The influence of design aesthetics in usability testing: effects on user performance and perceived usability

Appl Ergon. 2010 May;41(3):403-10. doi: 10.1016/j.apergo.2009.09.002. Epub 2009 Nov 4.


This article examined the effects of product aesthetics on several outcome variables in usability tests. Employing a computer simulation of a mobile phone, 60 adolescents (14-17 yrs) were asked to complete a number of typical tasks of mobile phone users. Two functionally identical mobile phones were manipulated with regard to their visual appearance (highly appealing vs not appealing) to determine the influence of appearance on perceived usability, performance measures and perceived attractiveness. The results showed that participants using the highly appealing phone rated their appliance as being more usable than participants operating the unappealing model. Furthermore, the visual appearance of the phone had a positive effect on performance, leading to reduced task completion times for the attractive model. The study discusses the implications for the use of adolescents in ergonomic research.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Cell Phone / instrumentation*
  • Consumer Behavior*
  • Ergonomics*
  • Esthetics*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Switzerland