Aesthetics vs Functionality!

People tend to believe things that look attractive will also be easy to use.

The aesthetic usability effect was documented by researchers at the Hitachi design center back in the ’90s. They found a stronger correlation between the participants’ ratings of aesthetic appeal and perceived ease of use than the correlation between their ratings of aesthetic appeal and actual ease of use.

Therefore if we care about usability the most, we still need to make our design look good as we don’t want people to avoid using it just based on the appearance.

Secondly, we need to avoid falling into this illusion ourselves. The visual appearance strongly influences people’s opinions, but opinions that something was easy is not the same thing as it actually is easy.

Some of the product redesigns such as Google Glass / Microsoft Zune teams learned this the hard way after launching a new and improved redesign that they thought looked great, only to see metrics going otherwise.

Though, focusing solely on visual design, without an understanding of the underlying use case, is a recipe for failure. What we can do is to, first, define the information and feature needs, then figure out an appealing way to present those.

Consider the best aesthetically designed app you’ve used recently, we try to overlook a few friction pointers for the overall aesthetic feel. An aesthetic experience enables people to be more tolerant of small difficulties that users might come through.

What we should remember is that- Visual design is a means to an end, not the end goal itself.



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