Aesthetic appeal versus usability: implications for user satisfaction


Lindgaard, Gitte; Dudek, Cathy


People judge incoming sensory stimuli immediately by how pleasant or unpleasant these 'feel'. When judging a web site seen for the first time, this judgment is based on visual appearance. At the same time, people tend to be reluctant to revise a judgment once it is made, resulting in a so-called confirmation bias. In this study we investigated the existence and the robustness of this bias by requiring subjects to complete a usability test containing serious usability problems after exploring a high- or a low-usability site. Both sites were high in aesthetic appeal. Results suggest that subjects are sensitive to different levels of usability and that they do revise their original satisfaction judgment after completing the test. They also suggest that aesthetics is judged independently of usability.

Publication year


Publication type

Conference paper


Design for the whole person: integrating physical, cognitive and social aspects, the 2002 Human Factors Conference (HF 2002), Melbourne, Australia, 25-27 November 2002 / Frank Vetere, Lorraine Jonston and Ros Kushinsky (eds.)


Swinburne University of Technology


Copyright © 2002 Ergonomic Society of Australia Inc., CHISIG and individual authors.