Aesthetics User Experience (UX) topic overview/definition


Aesthetics: Concept Definition

Aesthetics is the philosophical study of beauty and taste. The term stems from the Greek word “aisthetikos,” meaning “of sense perception,” and is related to the study of sensory values. In design, aesthetics refers to the visual attractiveness of a product. Studies have proven that creating good aesthetics in a product leads to better usability and user experience.

In the field of user experience (UX) design and interaction design, aesthetics is important because it impacts the UX of a product in several ways. Firstly, it creates an attractiveness bias, which is down to the fact that we’re drawn to beautiful things. When users visit a website, or try a new app, they make quick decisions on whether or not to continue using it. Much of that decision hinges on the aesthetic appeal of the design. Secondly, good aesthetics helps to make users more tolerant of usability issues. Studies have found that visually appealing websites are rated as more usable than they actually are, because their attractiveness elicits pleasant emotions in users. Don Norman, pioneer of UX design, has written extensively about this phenomenon in his book Emotional Design: Why We Love (or Hate) Everyday Things.

In designing with the purpose of increasing aesthetic value, one consideration in particular is essential—namely, the notion that beauty is not only objective and universal (as German philosopher of the Enlightenment period Immanuel Kant argued), but that it has a subjective side to it as well. A user’s cultural background, education, or class may influence his or her judgments of aesthetic value. Designers need to understand these aspects in order to match them with the appropriate design. Thus, as aesthetics involves multiple dimensions of a target audience’s makeup, it demands research into diverse areas relevant to a product’s distribution, including foreign market considerations.

For your convenience, we’ve collected all UX literature that deals with Aesthetics. Here’s the full list: