Appeal as a Function

Today my writing took me in an interesting discussion related to the importance of "appeal". So, time for another installment of "this probably won't be in the final dissertation, but it should be".

In my experience, I do not recall seeing the idea of a product being “appealing” as a written down requirement. Maybe it should be. So how is “appeal” generally communicated? Appeal is definitely communicated by function, but in terms of first impressions and other less-measurable “experience”-based metrics, I feel that appeal is at least partially, if not mostly, defined by “form”. I base this assumption on repeated personal observations of toddlers. Put a shiny and/or glowing object within reach of a toddler, and they will move heaven and earth to reach it. Another, less relevant, but definitely compelling example is the character of Gollum in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. Is he in love with the “ring” because of form or function? I would say that it is at least as much form as function. The “ring” is a magical object of great power, yet Gollum is not coveting its functionality. He is coveting its sensory experiences: visual, tactile, and probably more.