Learning Portfolio 1, Item 1, Q2

2013 Smartphones
One of the reasons smart phones, and mobile phones in particular, have become so popular, is that these phones simplify tasks into an object that fits in the palm of one’s hand. All the technological necessities are accessible anywhere and at anytime, as these phones are built and designed to go everywhere with its user. These phones also provide strong relationships with the user, and these devices are so prominent due to the trust and loyalty involved. People also foster specific designs that tailor society, such as Apple and Android, where one user feels a sense of a belonging while using one brand over another.

First person shooters, or FPS video games, are predominantly consistent through different titles and brands due to the genre and its conventions. Changes to the physical appearance change between various titles and games, although the design of the genre constitutes similar modes, plots, tactics and strategies regardless of the game. A frequent player of FPS video games can pick up a new game, and although the game would be different aesthetically, the design itself creates similar usability. This somewhat opposes the argument of the reading, as these games are very popular between players, and many of these games are played through the usability provided by the general design.

Cartoons are one of the best examples for aesthetic design, and they create usability through the interaction and engagement from its audience. Cartoon characters are specifically designed from people for the people, possessing similar and likely traits that the audience understands and are familiar with. The Simpsons, for example, is host to a multitude of vastly aesthetic characters, designed to look and sound relatable, enabling each audience member to engage with the cartoon in differing ways. The colour that is prominently used by cartoons also provide a large aesthetic factor that creates interest within the audience.

Reference List

Aziz, H. (2012). Yemen—Street-fight [image]. Retrieved from http://bulk.destructoid.com/ul/232613-black-ops-ii-reinvents-the-multiplayer-experience/Yemen—Street-fight 620x.jpg
Universal Studios Hollywood. (2011). Simpsons [image]. Retrieved from http://www.universalstudioshollywood.com/site-content/uploads/2012/01/simpsons_961x421.jpg
Williams, S. (2013). Smartphones [image]. Retrieved from http://techfruit.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/2013-smartphones.jpg

Learning Portfolio Item 1 – Q1

Aesthetic-Usability Effect, a section written by William Lidwell, Kritina Holden and Jill Butler and featured in Universal Principles of Design (2003), analyses the ways in which aesthetic designs are used more often than less aesthetic designs. A comparison is made between aesthetic designs and “human attractiveness” (Lidwell, Holden & Butler, 2003, p. 18), where first impressions impact perceptions made and gathered.

This article argues that the way the design looks is specifically important in how it is used. Designs evoke positive feelings from the user that allow them to connect and engage with it.

In relation to design usability, video games are a key factor, where it comes down to the design to engage the player. Adams (2013) states that players engage with the game as long as it does not strain their memory and their view on the game, that is to not bombard the player with unnecessary on-screen information.

Similar findings are reported by Tractinsky, Katz, and Ikar (2000) who details similar discoveries of aesthetic usability, and states the correlation between perception of aesthetics and perception of usability. This was achieved through testing of an ATM, where studies had shown that usability of the machine was due to the perception of its aesthetics, and not from its usability itself.

More evidence to support this was concluded in a 2005 study of twelve Master’s degree students, who discovered that although aesthetic design may not work as well as an unattractive design, it is perceived to work better (Chawda et al., 2005).

Attractive aesthetic design not only seems to work better, but users interacting with the design also base credibility of the creator on it, where a design not only resembles the creator’s input, but the design also generates subconscious emotion and feeling (David & Glore, 2010).

Aesthetic design is more than something that users see. This is a general theme to the article and is backed up by many studies, but it is also representative within our own lives, where we as humans live around aesthetics everyday, and judge and generate feelings accordingly.

Reference List
Chawda, B., Craft, B., Cairns, P., Ruger, S., Heesch, D., (2005). Do “attractive things work better”? An exploration of
          search tool visualisations. Retrieved from
David, A., Glore, P., (2010). The impact of design and aesthetics on usability, credibility, and learning in an online
Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration, (13, 4).
Lidwell, W., Holden, K., Butler, J., (2003). Aesthetic-Usability Effect. Universal Principles of Design (pp. 18-19).
          Massachusetts: Rockport.
Tractinsky, N., Katz, A. S., Ikar, D., (2000). What is beautiful is usable (pp. 127-145). Amsterdam: Elsevier.