For technical communication to be effective, it MUST be aesthetically pleasing. For something to be aesthetically pleasing, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it has to have pretty pictures and color. What I am referring to is the organization of the information. Information must be organized in a way that is pleasing and easy for the audience to navigate. Sometimes, that organization includes color and images, but white space and font choices also contribute to the organization and aesthetic appeal of a document.
We find things aesthetically appealing when they create a sense of harmony. Harmony is pleasing to the eye and enjoyable to the audience. Harmony is important in technical communication because it engages the viewer and it creates an inner sense of order, and a balance in the visual experience. If a document is not harmonious, then it can easily become chaotic or boring. A lack of harmony can prevent the reader from being engaged.
Aesthetic appeal is important in every aspect of technical communication, but especially in website design. With a million sites in existence and only a click away, websites have to use aesthetics to capture the short attention span of the audience. Once the they capture the attention of the audience, they have to find ways to use aesthetics to keep their attention.
Aesthetics can make technical communication less effective when they are used incorrectly. If too much color or imagery is used, it can distract the reader from the actual information. The first example that comes to mind is the use of aesthetics in power-points. Power-points usually contain too many unnecessary images and incorrect use of visuals, making it difficult for the viewer to focus on the relevant information.
Technical communication doesn’t always have to be entertaining or fun, but it must always be aesthetically pleasing. Utility and usability go hand in hand with aesthetics, because in order to meet the goals of utility and usability, certain aesthetic guidelines must be met.