Aesthetic-Usability Effect: Q2 Examples

The Aesthetic-Usability Effect, as defined by Butler, Holden & Lidwell (2003) is a concept in which more attractive things are deemed easier to use, despite the fact that they may or not be. The following are examples of this phenomenon.


  1. Facebook


Facebook is a primary example of the Aesthetic-Usability Effect. It features a basic layout and design compared to various other social networking websites. Although it looks simple and appealing, it does contain lots of bugs and glitches. Changing privacy settings and reading fine print can also be quite complex.

Yet despite these issues Facebook has managed to reel in 1 441 000 users (Number of monthly active Facebook users worldwide as of 1st quarter 2015 (in millions), 2015), proving that aesthetics and design are vital in web design. Although Facebook’s design may not be completely appealing to all users, it does feature a neutral colour scheme and basic layout, which is aimed at appealing to a wide range of visitors.


  1. Glass Fences

Glass Fence

Figure 1.


Glass fences are extremely visually appealing. They are sleek, streamlined and are not an eyesore on an otherwise aesthetically appealing environment. However they are not as efficient as traditional fencing methods, such as steal or cast iron. They are easily broken and offer no protection from possible crime or intruders. They are also not cost effective, due to the cost of replacing a broken sheet of glass and present a safety issue, as broken or damaged glass can be abrasive or cause cuts. Despite this glass fences are a popular fencing option being utilised in residential areas.


  1. iPhones


Figure 2.


iPhones are designed to be visually appealing and recognisable. The appeal in purchasing an iPhone comes not from the technical specifications, which should of the utmost importance, but from the brand itself. Users overlook functional flaws, glitches, software and technological issues because of the sleek design and accessibility. There are many phones on the market that have much better technological specifications or features that would better suit their individual needs, but consumers prefer the design and aesthetics of the iPhone to tech loaded, less appealing phones.




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

Figure 1. Glass Fence (n.d). In Mt Barker Glass [Digital Image]. Retrieved May 30, from                          

Figure 2. iPhones (n.d). In Apple Store [Digital Image]. Retrieved May 30, from                                                 

Number of monthly active Facebook users worldwide as of 1st quarter 2015 (in millions). (2015).                      2015, from                              facebook-users-worldwide/



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