Basic Books.

Oliver, K., 2002. Web interface design [online]. Available from: http://www.edtech.vt.edu/edtech/id/interface/ index.html

Vincent, R. (2017). The Aesthetic-Usability Effect-It’s Design Magic.   Retrieved from http://www.captovate.com.au/blog/aesthetic-usability-effect-its-design-magic


Question 2 References:

McNee, L. (2017). The Colour “blue’: Use the hidden meaning for Art & Design Retrieved from http://www.finearttips.com/2010/08/the-color-blue-use-the-hidden-meaning-for-art-design/


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