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Face-ism

I was hunting for sites about "innovation" this weekend and stumbled across BusinessWeek's Innovation section. Quite literally, out of the corner of my eye, a familiar face registered in my brain...

Jesse James Garrett on Business Innovation

Jesse James Garrett. It was a nice surprise to see him writing there. After "sticking the pointer up his nose" and clicking, I enjoyed reading about ugly visual design and poor usability being worth $580 million.

Seeing Jesse's photo there, cropped to focus on his face, and then seeing his missing-top-of-the-head-and-open-collar photo reminded me of something I read over the summer about "face-ism".

My local paper reported that Bigger heads lead to better perceptions, research finds. The higher percentage of pixels devoted to the face, the more highly we think about the person. Face-ism is one of those Universal Principles of Design. Visual Framing: Study of Face-ism from the websites of the 108th US Congress (PDF, 300K, Master's thesis, 2003) appears to be the first face-ism study applied to a web site.

Anyway, based on the research, I subconsciously think more highly of Jesse from his BusinessWeek photo than from his Adaptive Path photo. Go figure!