Aesthetics versus Usability: What Drives our Product Choices?
DS 78: Proceedings of the 16th International conference on Engineering and Product Design Education (E&PDE14), Design Education and Human Technology Relations, University of Twente, The Netherlands, 04-05.09.2014
Editor: Erik Bohemia, Arthur Eger, Wouter Eggink, Ahmed Kovacevic, Brian Parkinson, Wessel Wits
Author: Trathen, Stephen
Institution: University of Canberra, Australia
Section: Teaching Design Education Methods
This research examined the influence of usability and aesthetic/emotive characteristics on prospective buyers’ preferences in pre-purchase product selection. Results indicate that while both characteristics are important, aesthetic/emotive factors are dominant and can counteract negative perceptions of usability-at least in regard to the products studied. This research contributes to our understanding of the relationship between a product’s usability and aesthetic factors, and how these are perceived by users at different stages of product selection. Both product design and design education could be improved through a better understanding of users’ interactions with products. How users perceive and respond to products, how their responses change over time and with varying levels of contact with the product, and ultimately how user satisfaction emerges from these processes is integral to such improvements.