International Journal of Arts 2019, 9(2): 27-40
Design; Beauty and User Satisfaction
Sara Ebrahimi*, Ali Asghar Fahmifar2
Department of Art Study, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran
Abstract This study was about the relationship between product aesthetics and user satisfaction in some of user based
design methods (UCD, KE, UX, and PD). Also we tried to know how beauty will appear in the product and perceived by
users, and how can beauty result in user satisfaction by mentioned methods. So, we introduced some new models about
beauty in the product and the way which user satisfaction is generated. According to these models, some of the methods with
emotional approach were about to have more consideration to the perception of form in beauty and generating pleasure for
satisfaction, and those with experimental approach, have focused on the experience of more function and less form in users’
mind and then the satisfaction would be generated of fulfillment of expectations. Furthermore we discussed that satisfaction
has two general types; beauty in the products would have different meanings in each level.
Keywords Design, Beauty, Aesthetics, User satisfaction, User based design methods
Throughout history, numerous definitions of beauty have
been raised, whether in the context of its objective or
subjective, whether it is in terms of its usefulness, its
intrinsicity, etc. In some cases, these discussions have been
presented with pleasure and the beauty ratio has been
reviewed with pleasure and enjoyment. But will pleasure and
beauty also bring satisfaction? Which standards satisfaction
has and how can we be sure about reaching them?
On the one hand, in the course of history, different
methods have been developed for product design; Part of
these methods followed goals such as sales and intellectual
practices of the designer or group of designers. And partly
they were looking for scientific methods of design. In the
scientific design process, focus has been on things such as
market, production, environment, user, and so on. In the
meantime, the attention paid to the user in recent years is
more than the other, which has focused its ultimate goal on
satisfying the user both at the time of choosing a product and
after using it. The issue raised here is how well these
user-based design methods can provide the beauty they
expect. So can a new and comprehensive definition of beauty
in products be presented?
The main purpose is to investigate the relationship
between product aesthetics and user satisfaction in some
of user-based design methods and to provide a new and
* Corresponding author:
firstname.lastname@example.org (Sara Ebrahimi)
Published online at http://journal.sapub.org/arts
Copyright © 2019 The Author(s). Published by Scientific & Academic Publishing
This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution International
License (CC BY). http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
comprehensive definition of beauty in products or from the
perspective of product users if possible. Research questions
which will be answered by this research are:
What is the relationship between user satisfaction and
beauty in the product?
How will beauty appears in the product and perceived by
How can beauty result in user satisfaction by user based
So many studies discussed about the history of beauty
definition through ages, among those, by Frohlich ,
Karvonen  and Tractinsky , Table 1. shows an
overview of these definitions classified by the time and its
Also, numerous studies show the influence of aesthetics
on for instance trust and credibility, perception of usability,
usability testing and overall impression . Tuch et al. 
identified some of experiments that had examined the
relation between usability and aesthetics and summarized
them into two tables. Most of them were in the field of HCI
(e. g. , , , , , , , , , , 
A strong correlation between beauty and usability
repeatedly emerged . More attractive products are
considered to be more usable . Some studies showed the
relation between usability and aesthetics, but not exactly
reverse. It means that usable products can be beautiful but
beautiful ones would not be usable at all . Some studies
found an increase in performance when a product was
aesthetically appealing , some found a decrease in
performance when a product was aesthetically appealing and
28 Sara Ebrahimi and Ali Asghar Fahmifar: Design; Beauty and User Satisfaction
some found no effect on performance at all . Also,
people appreciate beauty, but don't want to “pay” for it .
Diefenbach & Hassenzahl  as well, found in their study
that the less beautiful but more usable product was chosen
more frequently (p. 1425). The result of Tractinsky’s study
showed that perception of usability (an attribute of
interaction) and beauty (an attribute of graphical user
interfaces) were related . Also Lenz et al.  mentioned
that Djajadiningrat et al. in 2000 were talked about “aesthetic
of use” (p. 80).
Table 1. Definitions of “beauty” through ages which explained by Frohlich , Karvonen  and Tractinsky 
Definition of beauty
the 6th century BC
In the eye of the beholder
A subjective experience
form of pleasure experienced in
response to an object
So, it could therefore differ
between people in response
to the same object
Objective property of objects related to
A rare kind of pleasure which is either
invoked or not invoked by an object
The vanishing point of our desire for
Easiness of use
What is usable
a rare subjective experience which
Connection between the object and the
Both objective and
Some of the other results of the studies which done till
now are that, people in a choice situation prefer a pragmatic
to a hedonic good of the same nominal value, although
people find the hedonic more attractive and would prefer it,
if they would not have to justify their choice; People may be
more satisfied with a beautiful product that performs
sub-optimally than with a more usable but less appealing
product ; The relative appeal of visual stimuli is closely
related to both user satisfaction and perceived usability 
and so on.
3. Materials and Methods
This is a descriptive and analytical study which has a
critical and comparative view to some of user based design
methods (User centered design, Kansei engineering, User
experience and Positive design). Beauty definitions,
satisfaction properties and identified design methods’
processes are the raw materials of the study. So, the study
will have three parts: Beauty, Satisfaction and Design.
Aesthetics is variously defined as beauty in appearance,
visual appeal, an experience, an attitude, a property of
objects, a response or a judgment, and a process . Beauty
is a very old topic in philosophy. Early writers proposed that
beauty was an objective property of objects, while later
writers suggested that it was more of a subjective experience
triggered by objects. This debate continues today around the
issue of taste in judgments of beauty, and whether or not
there is such a thing as good taste in recognizing beauty to be
found in the world .
Aesthetics originate from the theory of art and usually
refers to beauty and more specifically, to the beauty of art
. In the context of a metaphysical consideration of the
world’s order, beauty is equated with its orderliness
[Tractinsky’s “classical aesthetics” and property of objects].
In the epistemological context derived from Baumgarten,
beauty is thought of as adequacy to the mind in perception
[Hassenzahl’s “goodness”, inside the viewer’s head]. From
the anthropological point of view it may seem to be nothing
more than sensual attractiveness [Berlyne’s work on arousal;
Norman’s  notion of “visceral emotion”] . It is an
absolute and a part of “the big three”; the beautiful, the good
and the true . Beauty illuminates, attracts, persuades,
deceives and represents harmony, freedom, symmetry and
Aesthetics usually refers often to non-quantifiable,
subjective, and affect-based experience of system use;
usability is commonly measured by relatively objective
means and sets efficiency as its foremost criterion , .
The tension between form and function has long been at
the crossroad of artifact design. Whereas emphasis on
function stresses the importance of the artifact's usability and
usefulness, accentuating the artifact's form serves more the
aesthetic, and perhaps social, needs of designers and
customers. Until the first quarter of this century, the design
of commodities and mass production artifacts were quite
devoid of aesthetic considerations. Petroski (1993) credits
two industrial design pioneers, Loewy and Dreyfuss, with
International Journal of Arts 2019, 9(2): 27-40 29
the introduction of aesthetic considerations to mass
production and with the development of industrial design
as an explicit marketing instrument. Evidently, aesthetics
considerations gained importance quickly. About half a
century later, Norman (1988; 1992) laments the
appropriation of modern design by designers who place
aesthetics ahead of usability. Similar sentiments concerning
designers' priorities can be found in various areas of artifact
Aesthetics can be seen as an aspect of the broader concept
of user experience, which can include usability, beauty,
overall quality and hedonic, affective and experiential
aspects of the use of technology . Aesthetics is seen to
have something to do with pleasure and harmony that human
beings are capable of experiencing . Lenz et al. 
suggested a principle of an aesthetic interaction is the “fit”
between interaction attributes and appropriate experience (p.
Beauty is perceived immediately – it takes effect on
product perception and evaluation right from the first
glimpse . Beauty in an interactive product might also
indicate increased usability .
To the extent that aesthetics is a pleasant experience or an
experience that leads to pleasure, it implies a relationship to
emotion . Desmet  classified product emotion in
surprise emotions (e. g. surprise, amazement), instrumental
emotions (e. g. disappointment, satisfaction), aesthetic
emotions (e. g. disgust, attracted to), social emotions (e. g.
indignation,, admiration), and interest emotions (e. g.
boredom, fascination) (p. 6). Even if aesthetics is a property
of objects, when confronted with an object of beauty, it does
evoke a positive emotional experience in the viewer .
Products and services need a balance between pragmatic
(e.g., usability) and hedonic quality (e.g., novelty) .
Aesthetic design can enhance the desirability of a product
and greatly influence customer satisfaction in terms of
perceived product quality .
Hassenzahl  defined a judgment of beauty as “a
predominantly affect-driven evaluative response to the
visual Gestalt of an object”. Beauty is evaluated from the
way the design is experienced in the user’s mind and is in
interaction between the user and the artifact, i.e., as a quality
of the interplay . The term design aesthetics is employed
in two ways: it may refer to the objective features of a
stimulus (e.g. colour of a product) or to the subjective
reaction to the specific product features .
According to the definitions of beauty hitherto, authors
introduce a model that shows the area of beauty in products.
As shown in figure 1. we have two main parts: Object or
product and subject or user. Both of them can effect on
beauty of the thing.
Beauty can be in an object or product, that has form and
function as its contents. These two contents can merge to
each other or be separated (but not fully separated). They are
jointed to each other and the joint part can be narrower or
wider depend on different designs. Usability and simplicity
are properties of function and visual Gestalt refers to form of
an object. Here by the one joint of these two contents we can
have an angle between them that we call it “α” and will
explain it in later sections.
Also, beauty can be formed in subject or users’ mind. Here
we have three contents: perception, experience and judgment.
Emotion and pleasure are some of examples of perception in
subject or user’s mind and desire, need knowledge, etc. are
some kinds of experiences which he/she encounter.
Judgment would be the result of perception and experience
which occur in the mind and would be the main part of this
process. Perception and experience like form and function
are jointed together and can overlap each other more or less
with the angle between them which we call it “β” and will
explain it later.
Figure 1. Schematic view of beauty area in products (source: authors)
Customer satisfaction is the major concern and
prerequisite for competitiveness in today’s global market
. Oxford online dictionary  explained satisfaction as
“fulfillment of one’s wishes, expectations, or needs, or the
pleasure derived from this”, also Cambridge online
dictionary  defined it as “a pleasant feeling that you get
when you receive something you wanted, or when you have
done something you wanted to do”, and “the act of fulfilling
(= achieving) a need or wish”.
The judgment of how satisfied people are with their
30 Sara Ebrahimi and Ali Asghar Fahmifar: Design; Beauty and User Satisfaction
present state of affairs is based on a comparison with a
standard which each individual sets for him or herself; it is
not externally imposed. It is a hallmark of the subjective
well-being area that it centers on the person’s own judgments,
not upon some criterion which is judged to be important by
the researcher .
If you are creating the product for use in your organization,
you will want users to be more productive and satisfied .
User satisfaction is a statement about, or a judgment of, the
user experience . When systems match user needs,
satisfaction often improves dramatically . Satisfaction is
an emotional consequence of goal-directed product use ,
. Satisfaction may be a by-product of great usability in
traditional office environments, and that satisfaction can be
defined in terms of efficiency and effectiveness .
As stated by the ISO 9241-11 standard, user satisfaction is
supposed to contribute to usability along with effectiveness
and efficiency . There, ‘user satisfaction’ is referred to in
terms of ‘attitude’ and ‘degree of comfort’ and measured
by a number on a 7- or 10-point scale . Hansemark and
Albinson  explained that “satisfaction is an overall
customer attitude towards a service provider, or an emotional
reaction to the difference between what customers anticipate
and what they receive, regarding the fulfillment of some
needs, goals or desire” .
The intensity, positive or negative, of the first impression
is likely to set the scene for the amount of attention
subsequently paid to experiential usability and
pleasure-of-usage factors, which then culminate in that
judgment of the experience that we might call user
Courage and Baxter  defined usability as the
effectiveness, efficiency, and satisfaction with which users
can achieve tasks when using a product (p. 747), while
Maguire  explained the satisfaction as user comfort and
acceptability (p. 603). In order to widen the notion of user
satisfaction beyond efficiency and effectiveness of the user
experience, researchers must start to think of usability as part
of a satisfying user experience . User satisfaction is a
complex construct that incorporates several measurable
concepts and is the culmination of the interactive user
experience . In HCI the term satisfaction is often used
synonymously with perceived usability or at least with the
overall evaluation of a product . User satisfaction is a
judgment about the interactive experience with products
Furthermore life satisfaction refers to cognitive,
judgmental process. Shin and Johnson (1978) defined life
satisfaction as “a global assessment of a person’s quality of
life according to his chosen criteria” .
Kano et al. (1984) developed a two-dimensional model to
explain the different relationship between customer
satisfaction and product criterion performance. The Kano
model classifies product criteria into three distinct categories,
as shown in Figure 2. Each quality category affects
customers in a different way. The three different types of
qualities are explained as follows:
1. The must-be or basic quality: Here, customers become
dissatisfied when the performance of this product
criterion is low or the product attribute is absent.
However, customer satisfaction does not rise above
neutral with a high-performance product criterion.
2. One-dimensional or performance quality: Here,
customer satisfaction is a linear function of a product
criterion performance. High attribute performance
leads to high customer satisfaction and vice versa.
3. The attractive or excitement quality: Here, customer
satisfaction increases super linearly with increasing
attribute performance. There is not, however, a
corresponding decrease in customer satisfaction with a
decrease in criterion performance .
Furthermore some other models exist for customer
satisfaction, which are national models, e. g. SCSB (the
Swedish Customer Satisfaction Barometer), DK in Germany
(the Deutsche Kundenbarometer), etc. . Here we are going
to introduce and manipulate American one.
Figure 2. Kano model of customer satisfaction 
International Journal of Arts 2019, 9(2): 27-40 31
The American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) is the
national indicator of customer evaluations of the quality of
goods and services available to U.S. residents since 1994. It
is the only uniform, cross-industry and government measure
of customer satisfaction (Figure 3.) .
Figure 3. American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) model 
As shown in Figure 3. overall customer satisfaction (ACSI)
has three antecedents: perceived quality (the served market's
evaluation of recent consumption experience, and is
expected to have a direct and positive effect on overall
customer satisfaction), perceived value (the perceived level
of product quality relative to the price paid), and customer
expectations (measures the customer's anticipation of the
quality of a company's products or services) .
Figure 4. New satisfaction model with two main elements; expectations
and pleasure (Source: authors)
In addition to mentioned models, authors have introduced
a new model for satisfaction about a product or service
(Figure 4.). As shown in Figure 4. we have two main
elements (expectations and pleasure) in our mind that effect
on satisfaction, and arranged angularly (we call this angle
“γ”); The lower the angle, the greater the intersection of
these two elements, and thus the more satisfaction. In fact,
the area between these two elements creates satisfaction. So,
the lower “γ”, provides the wider satisfaction area.
Also, according to what have been explained about
satisfaction, it seems that there are two kinds of satisfaction;
which are short term satisfaction (e. g. user satisfaction of
specific product or service) and long term satisfaction (i. e.
life satisfaction). The first is mortal and thematic, and the
second is more constant and it extends to other matters in life.
The short term satisfaction per se has two parts, which are
primary satisfaction and afterward satisfaction. The primary
satisfaction occurs when someone faces to specific product
and satisfy by his/her perception of the product’s beauty and
usability. The afterward satisfaction however arises after
using the product and its ownership for a few time, so it will
be closer to the real and comes from more logical judgment.
Product design is a problem-solving activity, whose
purpose is to develop a successful product fitting consumers’
needs. To achieve this goal, systematic methods have been
used by designers to obtain an optimal solution through
the process of data collection, analysis, synthesis and
decision-making . The trend of product development
is becoming toward the consumer-oriented, namely the
consumer’s feeling and needs are recognized as invaluable in
product development for manufacturers . User based
design methods are abundant, like User centered design,
emotional design, user experience, etc. Here four of user
based design methods will be discussed; what they are, what
is their main purpose, and how they are used.
6.1. User Centered Design
User requirements refer to the features/attributes your
product should have or how it should perform from the users’
perspective. User-centered design (UCD) is a discipline for
collecting and analyzing these requirements . Furthermore,
UCD is a general term for a philosophy and methods which
focus on designing for and involving users in the design ,
and is a product development approach that is concerned
with the end users of a product and the philosophy is that the
product should suit the user, rather than making the user suits
the product .
UCD allows users to participate throughout the design
process of a product that will fulfill the demands of the user
and improve the usability of the product. Brown and
Mulley’s research demonstrated that UCD shortens overall
development time and costs by reducing the number of
changes required in the later stages of the design process
which results to better quality products .
Figure 5. UCD cycle 
32 Sara Ebrahimi and Ali Asghar Fahmifar: Design; Beauty and User Satisfaction
The User-Centered Design (UCD) model described by
Buurman  advocates a design process that involves users
in the whole design process in order to match the product to
the user requirements and to increase its practical use. The
process, unlike the common, technology and market driven
model which most products follow, leads to more useful and
usable products .
Maguire  mentioned a cycle for UCD process (from
ISO 159 13407) (Figure 5.). It starts with planning the human
centered process and continued with the cycle with four
main steps: understanding and specifying the context of
use, specifying the user and organizational requirements,
producing design solutions, and evaluating designs against
There are three key principles of UCD: An Early Focus on
Users and Tasks, Empirical Measurement of Product Usage,
and Iterative Design .
Figure 6. Product lifecycle with UCD processes incorporated 
Furthermore Courage and Baxter  introduced another
model which shown in Figure 6. and has 4 stages; Stage 1,
the “Concept” phase, encompasses the “early focus on the
user.” The “Design” phase (stage 2) ideally incorporates the
“early focus on the user” and “empirical measurement”
principles of UCD. The “Develop” and “Release” phases
(stages 3 and 4) tend to focus on the “empirical measurement”
principle of UCD. Sample activities in each phase are
discussed in this section (p. 6).
For many companies, usability begins and ends with the
usability test. There is a clear difference between usability
testing and user requirements gathering. Usability testing
determines whether a given solution is usable. Requirement
gathering provides insight into the many possible solutions
and allows a person to select and investigate the best solution
from the users’ perspective .
The most important thing in UCD process and philosophy
is to focus on users from the early sections of design process
and gathering user requirements and needs to reach more
user satisfaction. Also how they work with the product is the
main issue which designers must notice while using this
6.2. Kansei Engineering
The Japanese word, Kansei has the significance of feeling,
impression and/or emotion  and means sensibility,
feelings and cognition . When translated into English it
might mean ‘consumer’s psychological feeling and image’
Professor Nagamachi began Kansei Engineering (KE)
by combining psychological measurement and analysis
methodologies with ergonomic measurement techniques. KE
is indispensable for successful product development .
KE is a proactive product development methodology, which
translates customers’ impressions, feelings and demands on
existing products or concepts into design solutions and
concrete design parameters; it is mainly a catalyst for a
systematical development of new and innovative solutions,
but can also be used as an improvement tool for existing
products and concepts . KE collects and organizes tools
coming from other fields of research (mathematics,
computer science, psychology...) in order to evaluate users,
impressions . Japanese designers have used KE as a
consumer oriented ergonomic technology for developing
new products .
International Journal of Arts 2019, 9(2): 27-40 33
There are six technical styles of KE methods; Type I
through Type VI. Type I KE means Category Classification
from zero- to nth- category. Type II uses a computer-aided
system. Type III utilizes a mathematical framework to
reason the appropriate ergonomic design. Type IV refers to
KE system constructed by the forward and backward
reasoning and Type V combines KE technology with Virtual
Reality. Type VI is a new system of Collaborative Kansei
Designing System in which the designers apart from each
other collaborate to make a new design through an
intellectual Internet using the kansei databases .
A flow of the KE Type I explained by Nagamachi 
shows that it will start with the decision of strategy, and
continues with collection of Kansei words, setting of SD
scale the kansei words, collection of product samples, a list
of item/category, evaluation experiment, analysis using
multivariate statistical methods, interpretation of the
analyzed data, explanation of the data to designer(s) and
check of designer’s sketch wit KE candidate (p. 2).
6.3. User Experience
In the user-centered design process, we are focused on the
thing being designed (e.g., the object, communication, space,
interface, service, etc.), looking for ways to ensure that it
meets the needs of the user. Also, in user-centered design,
the roles of the researcher and the designer are distinct, yet
interdependent. The user is not really a part of the team,
but is spoken for by the researcher . User experience is
a change from a user-centered design process to that of
participatory experiences. It is a shift in attitude from
designing “for” users to one of designing “with” users .
Design is about user experience rather than about the
creation of products . We understand an experience as
“an episode, a chunk of time that one went through—with
sights and sounds, feelings and thoughts, motives and actions,
closely knitted together, stored in memory, labeled, relived,
and communicated to others; An experience is a story,
emerging from the dialogue of a person with her or his world
through action” , .
The aim of “Experience Design” is to design users’
experiences of things, events and places . There is a
common understanding that UX is holistic – it emphasizes
the totality of emotion, motivation, and action in a given
physical and social context – and that it is subjective –
focusing on the “felt experiences” rather than product
attributes . People can tell whether their experience had
been positive or negative (i.e., affectivity) .
“Needs” would set the stage for Experience Design .
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is shown in Figure 7 a. By
explicitness of the needs, Sanders  had showed another
pyramid that classifies these needs into 4 levels (Figure 7 b.).
Figure 7. (a) Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, (b) levels of need expression 
Sanders  mentioned that for understanding about what
users experience, we can learn from what they say, think,
do, use, know, feel and dream; and these communications
depends on the levels of their needs (Figure 7 b.). She
emphasizes that for accessing experience we must
investigate what people say, do and make. Also Hassenzahl
et al.  claimed that any experience has an “emotional
thread” (p. 22).
Garrett  has introduced a model for user experience
(Figure 8.) that starts with defining the strategy (user needs
and product objectives), the next step is defining the scope
(functional specification (when get a product as functionality)
and content requirement (when get a product as
information)), next one is defining structure plane
(interaction design and information architecture when get a
product as functionality and information respectively)),
skeleton plane is the other step (Interface design, navigation
design and information design), and the last step would be
surface step (sensory design).
34 Sara Ebrahimi and Ali Asghar Fahmifar: Design; Beauty and User Satisfaction
Figure 8. 5 levels of UX 
Zheng et al.  explained that “a proposed conceptual
framework of UX-based personalized product development
process consists of three models: physical model, cyber
model and UX model. Physical model stands for the physical
products (e.g. wrist band) and services (e.g. app subscription)
in the real world. In personalized product development
process, it mainly contains three parts: 1) personalized
attributes, such as unique appearance or functions; 2)
3D-printed product prototype, which is utilized for rapid
prototyping in a tangible way; and 3) smart functions, which
act as the services attached to the product. Cyber model
stands for the web-based virtual co-design resources. It
normally consists of: 1) CAD models, which is the virtual
presentation of the real product; 2) co-design product
configuration system (or embedded co-design toolkits),
which aims to facilitate the complicated co-creation process
in a user-friendly manner; and 3) social media tools support,
such as online community (e.g. Facebook, Twitter), which is
mainly adopted to discover latent design information. UX
model stands for the user’s affective factors (e.g. emotions)
and cognitive behaviors (e.g. feedback) in the context of
product development stages. Mostly, 1) marketing strategies
(e.g. focus group, questionnaires), 2) real time analysis (e.g.
eye tracker), and 3) design and usage context (e.g. virtual
environment or physical environment) are exploited to
modeling the UX. In the personalized product development,
each model interacts coherently with others in a certain
product development context. The existing physical model
can be utilized for new design concept generation for product
innovation; while in return, the established cyber model will
be manufactured into the physical one as the end product.
Also, users can obtain either tangible experience in a
physical model or a visible experience in the cyber model,
and reversely, specific co-design behavior or product-service
evaluation can be derived based on the cyber model and
physical model, respectively”.
6.4. Positive Design
Positive design (PD) follows subjective well-being which
based on positive psychology , . At the end of 20th
century and primary years of current century Positive
psychology was raised by Martin Seligman and Mihaly
Csikszentmihalyi to focus on mental health rather than
mental illness . Seligman  said that design,
entertainment and technology can increase positive emotion
and happiness in people. So, PD translates the elements of
wellbeing and strategies that support the pursuit to live not
only a good – but also a fulfilling life which into actionable
design solutions .
Numerous studies have confirmed that it is not personal
resources that make a person happy, but rather how those
resources are exploited . PD initiatives deliberately
intend to increase people’s subjective well-being and, hence,
increase an enduring appreciation of their lives. The PD
framework combines three key components of subjective
well-being (Figure 9.) .
Figure 9. Positive Design (PD) framework 
Each ingredient independently stimulates subjective
well-being; PD sits in the “sweet spot” where all three
ingredients intersect. This intersection is where people
flourish , which is having sense of meaning, engagement,
interest and purpose in life in addition to positive emotion
. PD is design in which all three ingredients are
deliberately designed for (see Figure.). It does not mean that
the result should always address all three to the same degree,
but it does mean that there should be no incongruities
produced among these elements .
There are three parts in which the card-set can be
applied: 1) understanding nuances in positive emotions 2)
determining emotional intention of a product 3) facilitating
creativity in design conceptualization. Part one by itself has 2
steps which are getting an overview of nuances among
positive emotions, and identifying user emotions in relation
International Journal of Arts 2019, 9(2): 27-40 35
to a product, second part has 2 other steps: identifying
activities to address, and specifying positive emotions to
design for and third part has 3 steps: understanding eliciting
conditions, generating ideas, and elaborating initial ideas
It is not the products nor their material value, but what we
do with products that can make us happy . PD tries to
give meaning to individuals’ life, which will result in life
satisfaction not just limited satisfactory of one definite
product, so it would shape the way which individuals live.
6.5. An Overview of the Methods
As stated about four of different kinds of user based design
methods, here the outline of each method are presented to
have a better overview of them in Table 2.
Table 2. The outline of four user based design methods (UCD, KE, UX and PD)
How to do
Focus on users from early sections
Empirical measurement of product
Plan the UCD process
Understand and specify the context of use
Specify the user requirements
Product design solutions
Evaluate designs against requirements
Awakening pleasant feeling
Collection of Kansei words
Structuring SD scale
Collection of specimens
Classification of item/ category
Interpretation of the analyzed data
Identification of influential design elements
Design experiences instead of products
User collaboration in all of design
Investigating what people say, do and make
real time analysis
design and usage context
3D-printed product prototype
Focus on users about their positive
Guiding users to achieve better life
understanding nuances in positive emotions
determining emotional intention of a
facilitating creativity in design
As raised here, these four methods are similar to each
other but a few differences make them separated. All of them
are with the focus on users but with some differences; some
of them focus on users to define their needs and some for
defining their emotions and some focus to understand about
both needs and emotions. The other thing that is important is
that all of these methods want to be resulted in user
satisfaction except PD that tries to get long term satisfaction.
Due to the models that suggested by authors for beauty
(Figure 1.) and satisfaction in the products (Figure 4.), we
can find a relation between each of mentioned design
methods with satisfaction and beauty in products. Figure 10.
shows this relation about UCD method.
On the one hand, aesthetic judgment per se could lead to
user satisfaction, in this way, the relationship between beauty
and satisfaction in the product is shaped by aesthetic
judgment; Naturally, this judgment will also affect the
person's pleasures and expectations. On the other hand,
according to the UCD features, the most important point in
this method is the product usability. So, the satisfaction and
beauty which would be perceived from the product, would
have a relation with its function. In the case of beauty, both
experience and perception could get the product’s function
as beautiful and in the satisfaction case, the function would
fulfill user’s expectations and this fulfillment would be result
in pleasure; however UCD’s goal is not to create pleasure in
the users, so here the pleasure has less space. The smaller the
angle “α” in the object/product, the form will be more
considered in the UCD process. UCD also tries to minimize
the angle between experience and perception (β).
KE is about users’ emotion, and tries to fulfill
psychological needs more, so form is more important in this
method. Pleasure plays the powerful role in the satisfaction
case. It would have an effect on expectations, and is derived
from both form and function of the product. But the pleasure
36 Sara Ebrahimi and Ali Asghar Fahmifar: Design; Beauty and User Satisfaction
derived from the form is more important and noticeable
than the pleasure derived from the product’s function.
Furthermore the perception in the beauty section is more
important than experience, and would shape it sometimes.
The perception is also made about a form in the product
(Figure 11.). The lower the “α” angle, the more and more
powerful pleasure would be received, so the satisfaction will
Figure 10. Relation between beauty and user satisfaction in UCD method (source: authors)
Figure 11. Relation between beauty and user satisfaction in KE method (source: authors)
International Journal of Arts 2019, 9(2): 27-40 37
Figure 12. Relation between beauty and user satisfaction in UX method (source: authors)
Figure 13. Relation between beauty and user satisfaction in PD method (source: authors)
UX is the method which summarizes everything in
experiences, so the experience phase of beauty section is
the most important part of the chart, and will have a relation
with both form and function of the product; however the
experience of function is more powerful but the form
experience is important too (Figure 12.). This experience
will shape the perceptions in beauty section. The lower angle
“β” means that designers received better result of their
studies and perception is going to be a part of experience. At
the other hand the expectations, mostly about the products
function, are more important and if fulfilled would result in
pleasure. It turns out that the smaller the angle “α”, the
smaller the angle “γ” will be and satisfaction will grow.
PD seems to be more comprehensive method than
previous mentioned. Positive emotions that it expects from
the design to flourish will not be created just by the form of
38 Sara Ebrahimi and Ali Asghar Fahmifar: Design; Beauty and User Satisfaction
the product. There must be that experience which UX
discussed and so the whole product must change the way
that users live. But here we are exploring about beauty in
product and the formation of satisfaction. So by these data,
perception and experience are with the same area and so
closed to each other (so “β” is low in this model), experience
would be about form of the product according to emotional
aspect of PD, and perception would be about both form and
function. Also the pleasure is more important in the
satisfaction section but expectations are closed to that and
the “γ” would be small. Pleasure relates to form and function
of the product and expectation relates to function. In this
model if “α” angle becomes narrower, it may be possible to
estimate more satisfaction.
Moreover, Karapanos et al. (2009) identified three
different phases of product use that lasted between 1 and 3
weeks: orientation (user’s first experience with the product),
incorporation (integration of the product into the user’s daily
life) and identification (product becomes part of the user’s
self-identity). In each of the three phases, particular product
qualities are appreciated by users. In the orientation phase,
important product characteristics are learnability and
aesthetic stimulation (e.g. ‘my first impression when I saw
the box was WOW, very nice’). In the incorporation phase,
aspects such as long-term usability (e.g. ‘when I wear gloves,
I am not able to work with the product’) and usefulness (e.g.
‘I could not believe it but it had no zoom!’) become more
important to users. In the identification phase, personal and
social aspects of the product experience gain in importance
(e.g. ‘I felt good about having a better device than my
We classified satisfaction already in two main types; short
term satisfaction and long term satisfaction, which short
term satisfaction, had two levels, primary satisfaction and
afterward satisfaction. With explanations of Karapanos et al.
primary satisfaction of product would be in the orientation
phase, afterward satisfaction would be in the incorporation
phase and long term satisfaction would generated at the
identification phase. So beauty would have different
meanings in each phase. As an example in orientation phase,
beauty is about orderly proportions of the form and what
users perceive and experience about it. In other phases the
consideration of beauty would shift to product function,
usability and what users experience about the relation of
form and function. However, the long term satisfaction by
mean of life satisfaction would not be generated just with
three weeks usage of specific product and maybe for this
kind of satisfaction more factors are needed.
According to Hassenzahl , Hedonic quality is related
to Beauty both before and after use. Pragmatic quality and
Hedonic quality are related to Goodness before use, but only
Pragmatic quality is related to Goodness after use . So
primary satisfaction would be about the beauty of the
product and beauty plays a dimmer role in other kinds of
The other point that can be mentioned here is about Figure
2. the Kano model, which identified three important quality
for the product. Among these qualities, must be qualities can
be the product function and the form which shapes that, and
each product is included. One dimensional quality can be the
product with additional functions and more beautiful forms;
designers try to give this quality to all products. And the last
quality (attractive quality) is what user based designs try to
add to product design, like more need coordination, emotion,
experience, and positive emotion and positive experience.
This study was about the relationship between product
aesthetics and user satisfaction in some of user based design
methods (UCD, KE, UX, and PD). To get this purpose we
tried to introduce some new models about beauty in the
product and user satisfaction. Also we tried to know how
beauty will appear in the product and perceived by users, and
how can beauty result in user satisfaction by user based
design methods. So we introduced some new models about
beauty in the product and the way which user satisfaction is
generated. According to these models, we could show how
beauty and satisfaction in relation to each other will connect
to each of mentioned methods. The results show that beauty
which will arise from UCD is about function of the product
and experiences in users’ mind and the satisfaction will be
generated of fulfillment of users’ expectations. In KE,
perception of form awakens emotion and makes good
experiences (beauty) and satisfaction would be about the
pleasure which users find more in the form and less in
function of the product. UX tries to make good experiences
of product form and function, and this would have effect on
users’ perception. Also satisfaction in this method would be
about fulfillment of expectations which will result in
pleasure of users. In PD method there would be more
connection among pointed factors; both perception and
experience about form and function of the product are active
and in other part, both of the fulfillments of expectation and
pleasure would have effect on satisfaction.
Furthermore we discussed that satisfaction has two
general type, short term satisfaction and long term
satisfaction, and the short term one has two levels, primary
satisfaction and afterward satisfaction. Beauty in the
products would have different meanings in each of these
types and levels. In primary levels it would more about form
and its perception, and the more we go ahead, it would be
about function and its experience.
Moreover, according to Kano model, beauty can be
considered in one dimensional and attractive quality, which
would be result in more and more satisfaction of the products.
It seems that both form and function are important in these
two kinds of quality and perception and experience of them
also are consequential.
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