LP1/Q2 – Examples

Aesthetic usability can be found everywhere. Here are three examples which meet the principle of aesthetic – usability effect: Japanese chopsticks, iphone, and computer USB.



Firstly, Japanese chopsticks are one example of a product which design is considered well besides its usability. Even though that only it’s only a tool for food, people decorate them to look cute, so there are numbers of variations of chopsticks. Moreover, chopsticks functions as personal identity, according to their design, which is a common idea in Japan. It is a typical image that a father uses big – black chopsticks, a mother uses long – thin one and children use tiny- cute one at a Japanese dining table. Design of chopsticks was soothing to do with the character of each family: a father is strong, a mother is kind, and children are cheerful. Thus, people feel more attraction to their own chopsticks. Therefore, the design of chopsticks has great meaning for itself.


Secondly, the iPhone is another example of the aesthetic – usability effect principle. The iPhone is not the most technologically advanced, nor the cheapest smart phone available on the market, however, due to a design focused on aesthetics; it prevails as the most common phone all over the world. Even though all the iPhone series meets the function as a phone like sending email, catching a phone call, the innovative design attracts users, and this is why many people buy the latest type even though they already use previous type of the iPhones. Thus, it can be said that iPhone has a strong aesthetic usability effect.

USB characters virsion

The last example of aesthetic – usability effect principal is a computer USB. USB is used to store information inside and mobile it everywhere. Thus, a simple design – a long thin rectangle is most suitable for this product. However, various designs of USB, such as fruits, animals, characters are manufactured these days. This leads to the stress less situation even when there is something wrong with USB, because users feel strong attraction to their products compared to normal types. Therefore, the aesthetic usability effect is met with the design on USB.

[Untitled photograph of chopsticks]. Retrieved October 26, 2014, from:

[Untitled photograph of iphone6]. Retrieved October 26, 2014, from:

[Untitled photograph of USB]. Retrieved October 26, 2014, from: http://blogs.yahoo.co.jp/kore_wan/GALLERY/show_image_v2.html?id=http%3A%2F%2Fblogs.c.yimg.jp%2Fres%2Fblog-1b-af%2Fkore_wan%2Ffolder%2F99316%2F82%2F59195482%2Fimg_0%3F1245911307&i=1


LP1 /Q1 – Summary

It is vital for all designers think about the attractive design of the product, because it is as important for the usability of the product. The aesthetic usability effect is defined as ‘a phenomenon in which people perceive more- aesthetic designs as easier to use than less- aesthetic designs – whether they are or not’ (Lidwell, Holden & Butler, 2003). This means that appearance of a product has greater effect than the usability of the product with the use of the product. There are two types of aesthetic usability effect: positive first impression and effective problem solution.

First aesthetic usability effect is a positive first impression. People decide the usefulness of the product according to not the actual use, but the design. Good appearance of the product gives the impression of easy to use, and users tend to have a positive attitude toward it, even when they have to deal with some problems. On the contrary, bad looks of the product are hard to accept and users remain problems. Norman (2013, p. 51) also claims that appearance drives the response, and this is nothing related to the usability of the product. Also, users tend to be affected by aesthetic aspects of the interface even though they try to see the functionality of the interface (Kurosu & Kahimura, 1995). This suggests that aesthetic usability strongly effects on the user’s minds.

Second aesthetic usability effect is effective problem solving. Aesthetic design of product leads to positive feeling toward design and product itself, such as affection, loyalty, and patience. These emotions are effective when users have to deal with the problem of product because they help user’s creative thinking. Laura (2013) also points out those users tend to feel more sympathy to faults when a product is well designed. Moreover, this is remarkably important in the situation which users are stressed, because negative pressure on mental interferes critical analysis need for problem solution. Norman (2002) states that ‘the principles of good human-centered design are especially important in stressful situations’. Thus, aesthetic usability leads to smart problem solution.

In conclusion, the aesthetic usability effect is vital because of two main effects in terms of relationship with users. It gives a positive first impression and builds a long – term relationship with them. Also, it fosters a user’s attitude toward the product, and helps dealing with problems.

Laura, (2013, November 11). The Aesthetic Usability Effect – it’s design magic! Retrieved from

Lidwell, W., Holden, K., & Butler, J. (2003). Aesthetic‐Usability Effect. In Universal Principles of Design (pp. 46). Massachusetts: Rockport.

Norman, D. A. (2002). Emotion & Design: Attractive things work better. Retrieved from

Norman, D. (2013). The Design of Everyday Things: Revised and Expanded Edition. Basic Books, USA.