A ‘good view’ has rarely been a topic of rigorous study. However, many forms of evidence reinforce the importance of sky, trees and animals, people and pathways, landmarks and water as elements of strongly preferred views. People are often inarticulate about view content or quality, but they will complain of lost views, especially a water view.

Bigger, wider views are almost always preferred, but absolute size of objects within the view seems of little importance. There are interesting perceptual distortions in size based on how interesting or disturbing the observer finds an element of view to be. Some degree of change within a view is engaging, with intermittent or unpredictable events often generating the greatest interest. These may be ‘alerting events’ that cue an observer to pay closer attention.

Many types of window systems balance inward and outward views. Scrims and veils control attention inward and outward, and can be emotionally reassuring, or troubling, depending on context. Reflections can also create ambiguity and interest, or be disorienting and frustrating, depending on the intent of the viewer. Coherence and legibility are primary desires for most observers.

Spatial frequency is a concept that helps to define scale and detail. While large spatial frequencies convey the most important information (structure), we seem to get the most joy out of small spatial frequencies (detail). Movement, whether of the object or observed, also adds information and increases the coherence of a view. Fractal relationships and perspective allow us to mentally zoom in and out and they provide special satisfaction. A simple construct that helps to ensure a balance of most of the positive elements described above is a ‘Three-layered views.’