Consistency : Week 2 – Question 1

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

Article Reference: Lidwell, W., Holden, K., & Butler, J. (2003). Aesthetic‐Usability Effect. In Universal Principles of  Design (pp. 46). Massachusetts: Rockport.


The usability of a product, good, or service is enhanced when utilising consistency within design, therefore allowing consumers a level of familiarity that increases user confidence and learnability. Lidwell, Holden & Butler (2003) state “systems are more usable and learnable when similar parts are expressed in similar ways” alluding to the idea that by applying aesthetic, function, internal and external consistency in similar ways these methods then increase consumer trust, whilst providing a sense of reliability to the user. Similarly Cai & Xu (2011) argue to the importance of aesthetics within web design whilst also noting the role of recognition in creating a positive user experience. This occurs through consistency in the design, internal and external consistency play a vital role, particularly in web design in reinforcing user recognition of page functions from one website to another. Wang, Hong & Lou (2010) studied the effects and role of aesthetics within web design concluding the usability of a site has a positive effect on the consumer’s intent to purchase a product. It is important to note the usability of a site is dependent on the four forms of consistency, for example brand association occurs due to aesthetic consistency whilst functionality of a site ensures the consumers ease of use. Internal and External consistency co exist to ensure user understanding is increased despite occurring across multiple platforms and contexts. Interestingly Montella & Imbriani (2015) discuss safety of road users in correlation to design consistency, and the importance of design consistency. Montella & Imbriani (2015) argue that consistency is the key design element responsible for safety on roads and warn as to the outcomes that inconsistencies in design may cause. Thus it can be understood that the usability of design is increased when similar displays are used across varying platforms, no matter if it is a web page, mobile phone or a car it is beneficial for the user if designs are produced using continuity. The user can then effectively apply existing knowledge to new products, services or situations allowing a sense of reliability, understanding and a sense of ‘know-how’.


Cai, S., & Xu, Y. (2011). Designing not just for pleasure: Effects of web site aesthetics on consumer shopping value.International Journal of Electronic Commerce, 15(4), 159-188. doi:10.2753/JEC1086-4415150405

Montella, A., & Imbriani, L. L. (2015). Safety performance functions incorporating design consistency variables. Accident Analysis & Prevention, 74, 133-144. doi:10.1016/j.aap.2014.10.019

Lidwell, W., Holden, K., & Butler, J. (2003). Aesthetic‐Usability Effect. In Universal Principles of  Design (pp. 46). Massachusetts: Rockport.

Wang, Y. J., Hong, S., & Lou, H. (2010). BEAUTIFUL BEYOND USEFUL? THE ROLE OF WEB AESTHETICS. The Journal of Computer Information Systems, 50(3), 121-129. Retrieved from



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s