Visual aesthetics in computer interface design: does it matter?

Salimun, C., Purchase, H.C. and Simmons, D. (2012) Visual aesthetics in computer interface design: does it matter? In: 34th European Conference on Visual Perception, Toulouse, France, 28 Aug-1 Sept 2011,

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Abstract

When using a computer interface, how much is your performance affected by its attractiveness? We investigated this question using a visual search task which varied attractiveness systematically in two ways: (i) changing the spatial layout of target/distractor objects (classical aesthetics) and (ii) changing the perceived attractiveness of the background (expressive aesthetics). The classical aesthetics component of the stimuli was measured objectively using formulae suggested by Ngo et al (2003 Information Sciences 152 25–46), whereas the expressive aesthetics component was based on ranking of the 27 background pictures for “expressivity” in a pre-experiment. This ranking correlated well with image complexity. There were between 10 and 14 target/distractor pictures in each stimulus, and the task was to count the number of these which depicted animals (Rousselet et al, 2003 Journal of Vision 3 440–455). Response time and error data were collected from thirty-three participants. The results showed that layouts with “high” classical aesthetics (which tend to look tidy and orderly) did not support improved search performance, but backgrounds with high aesthetic expressivity led to increased search times and more errors while backgrounds with low expressivity supported improved performance. These results suggest that “attractive” computer screen backgrounds can interfere with task performance.

Item Type:Conference Proceedings
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Purchase, Dr Helen and Simmons, Dr David
Authors: Salimun, C., Purchase, H.C., and Simmons, D.
Subjects:Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Computing Science

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