I am learning HTML and CSS, discovering that browsers implemented rounded corners and shadows using CSS... just about the time that UI went to "flat / sharp corners" without shadows, etc. It seems sad that right when this long-sought ability arrived, we had lost interest.
I came to ask this after seeing questions and answers on this site which linked to articles about rounded corners being "easier on the eyes" (linked in an answer to this question, reminiscent of the decades-long raving about serif and sans-serif) and about "women preferring rounded corners" (and they're more than half the human race and control 63% of spending decisions so we don't want to alienate them)...
Here is a reference for what I am saying: Nielsen Norman Group article
The classical dictum implies that beauty in design results from functionality, and thus, aesthetic considerations in design should be secondary to functional considerations. Designers should focus on elements that are critical to functionality, and only after those have been identified can they start searching for the most beautiful implementation that accommodates the functionality constraints.
The point is, is this field based on research and engineering, or does it blow in the wind? If rounded corners are better, then by God we should stand up for them. Else we should realize and accept that our conclusions of 'betterness' are simply rationalizations after the fact, like most of what people do. That is not wrong, but stop calling UX a science. (and most everything else too)
I didn't write the research, or the other questions and answers on the site, I am just asking if I should take these things seriously?