Interface design and usability
As Anoniem Anno Nu is centered on art, I envisioned bringing the theme back in the blog posts I wrote about the website. With the assignment being three blogposts, I came up with the idea of a tryptich – a (often Christian themed) three-panel piece with the mid-section being the most important and the side-panels playing a supportive role. In this case, value co-creation and collective intelligence taking the main stage, while pricing strategies and interface design played the respective roles of deutera- and tritagonist. So, in line with the theme of art, it seemed self-evident to discuss the importance of aesthetics and design as the cornerstones of a website experience.
Research done by Hartman et al. (2010) have identified the value of quality website aesthetics and design in enhancing usability. Put differently, if a website has a pleasing aesthetic with an emphasis on visual design, it is more likely to be found easy to navigate through and, hence, users will be more likely to stay longer on the page and come back to it more often. This is seemingly good news for AAN as its website interface is visual, clear and playful.
However, a website’s content does become more important as the website’s users become more experienced and when they have a clear goal or task at hand. In the case of AAN, its visitors are artists and art enthusiasts who, most likely, will want a more enveloping visual experience than the website’s current ‘flat’ layout. (See the picture above). It wouldn’t be surprising if the young, artistic crowd that AAN’s founder Pieter Jan Glerum wants to attract is instead precluded from the experience through a lack of visual and substantial engagement. For some great design ideas and examples, take a look at www.webbyawards.com.
Moreover, if the idea was to bring buyers in close contact with sellers, there are a large amount of steps and time involved in actually being able to buy an art piece:
- going to the facebook page and ‘liking’ an artwork;
- the artwork getting enough votes from other to be sold;
- going to the auction where the piece will be sold; and
- being the highest bidder on the piece.
This brings us back to the previous post on AAN, where we asked the question ‘why would art buyers engage with the website?’. Yes, previously we settled on a) the love of art, b) financial benefits if the painting would reap benefits as an investment and, in the case of adopting profiles and review systems, c) the glory of buying a great art piece or being seen as a great reviewer. Nonetheless, these steps would still need to be taken to actually own an art piece that was submitted to the site. Therefore, I suggest Glerum starts working on a web shop where artists can sell their works quicker, and art buyers can save time and effort. After all, the young, affluent target group that Glerum aims for, is busy group with little time on their hands.
- Hartmann, J., A. Sutcliffe, and A. de Angeli, “Investigating attractiveness in web user interfaces,” Proceedings of the SIGCHI conference on Human factors in computing systems – CHI ’07, ACM (ed.), ACM Press, New York, pp. 387-396, 2007.
- Malone, Thomas W., Robert Laubacher, and Chrysanthos Dellarocas. “The Collective Intelligence Genome.” MIT Sloan Management Review 51.3 (2010): 21-31.
- Özpolat, Koray, et al. “Research Note-The Value of Third-Party Assurance Seals in Online Retailing: An Empirical Investigation.” Information Systems Research 24.4 (2013): 1100-1111.