54: Aesthetics and Web Design

Classical Aesthetics are: good taste, pleasant, clean, clear, and symmetrical. It corresponds to “visual clarity.”

Expressive Aesthetics are: creative, using special effects, original, complex, and fascinating. Users perceptions of the creativity, originality, and visual richness include ornamentation, character, and theme.

Complexity without order produces confusion; order without complexity produces boredom.
Classical and Expressive Aesthetics share two qualities of landscape design –order and complexity. Order is the “lawfulness” governing the relations among the design elements. Complexity is the large number of relationships among the elements. Human preference is for landscapes that “makes sense” (i.e. is clear and legible)) and the degree where it is stimulating. Good design strives to balance their degrees given the design context.

Perceptions of aesthetics and usability are highly correlated.
Classic design is strongly connected to perceived site usability while expressive design is less so. The classical is an philosophical idea and a usability principle. Beauty is confirmed when “form follows function.”

The classical aesthetic originated from antiquity until the 18th century (Greek, Roman, etc.) These notions stress orderly and clear design. The expressive aesthetics are reflected by the designers’ creativity and originality and by the skill to break design conventions. While both classifications of aesthetics are drawn from a pool of aesthetic judgments, they are clearly distinguishable from each other. Each of the aesthetic is measured by a five-item scale:

Factor 1: Classic aesthetics

Good Taste
Pleasant design
Clear design
Clean design
Symmetric design

Factor 2: Expressive aesthetics

Creative design
Fascinating design
Use of special effects
Original design
Complex design

Factor 3: Usability

Convenient use
Easy orientation
Easy to use
Easy to navigate
Clear design

Factor 4: Pleasurable interaction (Comfort?)

Feel joyful
Feel pleasure
Feel gratified

Factor 5: Service quality

Can count on site
Site contains no mistakes
Site provides reliable information

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