Visual design = aesthetics??

27 Apr 2004 - 4:27pm
10 years ago
10 replies
590 reads
Elizabeth Buie
2004

Todd Warfel writes:

"Personally, while some usability professionals don't see visual design
(aesthetics) to be important, or as important, I think it most definitely
is."

Todd, are you equating visual design with aesthetics, are you saying that
some usability professionals equate them, or are you saying that aesthetics
is a component of visual design.

I would agree that it is a component. I see visual design as much more
than aesthetics, however. To me, visual design can provide a gestalt that
is as valuable for the cognitive factors as for the aesthetics.

Elizabeth

--
Elizabeth Buie
Computer Sciences Corporation
Rockville, Maryland, USA
+1.301.921.3326

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Comments

27 Apr 2004 - 5:01pm
Todd Warfel
2003

I see it as a component. However, many usability professionals see it
as equal to aesthetics.

On Apr 27, 2004, at 5:27 PM, Elizabeth Buie wrote:

> Todd, are you equating visual design with aesthetics, are you saying
> that
> some usability professionals equate them, or are you saying that
> aesthetics
> is a component of visual design.

Cheers!

Todd R. Warfel
User Experience Architect
MessageFirst | making products easier to use
--------------------------------------
Contact Info
voice: (607) 339-9640
email: twarfel at messagefirst.com
web: www.messagefirst.com
aim: twarfel at mac.com
--------------------------------------
In theory, theory and practice are the same.
In practice, they are not.
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27 Apr 2004 - 5:10pm
Elizabeth Buie
2004

Then we see it the same way, Todd. But I don't know many UPs who would
equate visual design with aesthetics. Could you say more about where your
impression comes from?

Elizabeth
--
Elizabeth Buie
Computer Sciences Corporation
Rockville, Maryland, USA
+1.301.921.3326

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This is a PRIVATE message. If you are not the intended recipient, please
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"Todd R. Warfel"
<lists To: Elizabeth Buie/CIV/CSC at CSC
@mk27.com> cc: discuss at interactiondesigners.com
Subject: Re: [ID Discuss] Visual design = aesthetics??
04/27/04 18:01

I see it as a component. However, many usability professionals see it
as equal to aesthetics.

On Apr 27, 2004, at 5:27 PM, Elizabeth Buie wrote:

> Todd, are you equating visual design with aesthetics, are you saying
> that
> some usability professionals equate them, or are you saying that
> aesthetics
> is a component of visual design.

Cheers!

Todd R. Warfel
User Experience Architect
MessageFirst | making products easier to use
--------------------------------------
Contact Info
voice: (607) 339-9640
email: twarfel at messagefirst.com
web: www.messagefirst.com
aim: twarfel at mac.com
--------------------------------------
In theory, theory and practice are the same.
In practice, they are not.

27 Apr 2004 - 5:07pm
whitneyq
2010

At 06:01 PM 4/27/2004 -0400, Todd R.Warfel wrote:
>However, many usability professionals see it

Some perhaps, but hardly all.

Any more than "many graphic artists care little about readability of text"
or any of the other, many, stereotypes that we could all fling at each
other. Aren't we a bit beyond that?

Whitney Quesenbery
Whitney Interactive Design, LLC
w. www.WQusability.com
e. whitneyq at wqusability.com
p. 908-638-5467

UPA - www.usabilityprofessionals.org
STC Usability SIG: www.stcsig.org/usability

27 Apr 2004 - 5:25pm
Todd Warfel
2003

On Apr 27, 2004, at 6:07 PM, Whitney Quesenbery wrote:

> Some perhaps, but hardly all.

I never said all. I said many. I would argue that it's more than some,
but obviously less than all. Which is precisely why I said many.

And my impressions come from:
* the dozen or so usability books on my shelf authored by many of the
(perceived) industry leaders
* regular reading of interviews with these professionals
* regular reading of published materials from these professionals
* conversations I've had with several of these professionals over the
years
* presentations I've witnessed from these professionals over the years
* the focus at many of some of the industry's most well-known usability
conferences (where's visual design?)

I'm not saying it's how I think it should be, just how it is. As a
member of UPA I'd love to see more balance between traditional
usability and the recognition/appreciation of visual design as a
component of overall usability.

I'm also not saying it doesn't exist, as I know it does. It's just not
as prominent as I think it needs to be. Right now, I just don't see it.
Perhaps we can do something to change that? Talking about it is a
start, but I'm looking for more.

Cheers!

Todd R. Warfel
User Experience Architect
MessageFirst | making products easier to use
--------------------------------------
Contact Info
voice: (607) 339-9640
email: twarfel at messagefirst.com
web: www.messagefirst.com
aim: twarfel at mac.com
--------------------------------------
In theory, theory and practice are the same.
In practice, they are not.

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28 Apr 2004 - 5:19am
pabini
2004

Hi Elizabeth

Elizabeth Buie wrote:
I see visual design as much more
> than aesthetics, however. To me, visual design can provide a gestalt that
> is as valuable for the cognitive factors as for the aesthetics.

I can see now that you and I are saying very much the same thing. :-)

Pabini Gabriel-Petit

28 Apr 2004 - 5:41am
pabini
2004

Hi Todd

Todd Warfel wrote:
I see [aesthetics] as a component. However, many usability professionals see [visual design] as equal to aesthetics.

Did I interpret your "its" correctly? If what you say is true, I think that's a sad commentary on usability professionals. So many principles and guidelines of visual design are all about usability. Many of them came from print media. Visual design fosters scanability, readability, and legibility, and communicates the structure of information.

Pabini
________________________________________

Pabini Gabriel-Petit
Principal & User Experience Architect
Spirit Softworks
www.spiritsoftworks.com
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28 Apr 2004 - 6:03am
pabini
2004

Todd wrote:
And my impressions come from:
* the dozen or so usability books on my shelf authored by many of the (perceived) industry leaders
* regular reading of interviews with these professionals
* regular reading of published materials from these professionals
* conversations I've had with several of these professionals over the years
* presentations I've witnessed from these professionals over the years
* the focus at many of some of the industry's most well-known usability conferences (where's visual design?)

I must admit that many of the foremost experts in our field have appallingly bad-looking Web sites.

Pabini
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28 Apr 2004 - 7:55am
Elizabeth Buie
2004

Todd Warfel writes:

<<<And my impressions come from:
* the dozen or so usability books on my shelf authored by many of the
(perceived) industry leaders
* regular reading of interviews with these professionals
* regular reading of published materials from these professionals
* conversations I've had with several of these professionals over the
years
* presentations I've witnessed from these professionals over the years
* the focus at many of some of the industry's most well-known usability
conferences (where's visual design?)>>>

Specifics please. I have read much of the same material, plus other
material that you probably have not, and I do not have the same impression
that you do. I'd like to know what specific statements give you the
impression they think visual design is nothing but aesthetics.

Elizabeth

--
Elizabeth Buie
Computer Sciences Corporation
Rockville, Maryland
301.921.3326

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This is a PRIVATE message. If you are not the intended recipient, please
delete without copying and kindly advise us by e-mail of the mistake in
delivery. NOTE: Regardless of content, this e-mail shall not operate to
bind CSC to any order or other contract unless pursuant to explicit written
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28 Apr 2004 - 9:06am
Todd Warfel
2003

On Apr 28, 2004, at 8:55 AM, Elizabeth Buie wrote:

> Specifics please. I have read much of the same material, plus other
> material that you probably have not, and I do not have the same
> impression
> that you do. I'd like to know what specific statements give you the
> impression they think visual design is nothing but aesthetics.

Not to be rude, but I don't recall stating "visual design is nothing
but aesthetics." I said than many see visual design as equal to
aesthetics, which is not the same thing. Many of the perceived leaders,
albeit self-proclaimed, tend to value usability over visual design. And
it's no wonder, as that is where their focus is. From my perspective,
visual design is a component of usability, or at least factors into the
usability equation. And I know I'm not alone here.

All those who consider themselves usability professionals and think
visual design is a component of the overall usability equation, raise
your hands. There. See? Not alone ;).

While I won't name names, not because I'm backing down from my
statement, but because 1) I don't think I it's necessary to name names
and 2) I don't get into finger pointing and the blame game, I will say
that we need more outspoken professionals in the usability field who
feel and express that visual design does impact usability either
positively or negatively. There are several I know who do feel this
way. However, sadly it seems that the current situation is that many of
the most outspoken have guidelines that don't focus on, or value visual
design. I think that needs to change.

As Molly pointed out, Norman is coming around and I think it's high
time the rest of the field did as well.

Cheers!

Todd R. Warfel
User Experience Architect
MessageFirst | making products easier to use
--------------------------------------
Contact Info
voice: (607) 339-9640
email: twarfel at messagefirst.com
web: www.messagefirst.com
aim: twarfel at mac.com
--------------------------------------
In theory, theory and practice are the same.
In practice, they are not.

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28 Apr 2004 - 9:30am
Elizabeth Buie
2004

Todd Warfel writes:

<<Not to be rude, but I don't recall stating "visual design is nothing
but aesthetics." I said than many see visual design as equal to
aesthetics, which is not the same thing.>>

Then please explain to me how the statements are different. If visual
design is equal to aesthetics, then it is nothing more and nothing less.

Maybe you mean they see it as equal in importance, and I might agree with
that (I'll have to think on it a while before deciding).

But that's not what you said. Your original comment included "visual
design (aesthetics)" as if (according to UPs) aesthetics were the
definition of visual design, i.e., as if they were the same thing. Which
makes "nothing but" an appropriate interpretation.

Elizabeth

--
Elizabeth Buie
Computer Sciences Corporation
Rockville, Maryland
301.921.3326

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This is a PRIVATE message. If you are not the intended recipient, please
delete without copying and kindly advise us by e-mail of the mistake in
delivery. NOTE: Regardless of content, this e-mail shall not operate to
bind CSC to any order or other contract unless pursuant to explicit written
agreement or government initiative expressly permitting the use of e-mail
for such purpose.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"Todd R. Warfel"
<lists To: Elizabeth Buie/CIV/CSC at CSC
@mk27.com> cc: Interaction Designers <discuss at interactiondesigners.com>
Subject: Re: [ID Discuss] Visual design = aesthetics??
04/28/04 10:06

On Apr 28, 2004, at 8:55 AM, Elizabeth Buie wrote:

> Specifics please. I have read much of the same material, plus other
> material that you probably have not, and I do not have the same
> impression
> that you do. I'd like to know what specific statements give you the
> impression they think visual design is nothing but aesthetics.

Not to be rude, but I don't recall stating "visual design is nothing
but aesthetics." I said than many see visual design as equal to
aesthetics, which is not the same thing. Many of the perceived leaders,
albeit self-proclaimed, tend to value usability over visual design. And
it's no wonder, as that is where their focus is. From my perspective,
visual design is a component of usability, or at least factors into the
usability equation. And I know I'm not alone here.

All those who consider themselves usability professionals and think
visual design is a component of the overall usability equation, raise
your hands. There. See? Not alone ;).

While I won't name names, not because I'm backing down from my
statement, but because 1) I don't think I it's necessary to name names
and 2) I don't get into finger pointing and the blame game, I will say
that we need more outspoken professionals in the usability field who
feel and express that visual design does impact usability either
positively or negatively. There are several I know who do feel this
way. However, sadly it seems that the current situation is that many of
the most outspoken have guidelines that don't focus on, or value visual
design. I think that needs to change.

As Molly pointed out, Norman is coming around and I think it's high
time the rest of the field did as well.

Cheers!

Todd R. Warfel
User Experience Architect
MessageFirst | making products easier to use
--------------------------------------
Contact Info
voice: (607) 339-9640
email: twarfel at messagefirst.com
web: www.messagefirst.com
aim: twarfel at mac.com
--------------------------------------
In theory, theory and practice are the same.
In practice, they are not.

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