Tamar Ben-Bassat, Joachim Meyer and Noam Tractinsky (2006) Economic and subjectve measures of the perceived value of aesthetics and usability. ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction, Vol. 13, No. 2, pp. 210-234.
The article by Ben-Bassat et al. continues the series of articles on assessing the effect of aesthetics to the perceived usability of systems. In their experiments, Ben-Bassat et al. added to the experiment conditions two methods that bring monetary incentives to the usability test. First, they rewarded the users on the basis of their performance, and secondly, they simulated auctions in which the users had to make bids on the systems. In the last part of the tests, the users performed the tasks with the system they had got in the auction, and tried to earn extra rewards with that system.
The results showed that the users assessed usability in the post-test questionnaire to be better with the more aesthetic systems, although their actual performance was better with the low aesthetic systems. The same thing applied even if the users had a chance to experience with the system, and had monetary incentives with the reward paid. Only the bids in repeated auctions correlated with the users performance, but still, even these users assessed the high aesthetic systems slightly more usable in the post-test questionnaires.