“User’s impressions of a Web site—about usefulness, ease-of-use, and how enjoyable the experience is—are formed by the Web site’s visual design”
(The above sentence is from the referred article and below is my insights on this and analysis of couple of websites – walmart.com and walgreens.com)
I liked the article, the way it hits the major points providing valid examples and analogies. The quote which I would like expand on is really the crux of the article which essentially means that a web-site’s visual design and thus aesthetic quality has an important role in influencing user’s perceived ease of use. Every human being has his/her perception about how useful a web-site might be based on his own aesthetic sense. Again, the topic is valid only if we assume that the aesthetic quality that the web-site brings out is sufficient enough to create perceived usefulness in the minds of majority of users, since every user’s aesthetic sense is different. So, I would say that the analogy would be true if the visual design is capable of invoking similar aesthetic appeal to majority of users, so that the web-site creates effective user experience.
I personally like light-medium blue color, so here goes my aesthetic sense. Looking at the three web-sites, walmart.com and walgreens.com found to be more appealing, visually. I didn’t like the orange color on the home depot web-site. So, usage of color was the primary reason for my perceived ease of use.
Again, when I look at walmart.com and walgreens.com, I find wallgreens.com to be most appealing since the web-site’s blue tint projects out due to the perfect light background and almost stable site borders. Another reason that aroused my aesthetic sense is the combination of dark and light blue color for the top menu bar, which is where my vision falls on and compels me to concentrate. I like the way they separated out the items category into a bunch of two rows, which prevents me from getting distracted reading lengthy menu bar.
The web-site logo is prominently placed and its brand name helps to create perceived quality of service. The images of actual pharmacy and the employees creates trustworthiness and enforces feeling at home. The navigation system is well designed to allow easy traverse through various content categories and is fixed throughout the pages. The content is organized so that it covers all in-store departments (Pharmacy, Photo and other departments) and is visible always through the visually appealing navigation bar. The user registration section, the shopping cart and the search are other sections of the web-site which explains themselves at a glance, thus leading to easy usage of those features.
Hilhorst D.P. (April 2004). The Designer Is Dead, Long Live The Designer!. Retrieved from http://www.digital-web.com/articles/the_designer_is_dead/ on May, 2008.