A fantastic exercise for quickly establishing aesthetic values is the 20-second gut test. Typically done as part of the project kick-off meeting, the exercise involves showing the stakeholders a handful of pertinent websites (about twenty to thirty of them) for twenty seconds each. The sites you choose should be a healthy blend of industry-specific sites and other visually interesting sites from other industries. For added believability, you can photoshop in your client’s logo in place of the site’s actual logo. For each site presented, each person votes on a scale from 1 to 10, where a score of 1 means “If this were our site I would quit my job and cry myself to sleep,” while a score of 10 means “If this were our site I would be absolutely ecstatic!” Instruct participants to consider visual properties they find interesting, such as typography, color, density, layout, illustration style, and general vibe.
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