A question was posted in one of the on-line groups I participate in: what purpose does beauty serve in the design of a product, and what value does it have? Behind the question seems to be the presumption that, in many peoples’ eyes, aesthetics is a secondary consideration to function. In medical product design that is certainly true, but only by a matter of degrees. Function is absolutely paramount. But people often choose one product over another for purely aesthetic reasons – to a greater extent than is realized – given a choice among products with similar functionality and usability. Emotion plays a large role in how we make decisions (whether we admit it or not). All things being equal, everyone would rather interact with an elegantly designed device than one to which little thought was given to aesthetic aspects of the design. I alluded to the importance of aesthetics in this post. Proper, robust functionality and ease-of-use are the main drivers in medical product design. But beauty adds considerable value. Don’t underestimate it.