University of Oulu

Rajanen, Mikko (2021) De gustibus non est disputandum, but usability is not a matter of taste. In: Peter Bednar et al. (eds.) Proceedings of the 7th International Workshop on Socio-Technical Perspective in IS Development (STPIS 2021). Virtual conference in Trento, Italy, October 11-12, 2021. (pp. 189-197). Ceur-ws.org. http://ceur-ws.org/Vol-3016/paper16.pdf

De gustibus non est disputandum, but usability is not a matter of taste

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Author: Rajanen, Mikko1
Organizations: 1INTERACT Research Unit, University of Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.6 MB)
Persistent link: http://urn.fi/urn:nbn:fi-fe202201199482
Language: English
Published: RWTH Aachen University, 2021
Publish Date: 2022-01-19
Description:

Abstract

De gustibus non est disputandum”, or “In matters of taste, there can be no disputes” is an ancient Roman maxim. It posits that everyone’s individual preferences are subjective opinions that cannot be right or wrong, and therefore such matters of taste should not be argued about as there is no universal truth to be found. Usability is an important quality characteristic of software, systems, and services, and it is vital in facilitating the rich interaction between users and technology, the social systems and technical systems in the socio-technical context. Although the concept of usability has been evolving over time to match the constantly developing socio-technical landscape, many developers, managers and users still view usability as a subjective matter of taste, therefore undermining its importance. This position paper highlights the importance of separating subjective characteristics related to user satisfaction in usability and user interface design, such as look and feel, from universal characteristics of good design. By drawing parallels between the concept of usability and the Vitruvian architectural design principle of venustas or beauty, this paper argues that usability and user interface design can be more objectively characterized through concepts of universal beauty such as symmetry and harmony, while the more subjective matters of taste could be better encompassed by the user experience and service design. Furthermore, this paper discusses the relationships between user interface design, usability, user experience, and service design.

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Series: CEUR workshop proceedings
ISSN: 1613-0073
ISSN-E: 1613-0073
ISSN-L: 1613-0073
Issue: 3016
Pages: 189 - 197
Host publication: Proceedings of the 7th International Workshop on Socio-Technical Perspective in IS Development (STPIS 2021). Virtual conference in Trento, Italy, October 11-12, 2021
Host publication editor: Bednar, Peter
Nolte, Alexander
Rajanen, Mikko
Islind, Anna Sigridur
Hult, Helena Vallo
Zaghloul, Fatema
Ravarini, Aurelio
Braccini, Alessio Maria
Conference: International Workshop on Socio-Technical Perspective in IS Development
Type of Publication: A4 Article in conference proceedings
Field of Science: 113 Computer and information sciences
Subjects:
Copyright information: © 2021 Copyright for this paper by its authors. Use permitted under Creative Commons License Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0).
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