This paper presents a critical review of the debate over form and function with a particular focus on the impact that Sullivan’s (1896) dictum “form ever follows function” has had in the area of Web design. It is the thesis of this paper that such a debate is founded on a misunderstanding of the meaning of the dictum, and that a resolution can be found in adopting the intended meaning that “form and function should be one”. Form is defined in this paper in terms of a Web site’s aesthetic properties, such as beauty and style, but further, as a manifestation of the site’s usefulness, usability and desirability. Such a position acknowledges the importance of function and the role that form plays in enhancing the user’s experience of the Web. Proceeding from this assumption, several strategies are outlined that suggest ways in which designers can create Web sites that incorporate elements of form and function to enhance the experience of the user, while also acknowledging the ethical responsibilities of the designer.
|Keywords:||Form, Function, Aesthetic, Usability, Accessibility, Web Design, Humanism|
Program Director (Media Arts), School of Communication, University of South Australia, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
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