Volume 14(1), 2018-05, 6—26

Exploring aesthetics in design: Implications for human–computer interaction

Mads Nygaard Folkmann
Department of Design and Communication
University of Southern Denmark

In this article, I enter into a discussion of how aesthetics can be conceptualized in the context of design and related to the field of human–computer interaction (HCI). I contest the current trend in design aesthetics that primarily focuses on beauty, pleasure, and the creation of emotional appeal by means of the sensual and visual elements of the design. Conversely, I advocate for a series of concepts related to aesthetics, such as reflectivity, representation, and epistemology, as these point aesthetics beyond the immediate sensual and visual. Through these concepts, a deeper understanding of the character of the relationship between humans and design can be obtained: Design objects and HCI solutions can be more accurately described in their roles as interfaces for how humans approach the world. This broader perspective on aesthetics has implication for practice when designers set the task of creating new experiences for the users.

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