Our minds are terrific at finding patterns all by themselves. Your mind constantly tries to make sense of the chaos around you by connecting the dots on its own. Therefore, one of the easiest things for it to test is when something appears “out of aspect”, “out of gamut”, wonky, foreign, unaccustomed, or vexing. Things that look like they are intentional and “supposed to be” are an instant credibility mark. They don’t draw attention or raise suspicion. They aren’t distractions.
Visual, aural, aromatic, textural, and otherwise perceptual design is expensive in time and resources to plan-for and implement. Whether on a promotion-side or use-side, the design of something for consumption or activity is a science and an art. It takes people whole careers to emerge as experts in certain disciplines. And it takes one oddity to make grave ripples of commerce or other actions.
Whether a document, a thank-you card, an outfit, a website, a showroom, or a seminar, it is looking unintentional that can deduct the most points from someone’s opinion.
When developing applications where the data can vary wildly, it is important to ensure that there are no holes, spaces, missteps, or uncommon appearances that might tip a user’s hand that something is “not like the others.”