While no company wants to be know for selling products that are functional and unattractive, we are seeing strong evidence that aesthetics don’t affect a mobile app or web site’s perceived usability. But conversely, poor usability will negatively affect the application’s perceived allure.
In a recent study conducted by Google, they stated:
“The results showed that the beauty of the interface did not affect how users perceived the usability of the shops: Participants (or Users) were capable of distinguishing if a product was usable or not, no matter how nice it looked. However, the experiment showed that the usability of the shops influenced how users rated the products’ beauty. Participants using shops with bad usability rated the shops as less beautiful after using the shops. We showed that poor usability lead to frustration, which put the users in a bad mood and made them rate the product as less beautiful than before interacting with the shop.”
Often we see businesses acting counter to this with by placing aesthetics far ahead of usability. As they design, they often do everything to stand apart from other applications and focus too much on the surface level design factors while ignoring real usability issues that would help increase user satisfaction and repeat usage.
To counter this, we suggest users pursue design paths for mobile and web applications using aesthetic attributes such as “clean”, “tight” and “organized”. Applications generally gain traction from the ground up and add more users as positive word of mouth spreads, which means reputation is everything. The study suggests poor usability will lead to less than favorable word-of-mouth will good usability while help you see the growth you desire for your applications.