• Wouter RamakerWouter Ramaker, 2 years ago

    In my mind a lot of people misinterpret the phrase Form Follows Function. It doesn't mean that aesthetics are inferior to functionalities. Aesthetics have a function of their own. Which can be clearly defined, but which is often forgotten. Don Norman goes into this in his essay/book 'Attractive things work better' — a recommended read. It states that the design of an object/product changes the way we think about it, what we expect from it, and the way we interact with it.

    The thing is though, that it's hard to measure the impact of aesthetics without doing extensive qualitative research over a prolonged period of time. Which means that in practice this rarely happens to the extend that it should. (See also my reply to Disillusioned with lack of user research). In my mind it's not that we don't value aesthetics anymore, but that the industry doesn't always give designers a chance to prove it's worth.

    But maybe that's ok. I think that not for every product aesthetics are the most important defining aspect. Aesthetics become important in a saturated market where you need to differentiate your product from others. And I think this is where the author is mistaken in comparing the digital design industry to advertisement, where being different from the competition is vital.

    3 points