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Chapter 9. The Aesthetic Factor

Chapter 9. The Aesthetic Factor

When designing usable Web sites, designers should pay particular attention to both efficiency and the simplicity of elegance (Mullet and Sano, 1994). To ensure that the visitor has an enjoyable experience, however, there should also be the aesthetic enrichment that comes from the artist's virtuosity of expression. These requirements are not necessarily incompatible, but very often the goals of one supersede those of the other. Such situations occur when we determine that the Web site visitor's purpose and the user experience are better served by emphasizing either the experience of usable efficiency or the experience of artistic enrichment.

The question that Web designers should always have at the top of their list is how best to accommodate the requirement for balance among the emotional, aesthetic, and informational needs of Web site visitors. In the case of a Web store site, for example, is the feeling of being in an actual store important, or is it enough to state that it is a site where visitors can shop from a list of products? The experiment on the effects of enriched environments described in Chapter 3 indicates clearly that the answer depends on what the visitor wants out of visiting the Web site.


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