For those of you interested in the relationship between aesthetics and usability, we have recently published a new article in this area specifically related to in-vehicle navigation maps.
Aesthetics and usability of in-vehicle navigation displays . International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, 69(1-2), 80-99.
Talia Lavie, Tal Oron-Gilad, Joachim Meyer
►In vehicle navigation maps with minimal detail were found to be most aesthetic and usable. ►Moderately abstracted maps were sufficient for obtaining usability and aesthetic benefits. ►The color schema of navigation maps did not affect perceived aesthetics and usability. ►High connections were found between perceived aesthetics and perceived usability. ►Users’ usability evaluations were not always in line with their actual performances.
This research evaluates the aesthetics and usability of various in-vehicle electronic navigation map configurations. Study 1 adapted the aesthetics scale (Lavie and Tractinsky, 2004) to accommodate evaluations of map displays. Study 2 examined map displays that vary in the amount of information presented, their abstraction level and color schema, using objective and subjective usability measures. Maps with minimal detail produced best performances and highest evaluations. Abstractions were found to be advantageous when combined with reduced amount of detail and specific color schemas. Moderate abstractions were sufficient for obtaining the desired benefits. The color schema mainly affected the objective measures, pointing to the importance of good contrast between the cursor and the map colors. Study 3 further examined map schemas. Color schemas again had no effect on the perceptions of aesthetics and usability. Overall, similar results and high correlations were found for the perceived aesthetics and usability scales, indicating the connection between perceived aesthetics and usability. Lower correlations were found between the actual usability (performance) and the aesthetics scale. Finally, users’ usability evaluations were not always in line with their actual performance, pointing to the importance of using objective usability measures.