Whether it is sharp or curvy, the type of form a certain object carries is a crucial to how users behave towards that object.
When it comes to websites, users make decisions in a matter of a second, consciously or unconsciously. Thus, making the design more effective helps user make easier and right decisions. The shape of the objects on the website influences this much more than it is considered to.
Lately there seems to be an overflow of the use of sharp elements in web design, whether or not it is just because of the certain esthetic or it is just what it takes to reach the goal of the website.
However, it is in human nature to prefer curved objects over sharped ones. Why so? Well, let’s take a look at some of the reasons.
1 | Sharp objects are associated with fear and threat
Even some of our first memories involve objects that are smooth and rounded and imperfect, but not sharp, rigid and 90-degree-structured. Children barely come in contact with sharp objects since they could cause them harm.
2 | Evoking emotions
Smoother objects evoke an emotional connection with the object. When looking at smooth and curved objects, it activates part of our brain associated with emotions. People are much more likely to express emotion and connect with a rounded artwork than with the sharp one.
3 | Smooth and rounded feels more natural
We rarely find sharp, concrete, precise and 90-degree-based objects in nature. In nature, all around us are imperfect and curved objects so curvaceous structures feel more organic to us. Sharp objects were usually made by humans and feel kind of external and unrelatable.
4 | Sharp objects are harder to process
When looking at curved objects, are eyes smoothly follow the contours, but while looking at sharp objects, the edges force our eyes to stop at each one of them, taking more time to process what we see and thus making it harder to process the object.
Of course, we have to keep in mind that this preference of curved over sharp objects is valid when users make simple and easy judgments over the period of a very brief exposure. Unlike that, if they were to have a longer exposure times, they would probably make a bit deeper and complex decisions. But, since digital media usually require such quick decisions, the first thesis is more likely to hold water.
It’s also up to the designer to decide what to use, whether or not it visually accompanies what they are creating and whether or not it is functional. Meeting website’s goals is number one priority.