The revolution of mobile devices has reached an unprecedented level with the overwhelming consummation of smartphones. I will analyze how the iPhone adheres to the characteristics of aesthetic design and evaluate its effective usability factors. In contrast to the old cellular devices that were bulky and served only for calling or receiving calls, the iPhone operates almost ‘autonomously’ (2012, Shin), with its numerous usability features such as internet browsing and video sharing that stimulates a shift in cultural perspectives on technology. The device serves as an intrinsic image of the current development in communications and technology in the 21st century. Moreover, the pragmatic and attractive design of the iPhone propagates positive feelings and establishes a hedonic relationship with the consumer. The user’s perception of the iPhone is initially defined by the products’ appealing, slim and customizable design, which ‘affects people’s perceptions of apparent usability’ (Shin, 2012, p. 566). Moreover, the consumer of the iPhone is likely to interactively engage with other users, which in turn will ease the emergence of practicality and usability issues.
THE REMOTE CONTROL
The wireless aspect of the remote control positively impacts the user’s overall impression which is ‘bound to create an aesthetic experience’ (Obendorf, 2009, p. 321). Instead of the viewer having to interact with the machine itself, in this case the television, the user indulges in the comforting position of ‘instructing’ from a distance. Moreover, the light-weight and minimal design allows us to engage with the content more attentively. The usability is highly functional and practical, with easy to use buttons and functions that allow us to effectively control the volume, browsing programs and searching TV guides. It successfully creates a balance between usability and the beauty of form and design with its pleasant elements and attributes. As mentioned with the iPhone, the aesthetic characteristics involve the user in its functionality which contributes to the dissemination of creative thinking and problem solving (Lidwell, Holden & Butler, 2010, p. 18). By establishing a positive consumer-device relationship, it increases feelings of attachment and decreases levels of stress and negative perceptions.
Unlike the outdated floppy disks or the CD that is likely to be damaged if not secured in a protective case, the USB is far more durable and portable. The USB evolution erupted in the 1990s as an alternative to ports and complicated configurations and instalments. Thompson states that the USB thumb drive has radically improved in terms of ‘not only in transfer speed, but in reliability and usability’ (2010, n. p.). In addition, the distinct difference it has in comparison to other systems is that it stores more data and audio files and are ‘reusable’. Furthermore, the aesthetic quality of the device is pleasing and has the added bonus of coming in various designs that range in colour and texture. The aesthetic factors of the USB comply with the perception of effortless usability which renders the user an active participant not only with the device itself, but also with the other machines it connects to.
Lidwell, W., Holden, K., & Butler, J. (2003). Universal principles of design. Massachusetts, MA: Rockport.
Obendorf, H. (2009). Minimalism: Designing simplicity. Dordrecht, Netherlands: Springer.
Shin, D. (2012). Cross-analysis of usability and aesthetic in smart devices: what influences users’ preferences? Cross Cultural Management, 19(4), 563 – 587.
Thompson, D. (2010, September 7). USB just got faster. The Press, p. 5.