Re “Why Good Dancers are Attractive.”

BBC Staff, (2005). “Why good dancers are attractive.” BBC News. Retrieved on 11 October, 2010:

Summary: A song accompanied by an incredible dance can be an exhilarating experience. We have always loved our dancers who rhythmically move their bodies to music. According to this article we not only love them, but find them attractive too. Our mind is biased to seek partners who have symmetry, and good dancers tend to be symmetrical. So by transitivity and motion-capture cameras researchers from the Rutgers university have established that good dancers are attractive.

Charles Darwin suggested that dance was part of courtship ritual in various species. Yet another research by Dr William Brown suggests that women tend to be more selective when choosing a mate as they bear the majority of childcare burden. So they might seeks partners who exhibit better symmetry as it projects a partner who can be confident and assertive. As researchers have established that symmetry is a trait we might passively observe, designers can exploit this trait of ours.

Conceptual Design: Given that we find symmetrical people attractive, we can extend this objects to as well. Symmetry is one such quality where we dont want it explicitly, but tend to like objects that exhibit symmetry. So designers can make the products more aesthetic by designing a symmetrical product. Symmetrical products can project a good design and well designed products have a good chance to be bought in the market.

Interaction Design:  Designers can effectively use our perception of symmetry to highlight objects and catch our attention. For instance choosing a non-symmetrical touch amid a symmetrical overall design, we can make users focus on that feature with non-symmetry to “jumps out” at users. So it might be a great way of getting attention. This would help the user by forcing him to perform actions that are essential when interacting with a system. This way symmetry helps the product to be understandable and self-explanatory.

Interface Design: Poorly designed and unsymmetrical products are a turnoff, as it is a commonly used parameter to judge quality and effectiveness of the product. This is very similar to judging a person to be healthy and attractive as they are dancers. So it is imperative to spend time on the products look and feel.

  1 comment for “Re “Why Good Dancers are Attractive.”

  1. October 19, 2010 at 1:13 pm

    A few additional thoughts on design & symmetry:

    1. Symmetry is used extensively in the layout of pages, both in print and on the Web. Poorly designed (unsymmetrical) pages are a turn off and readers judge the content by its presentation.

    2. The shape (physical) of the product is often used as an indication of its quality and not only attractiveness. A car that’s out of balance gives an impression of poor mechanical design as well as poor look and feel. Since most us are not mechanics, the only way for us to make a judgment on the “goodness” of the car is by evaluating its looks. This is similar to judging health by the symmetry of dancing.

    3. Symmetry in interaction design helps the user find functions: buttons, levels, menus, etc. Consider the cockpit of an aircraft. Humans have a mirror symmetry (two hands, two eyes, etc.). A symmetrical arrangement of controls makes it easier to remember and to scan the visual field for the pilot. Check out the photos of cockpits on the post on the history of usability:
    Symmetry helps with ergonomics, especially bilateral/mirror symmetry.

    There are other considerations as well. For example, just consider the fashion industry, architecture, furniture design…

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