Consistency Analysis (Item 1 / Q1 Summary)

October 29, 2012 Leave a comment

Lidwell, Holden & Butler (2003) briefly explain the meaning behind the systems of consistency and how they’re connected with each other in similar ways. The four (4) systems or principles of consistency are; aesthetic, functional, internal and external.

Figure 1: Yellow Light: Knowing When to Go and When to Stop (Source: Cimarron Claims Service, Inc., 2012)

Each of the principles are defined, starting with aesthetic-consistency; it’s the appearance and style that delivers an emotional attachment with an individual’s product, for example, hood ornaments on a vehicle to identify if it’s popular or not (e.g., Mercedes-Benz). Same can be said about company logos. Functional-consistency is the “meaning and action” behind consistency, an example Lidwell, Holden & Butler use, is traffic lights, how the colour ‘yellow’ indicates to a vehicle to slow-down before the traffic light shows red, meaning to ‘stop’. Internal-consistency is consistency within a system, an example the authors use is signs within a park that a consistent with each other; same with golf-course signs, guiding the individual to each hole. Finally, external-consistency is the consistent with other element in the environment, for example, alarms bring warning but for each alarm, it has a different meaning, there’s a significant difference between the alarm sound from an ‘ambulance’ than a ‘police car’.

For a better demonstration of consistency, Simon (2010) uses the example of a feature film. Aesthetic consistency is used within the feature film project; the production costs and what brand of equipment/software will better suit making the project look fantastic. Simon goes on to explain “Having such a high grade product for the narrative driver is a blessing and a curse.” He continues to weigh the pros and cons. Pro: when having a successful budget to produce the film, it will show how good the quality of the brand the director is using is. Con: Using such brand may produce obstacles for the other platforms. Another fine example is from the Australian Government (2011) and their demonstration of consistent work habits; “Consistency regarding appropriate attitude, commitment, and performance at work is important in any workplace.” One (1) example of consistency within work is using a pin-up or whiteboard in the work area for all relevant work information.

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Commonwealth of Australia. (2011). Demonstrating consistent work habits. Retrieved from

Lidwell, W., Holden, K., & Butler, J. (2003). Aesthetic-Usability Effect. In Universal Principles of Design. (p. 46).

Rossi, F., Villa-Vialaneix, N. (2011). Pattern Recognition Letters. Consistency of functional learning methods based on derivatives. (pp. 1197-1209).

Simon, J. (2010). Transmythology. Aesthetic Consistency Across Platforms. Retrieved from

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

October 19, 2012 Leave a comment

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

Intel Corporation (2009). Intel. PC vs Mac: The Big Debate. Retrieved from

Kahney, L. (2002). Wired. Absorbing Apple’s Aesthetics. Retrieved from

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

Aesthetic-Usability Effect Analysis (Item 1 / Q1 Summary)

October 18, 2012 Leave a comment

An extract from their article, Lidwell, Holden & Butler (2003) explains the effects in Aesthetic-Usability and how the general public in today’s society react to Aesthetic designs, how they present possibly difficult objects as ‘easier to use’ rather than the negatives.

A brief description extracted from Mark Boulton’s (2005) journal online describes Aesthetic-Usability Effect as “a condition whereby users perceive more aesthetically pleasing designs to be easier to use than less aesthetically pleasing designs.”

Figure 1: Computer Skills (Source: University of New South Wales, 2012)

Further into Lidwell, Holden & Butler’s extract, they go into depth with aesthetic designs and highlight how they will always be presented as easier to use, even though they are or are not easier to use in the first place. A prime example within the text “…in a study of how people use computers, researches found that early impressions influenced long-term attitudes about their quality and use.”  (Lidwell, Holden & Butler, 2003)

Aesthetics in our life-world play a crucial role in the way design is seen and used today. Here is a brief example of aesthetic-usability and its design; the ‘in-vehicle navigational display’. Lavie, Oron-Gilard & Meyer (2011) from the Department of Industrial Engineering and Management have conducted studies on the in-vehicle navigational display. The first (1st) study was on the aesthetic scale to “accommodate evaluations of map displays”. The second (2nd) study on the map displays and how much they present on-screen. So it’s with these key factors that people care for the most with in-vehicle navigational displays.

Towers (2010) has stated negatively towards the subject matter of Aesthetic-Usability with “The aesthetics of a product have far reaching consequences”. Further into her article, she explains in dot point what aesthetic design of a product can cause to the general public, like for example; a product may be ‘nicely’ presented but lacks the proper components, but because the product is more appealing, it could lead to the user having positive feelings to it, and thus could lead to a large majority giving the product positive reviews, which would increase sales.

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Boulton, M. (2005) Aesthetic-Usability Effect. Retrieved from

Lavie, T., Oron-Gilard, T., & Meyer, J. (2011). International Journal of Human-Computer Studies. Aesthetics and usability of in-vehicle navigational displays, 69(1-2). (pp. 80-99).

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

Towers, A. (2010) Usability Friction. Aesthetic Usability Effect. Retrieved from


September 19, 2012 Leave a comment

Welcome to ‘The Epicly Awesome Blog‘.

I’m Mathew Coughlin, an ECU student currently studying for a Bachelor in Creative Industries, majoring in Film & Video. This blog is made for assignment three (3) Learning Portfolio assignment in CCA1108 Communications and Digital Technology. This blog will be updated with activity entries, article analysis’s, research posts and more for the assignment.