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What standards do we need to follow while testing aesthetic conditions of a software?Is there any particular set of rules/standards to follow. i.e. if we are writing test cases for it what do we need to keep in mind for testing because everyone has their own aesthetic sense.

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I don't know if it answers your question, but User Experience is all about making applications humanly usable, and does address aesthetics in some ways. –  DumbNic Oct 17 '13 at 16:41
    
I think it's most important what you are testing it for. Is there a design briefing that needs to be matched? e.g. if it has to look playful and its all in black and white, that' wont work. But more importantly, there should be user stories or use cases. and test cases should relate to those instead of "aesthetics". –  KMSTR Oct 18 '13 at 6:53
    
I get a feeling that when you ask about aesthetic conditions, you really want to ask about usability and user experience testing. Because aesthetics means only "beauty". –  Alph.Dev Oct 18 '13 at 23:56

3 Answers 3

I do not think it's possible to "test" for aesthetics, nor formulate "rules" for it.

As Plato said, "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder."

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Larger companies create methods/checklists to review aesthetics and correct design based on feedback, which is often called "testing". But that's just a reaction to your word choice. I do agree with you. There are no global standards/rules. Aesthetics is too subjective for that. –  Alph.Dev Oct 18 '13 at 23:51
    
Brand or identity guidelines are not aesthetic tests in my opinion. They are guidelines as the title suggests. Aesthetic means beauty. You can't test for beauty. Perhaps it's merely a language barrier here. –  Scott Oct 19 '13 at 1:54
    
@Scott But we do test these factors, call it aesthetic or usability ones but we definitely test them e.g. Is the general screen background of correct colour? Because I may like Light color but someone may like dark so that's why I've asked "Is there any standard for it?" So there is need of such standards to be designed for such factors. –  goodie Oct 19 '13 at 15:24

You define your own standards by the needs and opinions of YOUR PRODUCT's end-users. No other standards for software aesthetics testing exist or matter.

If you really care about how the looks of your software will affect your end-users, I suggest you gather as much feedback from them as possible.

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@ Alph.Dev But what if they are also not sure about it and leave it on our expertise to make a user-friendly interface. Then? –  goodie Oct 19 '13 at 15:25
    
Ask for things that they dislike, then always ask why. If they can't answer why, you will have to think yourself, why would this user find that color distracting, text hard to read or information hard to find. Why didn't he understand how a certain functionality works? From personal experience I can say that by far far most effective method for this is to stand (as a developer) behind the back of the real end-user, while he tries your release/update for the first time. If you have a large user base, set up a feedback collecting system, where users can submit and vote for ideas & complaints –  Alph.Dev Oct 19 '13 at 15:45

I think some of those 'aesthetic conditions' you refer to can be measured, but to prevent subjective opinions from taking over, I'd analyse them rather as a consequence of measuring usability.

You can test how easily a user locates information, how likely he/she is to click on a call to action. I think it's ok to assume that, if not necessarily beautiful, an easy to use interface will probably mean a pleasing interface (good distribution of elements, readability, white space, consistency, etc).

UX tests allow for feedback, too. I've run and taken 5-minute tests that asked for ratings on 'aesthetic beauty', using direct or indirect questions.

I don't think there is a set of rules, but there has been some interesting work around the subject:

From Interaction Design Foundation's Visual Aesthetics in human-computer interaction and interaction design, the conclussion reads:

As was pointed out by Tractinsky, the visual judgment on beauty is very fast, thus plays an important role in drawing the attention of customers. And the visual beauty is dominated by rather simple and traditional rules. But too much emphasis on the beauty will lead to a difficult-to-use designs

The article divides aesthetic input as subjective quality characteristics: Beauty, pleasure or hedonic attributes; and the objective quality characteristics: Usability, functionality, performance, reliability, safety, and maintenability.

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Even if a product is attractively designed and have an acceptable level of objective quality, that product will be useless if it doesn't have a meaning.

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