The effect of aesthetically pleasing composition on visual search performance
This paper presents the results of a study on the effect of the aesthetic layout properties of a computer interface on visual search performance. Search performance was measured at three levels of layout aesthetics: high, medium, and low. Two types of performance metric were recorded: response time and number of errors. Performance at the three levels of aesthetics was also compared between two search methods (with or without mouse pointing), and related to preference. The findings of the present study indicate that, regardless of search method used, response time (but not errors) was strongly affected by the aesthetics level. There is also a clear relationship between preference and performance when a composite measurement of aesthetics is used, although this does not seem to be due to the influence of individual aesthetic features. Further study is needed to identify other aesthetic factors that influence task performance, and to establish appropriate design guidelines.