Home > Learning Portfolio 1 > Aesthetic-Usability Effect Examples (Item 1&2 / Q2 Examples)

Aesthetic-Usability Effect Examples (Item 1&2 / Q2 Examples)

Figure 1: Nokia 6500 Slide Mobile Phone (Source: Get Price, n.d.)

I’ll be exploring three (3) examples that use the Aesthetic-Usability Effect. Two (2) examples are discussed in Lidwell, Holden & Butler’s (2003) article on ‘Aesthetic-Usability Effect‘, firstly starting with the Nokia cellphones. The authors discuss that Nokia included more communication features with their phones after being one of the first to realize the potential these new features would have on the cellphones. Problems that would decrease the risk in sales would include having to charge the phone constantly, carry it around everywhere and the signal would drop. “Aesthetic elements like color covers and customizable rings are more than ornaments, the aesthetic elements create a positive relationship with users…”. (Lidwell, Holden & Butler, 2003)

Figure 2: TiVo, Dead or Alive (Source: The Sydney Morning Herald, 2011)

The second (2nd) example from this extract is ‘TiVo’. What is TiVo? “TiVo combines instant access and amazing control […] Enjoy being able to record, pause and rewind live TV”. (Hybrid, 2012) Simply put; the TiVo uses aesthetic design to show how advanced television recording has become, and through advertisements, shows how easy it is to use the TiVo. This is a rather significant improvement from the VCR’s recording system. Some of the improvements Lidwell, Holden & Butler (2003) discuss “TiVo is setting a new bar for recording convenience and usability. TiVo’s intelligent and automated recording features, simple navigation through attractive on-screen menus…”.

Figure 3: PC or Mac (Source: Intel Corporation, 2009)

The final example is the Mac. There’s been an everlasting debate on whether a Mac is better than a PC. Extracted from the Intel Corporation (2009) website page ‘PC vs Mac: The Big Debate’ they state the differences in components and which piece of technology is more advanced than the other. PC has been highlighted as having more flexible and better specs, as the following extract from the site explains “Most PCs have anywhere from 2GB to 8GB of RAM in laptops and desktops, while Macs usually have only 1GB to 4GB.” Mac’s however are advertised as easy-to-use machines, as stated from Kahney’s (2002) article “Apple’s design aesthetic is so strong, one college professor gets his students to design new hardware specifically for Apple”.

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Hybrid Television Services. (2012). TiVo Inc. The TiVo experience. Retrieved from http://www.mytivo.com.au/whatistivo/tivois/takingtvfurther/

Intel Corporation (2009). Intel. PC vs Mac: The Big Debate. Retrieved from http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/tech-tips-and-tricks/pc-vs-mac-the-big-debate.html

Kahney, L. (2002). Wired. Absorbing Apple’s Aesthetics. Retrieved from http://www.wired.com/gadgets/mac/commentary/cultofmac/2002/02/49920?currentPage=all

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

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