This is a post by Emma Rudeck on the Concurrent Engineering Site.
DOES BETTER LOOKING = EASIER TO USE? OR HOW SUPERFICIAL ARE WE AS USERS OF PRODUCTS?
This is something that’s been widely studied. For instance, the Hitachi Design Center asked 252 people to rate the ease of use of 26 ATM designs. The study revealed that participants were more likely to view a product as easy to use if it appealed to them visually.