Aesthetics and Perception: How to Approach User Experience Imagery

Once designers greater understand how people’s minds work with imagery, they’re capable of create greater merchandise that truly make sense in a person’s life, whereas positively affecting the enterprise itself.

When it includes UX design and shopper experience imagery, whether or not or not on websites, cell features, or one other digital product, many designers choose photos using their personal aesthetic sense, combining them with microcopy and the rest of the interface in a fashion that’s sensible in relation to the product goal and branding.

The well-liked saying, “a picture is worth a thousand words,” has held sway given that early 19c, and is usually attributed to Fred R. Barnard who wrote the phrase in an article promoting the utilization of images in advertisements that appeared on the sides of streetcars. In many contexts, photos have the power to create an emotional response throughout the shopper; this can be useful for clarifying the mannequin goal, reinforcing the product price proposition, and rising the web page or cell app’s attraction.

An image can transmit a message instantly, as a result of the thoughts can interpret it prior to textual content material, and supplies depth and context to a message, providing a further immersive experience than textual content material alone. When designers understand how to work with imagery, they’re greater able to manipulate the emotional reactions of an viewers. Product designs can rise or fall on the usual of their shopper experience photos—which is why it’s crucial to get it correct.

Aside from websites and cell features, imagery is critical in all varieties of product designs. As acknowledged by Rachel Krause (a shopper experience specialist on the Nielsen Norman Group) in 6 Rules for Persuasive Storytelling, imagery is perhaps included into associated case analysis, charts, and photos from usability checks to current the viewers one factor to connect with previous the phrases.

Kim Flaherty (UX specialist at Nielsen Norman Group) moreover acknowledged that recent research has indicated e-newsletter recipients rely on the similar high-quality imagery they encounter on the web, strongly preferring photos which may be seen at an even bigger scale, and current component very clearly.

In-depth understanding of the utilization of images and its psychological implications for shopper notion and shopper experience is an important facet of design that UX designers should not underestimate.

Sensory Imagery in Design

In present cases, the world of sensory promoting has attracted the attention of the corporate and tutorial worlds, primarily in promoting and psychology. In the information Sensory Marketing: Research on the Sensuality of Products, Aradhna Krishna defines sensory promoting as “subconscious triggers that affect how people make purchase and consumption decisions.” That assertion is solely as related in product design duties because it’s in promoting.

According to the author, sensory imagery can have an effect on product design by:

  • encouraging psychological stimulation by way of seen design
  • partaking people with a mannequin
  • impacting their attitudes in direction of the mannequin
  • stimulating totally different senses (harking back to odor) by way of seen design

Boosting Mental Simulation Through Imagery

Marketers and designers have prolonged impressed consumers to utilize their creativeness with slogans harking back to “Think different” (Apple) and “Just do it” (Nike). Those straightforward and catchy phrases, nonetheless, don’t robotically persuade people to consider using the product with out explicitly asking them to take motion.

According to analysis on cognition and notion (talked about above), it was found that merely altering how a product is visually launched encourages people to consider interacting with the product, and consequently will improve the potential of a purchase order order.

User experience imagery.

Carefully chosen imagery can significantly impact people’s notion of a product, rising brand proximity efficiently, or have a damaging have an effect on in circumstances the place people encounter photos that are not a match for them.

For event, if an precise property web page targets middle-class purchasers and makes use of the subsequent occasion of a clearly very up-market, expensive villa as a background, it could doubtlessly impact the connection between the objective clients and the company. This creates a distinct segment between the mannequin and the best way wherein clients perceive it.

UX images.

Attention, Sensation, and Perception

The place to start for understanding how people relate to actuality lies throughout the psychological processes of consideration, sensation, and notion.

Attention is a psychological course of that selects particular stimuli on which to focus and establishes relationships between them. When used accurately, these stimuli are positioned strategically to have the ability to draw the observer’s consideration to positive information. It’s vital to determine on the perfect shopper experience photos potential because of people’s eyes are drawn to dozens of ads and websites each single day, and just some will seize their consideration.

Lev Semenovitch Vygotsky, a Soviet psychologist, asserts that the human psyche possesses sensation as a course of that acts straight on the subjective formation of actuality to which the subject is uncovered, and performs an obligatory place in people’s relationship with the world. Additionally, there are synesthetic sensations, which are characterised when two or further sensations are expert collectively, usually producing associations between objects and sensations. For event, pink is often seen as a “passionate” coloration and Coca-Cola broadly makes use of it of their branding.

UX aesthetics in UX design using sensory images.

Human notion refers to thoughts carry out capable of selecting and assigning which implies to information captured by sensations made by way of associations to experiences the actual individual has already encountered. This will be often called a psychological model.

It’s vital to know that groups of people don’t on a regular basis suppose the similar, notably within the occasion you challenge in quite a few cultures, social classes, and age groups. The following image may presumably be an superior occasion representing fulfilling and journey as long as the viewers are youthful people who wish to journey—maybe not rather a lot in the event that they’re mom and father who’ve expert the stress of travelling with youngsters and all it entails. In this case, deep shopper evaluation would provide insights that can help designers select the perfect kind of photographs to utilize for a selected viewers.

UX imagery in UX design.

User Experience Imagery as a Tool to Increase Usability

In the evaluation paper Designing mobile interfaces for novice and low-literacy users, the authors state that imagery moreover helps low-literacy people, rising product usability and enhancing the buyer experience as a whole. Because illiteracy often has to do with poverty, nonliterate clients scan interfaces in any other case, based totally on seen components, and specializing within the mechanics.

Research carried out by Andrew Thatcher studied behaviors of literate and semi-literate people while using ATMs and an alternate icon-and speech-based ATM interface. According to the author, people confirmed an inclination to need an icon-based ATM interface over the alternative choices. This won’t correlate notably with imagery nevertheless exemplifies that seen components are greater understood than text-based interfaces.

Although this evaluation was notably directed to low-literacy clients, it’s vital to know that imagery and visually based interfaces positively impact clients usually, not solely people who’ve learning difficulties. For event, well-chosen images may allow clients to scan and absorb information sooner, letting them further shortly understand the product’s goal. An fantastic choice to substantiate it is through the use of a way generally called Five Second Testing.

UX aesthetics - how to use imagery.

A Deeper Understanding of Applied Psychology in Product Aesthetic

Since visually fascinating designs are perceived to be less complicated to utilize, as a designer it’s essential to create as such. Also, aesthetic designs are accepted further readily, used further repeatedly, and promote creative pondering and problem-solving. According to Universal Principles of Design, aesthetic designs moreover foster optimistic relationships with clients, making them further tolerant of usability points inside a design.

The Aesthetic-Usability Effect

Typically, aesthetic designs have a greater chance of engagement. Imagery has rather a lot to do with seen attraction, straight influencing shopper notion. When a product is further usable nevertheless a lot much less visually fascinating, it’d endure from a shortage of acceptance that renders usability factors moot.

According to this psychological phenomenon, aesthetically fascinating designs are usually further intuitive than a lot much less fascinating ones, and that’s very true for patrons with a further restricted technical background. In addition, when aesthetic designs don’t work precisely, clients are inclined guilty themselves reasonably than faulting the product.

In this sense, a powerful {{photograph}} or video delights the buyer. That optimistic emotional response extra reinforces the buyer’s interactions with the product and relationship with the mannequin itself, whereas compensating for any usability drawbacks and making the buyer further tolerant.

In an article for Nielsen Norman Group, Kate Moran cited Kurosu and Kashimura, who concluded that clients are strongly influenced by the aesthetics of any given interface, even when evaluating the underlying efficiency of the system.

Take the FitBit web page, for example. Moran reported that in usability testing, one shopper encountered many factors whereas procuring on the placement, ranging from minor annoyances throughout the interaction design to excessive flaws throughout the navigation. The shopper was able to full the obligation with some challenge.

However, the buyer rated the web page very extraordinarily in ease of use, saying the placement appeared identical to the ocean (very calm), with good colors and fantastic photographs. The optimistic emotional response created by the aesthetic attraction of the placement helped masks its usability factors.

Sensory images

The Priming Effect

Choosing acceptable photos for an interface goes previous aesthetics. The chosen photos ought to convey the best message and values. Since the human thoughts affords with associations regularly, imagery will be utilized as a strong machine to work with associations. In the information Thinking, Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman gave a compelling occasion of how the ideas makes associations subconsciously. He requested the reader to take a look on the subsequent two phrases:

Banana      Vomit

When people checked out these phrases, they expert unpleasant associations. Their faces twisted barely in an expression of disgust, their coronary coronary heart payment elevated, and the hair on their arms rose a bit. In temporary, they responded to “vomit” with an attenuated mannequin of how they’d react to the exact event, all robotically, previous the actual individual’s administration—purely by way of the affiliation of ideas. But the have an effect on can transcend that, with people associating the phrase “banana” with the damaging connotations of “vomit.”

Priming is an implicit memory affect throughout which publicity to a stimulus influences a response to a later stimulus. Designers may match with imagery, not by merely pondering of how the interface will be visually fascinating, nevertheless by the use of message transmission, shopper notion, shopper engagement, and manipulation of their ideas by way of well-constructed associations.

In Priming and User Interfaces from the Nielsen Norman Group, the author states that “images and page content prime people into forming expectations of the website. If those assumptions are further confirmed, the overall experience is smooth and pleasant. However, when the assumptions are proven wrong, people often perceive that the site has poor usability.”

The following occasion was moreover launched throughout the article, exhibiting a homepage for a private faculty that reveals photos of infants, giving the impression that the varsity is a preschool or just for the first elementary grades. In actuality, the varsity covers as a lot as eighth grade.

Aesthetic impact with user experience imagery.


Imagery is often a extremely efficient machine when used to have an effect on people’s notion and shopper experience. When an environment friendly image is chosen for the design, it would presumably enhance a product’s attraction, strengthen the enterprise price, enhance product sales and lead know-how, help tempo up interface and information scanning, delight audiences, and improve empathy between consumers and the mannequin.

Once designers greater understand basically probably the most excellent psychological phenomena and the best way people’s minds work, they are going to create greater merchandise that truly make sense for people, whereas positively affecting the enterprise itself.

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Further learning on the Toptal Design Blog:

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