"Aesthetics have a bad rap in geek circles. CmdrTaco infamously slammed the original iPod with “No wireless. Less space than a nomad. Lame”. In other words, it’s all about the features and the functionality. If you don’t do more than the other guy, you’re useless. I don’t agree, but I accept.
It’s when the argument is raised from the “I” and to the “them” that it starts getting ridiculous. In arguing some new, ugly IBM laptop over the MacBook Air, I read the following and thought this is exactly where it goes wrong: “If you’re buying a laptop to impress girls at Starbucks (in which case, you might want to do some serious self-evaluation), this ain’t the one for you”. In other words, people only buy beautiful products to impress other people (and that’s a shallow thing to do).
It’s actually not so much that this position is ridiculous, it’s more that I feel sorry for someone holding it. I get so much enjoyment out of surrounding myself with beautiful things that I feel sad for anyone missing out on that. Aesthetics is a feature in itself. One that I — and most the rest of the human race — is perfectly willing to let trump other functionality.
I think you’ve fundamentally misunderstood why people buy beautiful products, if you think it’s all about projection. While there’s certainly something to that (and I see absolutely no shame in that either!), it’s at the core about people feeling good about that which is pretty. That doesn’t make us shallow, that just makes us human." (Continued via 37signals) [Usability Resources]