Interesting discussion on Alexander's structural features of beauty :

  • Levels of Scale: within or around a given center, other centers should be within a factor of 4 to a factor of 10 of the same size
  • Strong Centers: centers shouldn't overlap too much; they should have their own identity
  • Alternating Repetition
  • Boundaries: each center gives rise to fuzzy centers that enclose the center itself, forming rather wide boundaries
  • Positive Space: the space waiting to become a center; a latent center
  • Good Shape: there are simple shapes that are pleasing to the eye (triangles, circles, stars, etc.)
  • Local Symmetries
  • Deep Interlock and Ambiguity: like city-country fingers in [Alexander+77]
  • Contrast
  • Graded Variation: step-by-step gradients pointing toward the center and strengthening it
  • Roughness: particularly from centers that bump into each other as the system unfolds
  • Echoes: repeated structural similarities
  • The Void: periodic cleaning out or self-organizing that preserves overall structure by cleaning out overly intense centers
  • Simplicity and Inner Calm: "It is essential that the great beauty and intricacy of ornament o only just far enough to bring this calm into being, and not so far that it destroys it."
  • Not-Separateness: eliminate exaggerated difference; unification

Plus a discussion on where do we find geometry in software? In layout of source-code? In distribution diagrams of objects or processes? In visualization of processes ... turning time into space ( eg. HistoryFlow, TheSwingBetweenTimeAndSpace)

Commentary by BradAppleton : http://users.rcn.com/bradapp/docs/NoNoO.html