Although used a lot, the phrase 'Look and feel' of a web application's assets seems a little inaccurate.

Is it not better to change this common phrasing to 'look and character' because we really don't feel much about something displayed on the screen- but this something could have a character e.g "it's rough, it looks sexy, vibrant, irritating, annoying".

You feel me?

closed as off topic by RegDwigнt Dec 29 '11 at 15:13

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"User experience" comes to mind. It even has an abbreviation: UX

  • I think this is indeed more accurate. The experience could encompass the feel, looks and any other observation on the matter. So simple and nice. – leon May 6 '11 at 10:34
  • Or it's also abbreviated to UE – tinyd Sep 21 '11 at 11:01

According to wikipedia

In software design, look and feel is a term used in respect of a graphical user interface and comprises aspects of its design, including elements such as colors, shapes, layout, and typefaces (the "look"), as well as the behavior of dynamic elements such as buttons, boxes, and menus (the "feel"). The term can also refer to aspects of an API, mostly to parts of an API which are not related to its functional properties. The term is used in reference to both software and websites.

I think the term look and feel makes sense in this matter because, after all, what you see is what you get or, in other words, what you see makes you feel it's sexy, vibrant, rather than irritating or annoying or anything else. I am not sure whether you are native english speaker or not, but look and character does not make much sense in english.

  • I understand the Wikipedia excerpt. The thing is, say you meet someone at some social arrangement. The first sense we use is sight- we look at them (although some tend to use other means). By 'observing' them we create the notion of their character- "gosh he's interesting/annoying in the way he does xyz". Even by feeling their touch we can also add to this 'character' thing we are building- "mmm touchy". How they present themselves to just our sense of sight builds up a character profile. Back to something you see on-screen, you are in fact not feeling anything but perhaps characterising it? – leon May 6 '11 at 7:10
  • @leonxki: "feel" doesn't necessarily refer to tactition. In this case it refers more to an emotional feeling. – Joachim Sauer May 6 '11 at 7:45
  • @Joachim - This is what I'm questioning- isn't there a word we can use for 'Not necessarily referring to tactition, more to an emotional feeling...' when describing the perception of a webpage? To settle on just 'feel' as I said, seems a little lazy wrt software/GUIs. – leon May 6 '11 at 8:26
  • "feel" refers to how it handles. Think of a web site like a car. You want to make sure that it both looks good but also that it has a good feel to how you're accustomed to driving. Apart from this, "look and feel" is an expression which means what you want it to mean, so why reinvent the wheel? – Neil May 6 '11 at 8:30

Popping over from UX.SE to clarify a little. My apologies for bumping an old topic with an additional answer - I would comment if I could.

While not being an expert in UX, I would argue that "look and feel" is a subset of User Experience and not the entirety of it. User Experience encompasses not only the visual style of something, but also the perceptions and emotions that go along with using that something.

"Look and feel" describes more the visual style of the application/site: colors, sizes, fonts, or anything that you'd usually be able to change via "skins" or "themes".

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