Aesthetic Usability Effect: Week 1 – Question 1

Q1)In your own words, write a summary of the article and provide critical analysis/discussion on the  topic of the article (300 – 350 words).

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


Aesthetic design influences the consumption of a product or good due to consumers desire to engage. Lidwell, Holden and butler (2003) state the aesthetic design influences consumer behavior in a positive or negative way. The better the aesthetic design, the greater the chance of that particular product being used or good being purchased. Norman (2002)  states “pleasure derivable from the appearance or functioning of the tool increases positive affect, broadening the creativity and increasing the tolerance for minor difficulties and blockages.” Norman’s (2002) point of view agrees with Lidwell, Holden and Butler (2003), both arguing the aesthetic appearance of a device or good influences the consumers behaviour. Another aspect known to influence negative or positive behaviour is the usability of a product design (Porat and Tractinksy, 2012). Porat and Tractinksy (2012) go on to discuss the relation of aesthetics to human behaviour, highlighting the importance of positive first impressions due to the fast and consistent consumption of design by an audience. It is important to note the relationship of aesthetics and first impressions when designing products for users and aiming to encourage a positive user experience. Cooper (1999) as cited by Ho and Siu (2012) “Argued that the majority of available technological devices made users feel inadequate and frustrated by poorly designed user interfaces.” Cooper discusses the frustration and  negative emotion a consumer may experience due to poor or unclear design of a product. It is important for this reason, despite the possibly vast ability of a product that the  design remains simple, clear and functional able for the consumers ease of use.  The design of a good is dependent on it’s use and the intended target market, Norman (2013) includes the idea that some products are involved in the creation of a persons image as a way to creating status. In this instance, the aesthetics of a product would be hugely influential upon the development of a brand and increasing its user base.  It is important for these reasons to consider aesthetic design and the impact it has upon product users. 



Ho, A. G., & Siu, Kin Wai Michael G. (2012). Emotion design, emotional design, emotionalize design: A review on their relationships from a new perspective. The Design Journal, 15(1), 9-31. doi:10.2752/175630612X13192035508462

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

Norman, D. A. (2013). The design of everyday things (1st Basic paperback;1; ed.). New York: Basic Books.

Norman, D. (2002). Emotion & design: Attractive things work better. New York: ACM. doi:10.1145/543434.543435

Porat, T., & Tractinsky, N. (2012). It’s a pleasure buying here: The effects of web-store design on consumers’ emotions and attitudes. Human-Computer Interaction, 27(3), 235-276. doi:10.1080/07370024.2011.646927



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