Welcome to the world of the aesthetic-usability effect – a simple yet powerful concept that influences how users experience digital technology. Here’s the deal: good-looking things often appear easier to use. In this article, we will investigate why this matters, and how you can leverage it to up your game when building apps and websites that people will actually enjoy using.
Evolution in design thinking: aesthetic-usability through the years
The aesthetic-usability effect is a straightforward concept that highlights the tendency for visually appealing designs to be perceived as more user-friendly. In essence, if something looks good, it’s often assumed to be easy to use—a principle integral to user experience (UX) design.
The roots of this concept trace back to the 1990s, when researchers Masaaki Kurosu and Kaori Kashimura from the Hitachi Design Centre observed a consistent user preference for products that seamlessly blended aesthetic appeal with functional efficiency.
This realisation marked a paradigm shift in design thinking, acknowledging that aesthetics play a crucial role in shaping perceptions of usability.
Since then, the aesthetic-usability effect has evolved into a foundational principle in UX design. Its enduring relevance underscores the significance of considering both form and function when crafting digital experiences.
As technology advances, this principle remains a guiding force, emphasising the ongoing importance of creating products that are not just operationally efficient but also visually engaging for users.