User Experience Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for user experience researchers and experts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I can't help but look at a Mark Rothko painting from the Multiform series and see layouts for a data entry form, but that doesn't mean it would be an appropriate source of inspiration.

My interpretation: enter image description here

Are there any elements of these designs that could be applied to help with layout for functionality? Could it be the proportions, locations of the blocks, or color choice (Draws your attention to important areas.).

Would there be any benefits to the fuzzy/blurred borders?

I can appreciate the proportions, but I'd like to know if there is any design theory at work here that could be applied to UX.

Edit: This article talks about Divine Proportion. I was thinking along these lines to see if there was some other principle at work in these paintings that are also used in UX. Here are some links:,_Black,_Green_on_Orange%27,_oil_on_canvas_painting_by_Mark_Rothko,_1947,_Museum_of_Modern_Art.jpg

I would embed pictures of No 10, but I don't know about the copyright issues.

share|improve this question

closed as off topic by Charles Wesley, Matt Obee, JohnGB, Benny Skogberg, Ben Brocka Mar 26 '13 at 15:18

Questions on User Experience Stack Exchange are expected to relate to user experience within the scope defined by the community. Consider editing the question or leaving comments for improvement if you believe the question can be reworded to fit within the scope. Read more about reopening questions here.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

Any chance I could get a comment on why this was closed? I've made some changes since. – JeffO Jun 8 '13 at 2:12

This is an interesting idea. A key difference between art and something like UX design is that the meaning of art can be very vague, and abstract expressionism is by definition wide open to interpretation. Art clearly has a message but the message is not always clear, and it's crucial to understand that when applying art ideas to areas that require a clear message. But proportion and rhythm and visual music are all fair game for stealing from the art world.

Would there be any benefits to the fuzzy/blurred borders?

Currently I can't think of any, but I have no doubt in the future this will be part of the UX visual language (remember this field is in its infancy).

I think UX as it's typically defined today is lacking or underserved by an artistic or aesthetic component. Remember, art is one of the earlier forms of experience crafting, with quite a history, some of it well documented. There's a lot to learn there and apply to UX.

share|improve this answer
Would elements that are a little more concrete like proportion be a benefit. – JeffO Apr 16 '13 at 19:33

We can see many many connections between Mark Rothko's practice and data representation. That being said, what is striking on a 12"x9" canvas isn't necessarily usable at a typical form-on-screen scale.

Now let's assume your users are prepared to such data entry forms. I can see them being usable for anything related to ranking. Where the ranking options are limited and equivalent to the different coloured areas.

I don't believe that fuzziness and blurriness have a great affordance in terms of data entry. Probably more in terms of data representation.

share|improve this answer
Interesting point. I never considered the impact of the size of the original paintings. – JeffO Mar 25 '13 at 19:01

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.