A user-friendly product attracts consumers, welcomes continued use and enhances the experience



Portfolio 2, Q. 1

Consistency within design creates a synergy within the product that enhances user-friendliness and allows for ease of application (Liddell et al., 2003, p. 46). Chen (2016, “Why Design Principles Shape Stronger Products”) reiterates the importance of design consistency, suggesting that it fulfils consumer expectations when using the product, that it creates a shared language, and that it enhances the learning experience.

Liddell, Holden and Butler (2003, p. 43) outline four types of design consistency: functional, aesthetic, external and internal.

Functional consistency exists when the design coordinates action and meaning (Liddell et al., 2003, p. 43). DiMarco (2010, ch. 2.2) illustrates how functional consistency incorporates where buttons are placed on a technology, such as the stop, pause and start button, and how online forms are designed that the consumer can navigate with ease, where the meaning of symbols and buttons are consistent, creating a more pleasant user experience.  

Aesthetic consistency relates to design image, its style and appearance (Liddell et al., 2003, p. 43). Bartuskova and Krejcar (2014, p. 241) highlights how aesthetic consistency will allow a consumer to quickly recognize a product and a brand, and elicits a desired emotion through its visual presentation. Furthermore, it creates a greater impact on a consumer’s motivation and their continued loyalty for using a product (Bartuskova and Krejcar, 2014, p. 241).

Internal consistency refers to the synergy of a system whereas external consistency points to the environment where that system operates (Liddell et al., 2003, p. 46). Tate (2012, “Investigating Cross-Channel Consistency”) illustrates the principles of internal and external consistency using the example of the Bank of America’s website. Transfers, bill pay and accounts are consistent categories on the website, delivering consistency across all channels of the organization. ATMs are a consistent feature across the banking ecosystem, delivering the same service with a consistent touch pad. Zuschlag (2010, ‘Achieving and Balancing Consistency’) cites a steam plant to illustrate external consistency. The colours of the valves remain the same throughout most steam plants. However, such consistency depends on culture, where colour symbols may change (Zuschlag, 2010).


Portfolio 2, Q. 2 (+ activity)


The magazine, the stove and the computer reflect the principles of consistency.


The magazine exhibits the aesthetic consistency in its design. The bright colours, the consistent font, the glossy images and the similar layout. The consumer can quickly identify the product and recognize its brand (Bartuskova et al., 2014, p. 241). Morrish and Bradshaw (2012, p. 163) reiterate the aesthetic consistencies of a magazine, highlighting how with each issue the cover format, the cover-line style and the typeface are consistent. However, Nice (2007, p. 47) points out that a magazine may demonstrate consistent branding internationally, but editors shape their product to the culture, reiterating the principles of internal consistency.


The stove exhibits the principles of functional consistency. The temperature settings are designed for ease of use. The arrangement of the hot plates correlate to the designated knobs, allowing the consumer to turn on their chosen hot plate without undue mental effort. The temperature gauges are consistent, giving reassurance to the consumer. The direction for turning the knobs are also consistent. The symbols are clear without the need for extra-education.  However, Spinillo and Smythe (2013, pp. 442-443) examines user guides for stoves and concludes that the guides can sometimes defy functionality with overly complicated text. However, this is not a reflection of a stove’s functionality, but the readability of the user guide.


The computer reflects the principles of internal and external consistency. The layout of the keyboard remains consistent among all systems, reflecting external consistency. The symbols and arrangement of keys remains the same. But the Acer brand shares the same opening page, reiterating its brand and sharing the same fonts and colours, highlighting the principles of internal consistency.  Shneiderman and Chimera (1995, p. 260) highlight how internal consistency for a product like a computer must rise to the expectations of the user, especially brand-driven consumers. Sage (1992, pp. 571, 572) focuses on the global requirements of a design, suggesting that narrowly focused designs inhibit such consistency. These global considerations are evident with a computer design, especially an international brand like Acer.





Bartuskova, Aneta & Krejcar, Ondrej (2014). “Design Requirements of Usability and Aesthetics for e-Learning Purposes.” pp. 235-246. Taken from Sobecki, Janusz; Boonjing & Chittayasothorn, Suphamit (eds.), Advanced Approaches to Intelligent Information and Database Systems. Switzerland: Springer International Publishing.

Chen, Jessie (2016, August 23). “Why Design Principles Shape Stronger Products.” Retrieved from

DiMarco, John (2010). Digital Design for Print and Web: An Introduction to Theory, Principles, and Techniques. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons.

Lidwell, W., Holden, K., & Butler, J. (2003). Aesthetic-Usability Effect. In Universal Principles of Design (pp. 46). Massachusetts: Rockport. 

Morrish, John & Bradshaw (2012). Magazine Editing in Print and Online. 3rd Ed. London & New York: Routledge.

Nice, Liz (2007). “Magazine Journalism: Targeting Print Publications to Reflect a Desired Audience.” Taken from Blumberg, Fran C., When East Meets West Media Research and Practice in US and China. UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing. pp. 44-65.

Sage, Andrew P. (1992). Systems Engineering. New York: John Wiley & Sons.

Shneiderman, Ben & Chimera, Richard (1995). “User Interface Consistency: An Evaluation of Original and Revised Interfaces for a Videodisk Library.” pp. 259-275. Taken Shneiderman, Ben (Ed.), Sparks of Innovation in Human-Computer Interaction. 2nd Edition. New Jersey: Ablex Publishing Corporation.

Spinillo, Carla Galvão & Smythe, Kelli C.A.S. (2013). “Beyond Comprehension: A Usability Study on User Instruction Manual for Stove.” Taken from Marcus, Aaron (ed.), Design, User Experience, and Usability: Web, Mobile and Product Design. Verlag Berlin Heidelberg: Springer.

Tate, Tyler (2012, December 21). “Investigating Cross-Channel Consistency.” UX Magazine. 926. Retrieved from

Zuschlag, Michael (2010, July 19). “Achieving and Balancing Consistency in User Interface Design.” UX Matters. Retrieved from




Aesthetic Design affects our daily lives, sometimes without us even knowing. Colours, shapes, and even fonts affect our emotions and our decisions.

Portfolio 1, Q. 1

One of the keys to aesthetic design is usability. Lidwell, Holden and Butler (2003, p. 18) argue that the first impression of a design will ultimately shape the user’s attitude toward the product. It can elicit a positive response, evoke positive emotions and create a positive relationship with the design. Lawrence and Tavakol (2010, p. 125) highlight how purchase decisions are influenced by a mixture of aesthetics, usability and purpose.  On the other hand, Norman (2002, p. 38) highlights how everyday items are not necessarily aesthetically pleasing and that usability is not necessarily linked to aesthetic stimulation. However, Norman (2002, p. 42) concludes that usability is intrinsic to the beauty and pleasure of a product.

Lidwell, Holden and Butler (2003, p. 18) highlight the role of emotions when using a product. An unaesthetic design conjures negative emotions unlike the aesthetically pleasing product that elicits positive emotions. Spillers (2004, p. 7) confirms that emotions shapes user experience.  On the other hand, Coehlo (2014, p. 187) suggests that design exceeds functioning and usability and moves into emotion. However, van Gorp and Adams (2012, p. 16) firmly plant the usability of a product with its emotional connection, arguing that emotion shapes our user experience.

Lidwell, Holden and Butler (2003, p. 18) discuss the role of first impressions of a product within user experience. A bad impression of a design will inevitably shape the consumer’s attitude toward using that product. However, Buck (1963, p. 8) reiterates that first impression are not everything. Buck (1963, p. 8) suggests that a pleasant design must be matched by long-term usability. When the first impression and the novelty had subsided, the product design must stand the test of time. On the other hand, Peak, Prybutok and Chenyan Xu (2014, p. 149) highlight how first impressions are not only momentary but long-lasting. But they also reiterate that a positive user experience solidifies the product’s value (Peak, Prybutok & Chenyan Xu, 2014, p. 149).  Usability and function are, therefore, a critical component of design (Buck, 1963, p. 8).


Portfolio 1, Q. 2 (+ activity)


The toothbrush, the toilet roll and the shampoo bottle are everyday items. But these three bathroom products highlight the interconnectedness between usability and design.

Greed (2003, pp. 215, 216) discussing the functionality of toilet rolls, highlights the importance of height, the use of a roll and its single sheet function. But its usability does not proceed its aesthetics. Groth (2006, p. 84) highlights the design benefits of embossing, suggesting “the effect can be subtle, sophisticated and eye-catching.”     

                                                   DESIGN 13

Fiore (2010, p. 4) highlights how quality is expected, but aesthetics differentiates products. The same applies to the humble toilet roll. The quality of rolls over the product range is difficult for customers to differentiate. Softness and thickness are external features that customers may observe. But the aesthetics of the packaging and design are critical.

Yang and Chen (2005, p. 235) highlight how the toothbrush design “is more elastic and good looking which are thought to be good features that attract customers.”  They highlight the “different neck shapes” and show that there is link between toothbrush elasticity and customer satisfaction (Yang and Chen, 2005, p. 235).


Michlewski (2008, p. 382) discusses the perceptions of ‘ugly’ and ‘beautiful’, suggesting that form takes precedence over function in the minds of society. Taste and preference become key ingredients to design choices (Michlewski, 2008, p. 382). This is no less true for the toothbrush. Bramston (2009, p. 109) reiterates how colour becomes the first impression for a customer and influences the purchasing choice. Interestingly, Bramston (2009, p. 109) highlights how “bright” colours have the impression of tasting good. The taste, therefore, incorporates both usability and aesthetics.

Pallidino (1972, p. 38) highlights the significance of the shampoo bottle shape. He suggests that “the graceful line of an elegantly tinted bottle is more pleasing than some of the ugly square bottles that have been, and still are, used.” (Pallidino, 1972, p. 38). But aesthetics are not the only factors in purchasing shampoo.  Its features, whether it is designed for dry hair or shiny hair, must match the aesthetics of the design.





Bramston, David (2009).  Basics Product Design 01: Idea Searching. Switzerland: AVA publishing.

 Buck, C. Hearn (1963). Problems of Product Design and Development. Oxford: Pergamon Press.

Coelho, Denis A. (2014). “Specification of Affective User Experience in Product Design.” Taken from JI, Yong Gu & Choi, Sooshin (Eds.), Advances in Affective and Pleasurable Design. USA: AHFE Conference. Pp. 185-193.

 Fiore, Ann Marie (2010). Understanding Aesthetics for the Merchandising and Design Professional. New York: Fairchild Books.

 Greed, Clara (2003). Inclusive Urban Design: Public Toilets. Oxford: Architectural Press.

 Groth, Chuck (2006). Exploring Package Design. Australia: Delmar Cengage Learning.

 Lawrence, Dave & Tavakol, Soheyla (2010). Balanced Website Design: Optimising Aesthetics, Usability and Purpose. London: Springer-Verlag.

 Lidwell, W., Holden, K., & Butler, J. (2003). Aesthetic-Usability Effect. In Universal Principles of Design (pp. 1819). Massachusetts: Rockport. 

 Michlewski, Kamil (2008). “Uncovering Design Attitude: Inside the Culture of Designers.”  Organization Studies 29(03). Los Angeles & London: Sage Publications. 373-392. DOI: 10.1177/0170840607088019

 Norman, Don (2002). “Emotion & Design: Attractive Things Work Better.” Interactions 9(4), July 2002. ACM.  Retrieved from

Palladino, Leo (1972). The Principles and Practice of Hairdressing. London & Basingstoke: The MacMIllan Press.

 Peak, Daniel A.; Prybutok, Victor R. & Chenyan Xu, Richard (2014). “A New Perspective on Visual Design with Information Systems.” Taken from Mehdi Khosrow-Pour (ed.), Inventive Approaches for Technology Integration and Information Resources Management. USA: IGA Global. Pp. 143-161.

 Spillers, Frank (2004). “Emotion as a Cognitive Artifact and the Design Implications for Products That are Perceived as Pleasurable.” Design and Emotion.  Retrieved from

 Van Gorp, Trevor & Adams, Edie (2012). Design for Emotion. USA: Morgan Kaufmann.

Yang, Z. Y. & Chen, Y. H.  (2005). “Product Customization in a Virtual Environment.” Pp. 233-238 Taken from Bártolo, Paulo Jorge (ed.), Virtual Modelling and Rapid Manufacturing: Advanced Research in Virtual and Rapid Prototyping. London: Taylor & Francis Group.