The Power of Design

by Jonathan F

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The article talked about research done by the Chalmers University of Technology in which they performed an experiment using two different Web sites that varied in graphical content, text content, color scheme, and layout. The experiment used 20 different users that would view the Wed sites and evaluate the perceived usability, perceived expression, and emotional responses they got from the Web sites. The article stated that most web developers in the past were only really concerned about the Web sites performance and efficiency and were not really concerned about how the user of the Web site viewed products after the interface of using the Web site.  It began to change after designers began to see that a positive Web experience can give a company a competitive edge over competitor especially if a Web page created a positive emotional experience in customers visiting their Web site. Visual aesthetics became a big part of Web sites because it created in the user of the site the idea that if a Web site’s interface was easy and visual appearance was easy on the eyes, then maybe the products sold by that particular company would easy and useful.  The experiment was done just to prove this fact that aesthetics made the difference in user experience. The experiment was done using 10 men and 10 women with ages ranging from 20 to 50 years old. The two websites that were used were: www.santamaria.se and www.hansen.se, which were used because of their huge differences. The test subjects were given three different questionnaires for each area tested.  In the expression questionnaire the subjects were asked to write down different words that would explain what they thought the Wed designer was try to express throughout the Web site from a list of words like childishness, sophistication, or professionalism. The other two questionnaire were just on a scale of 1 through 5 measuring their like and dislike. The study found that although the websites were different, there were things within the Web sites that user found made them like their experience using both Web sites. The Web sites had a consistent layout for all pages which made usability better. There was a constant color structure in the Web pages and what made them even more useful were the links and menus. The subjects felt the emotion of harmony from viewing the sites because all the images were the same sizes and the Web pages stuck to the same color scheme. The study found that a logical layout made both of the Web Sites express professionalism and usefulness. It found that red color with black produced a more provoking feeling. The study found that the emotional responses were based on the usability of the Web sites.

The article is related to our class because since we are developing our own Web site it can show us what is important to a viewer. What I learned from this article is that the more vibrant and colorful a website looks the more youthful it might be, but it’s the traditional Web site look that will withstand the test of time because it will appeal to a broader audience , even though it might seem outdated.

I have been developing my Web site and have used layouts and color schemes that have appealed to my own taste, but I must use more traditional color schemes and layouts, so that it would appeal to a broader audience. Also I must make my Web site user friendly so that users develop a sense of harmony when using my site.

Karlsson, M.(Mar2007) Expressions, emotions, and website design .CoDesign. Vol. 3, p75-89, 15p; DOI: 10.1080/15710880701376802 Retrieved November 4, 2011 from:  http://0-web.ebscohost.com.opac.library.csupomona.edu/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=4&hid=127&sid=63cf1fc8-ffbf-4931-84f0-6bfd96125e91%40sessionmgr113