ANNEX B.4 User Experience (UX) resources

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UX Maturity Model: From Usable to Delightful

By Sakhardande, P., Thanawala, R. (2014). UX Maturity Model: From Usable to Delightful. User Experience Magazine, 14(3). Retrieved from http://uxpamagazine.org/ux-maturity-model/ (last visit: 1/11/2014).

With UXMM, they measure the overall user experience associated with a software product or application against four distinct ascending levels of maturity:

  • Level 1: Usable products have been designed in accordance with basic design principles and best practices. These products offer a fairly good user experience with emphasis on consistency and standards. However, they lack any nuances that could be worked into design based on context of use.
  • Level 2: Useful products are those that enable users to accomplish their tasks and goals with ease, efficiency, and accuracy. These products are designed taking the end users and context of use into consideration.
  • Level 3: Desirable products are market leaders. They provide a relatively better user experience when compared to current competitors, and this inherently gives them an edge in the market, other factors remaining the same.
  •  Level 4: Delightful products are simply awesome! Products that delight have the potential to create a cult following and inspire an exceptional sense of customer loyalty.

User Experience Maturity Levels

User Experience Maturity Levels


The basis of the UXMM is a set of key UX parameters (KUXPs), attributes that influence the user experience of software applications.  These are:

Ease of Use. Is the user interface intuitive enough to be used without external aids such as the user manual or human intervention?

Speed of Use. Does the user interface facilitate a smooth and seamless interaction enabling users to accomplish goals in a minimal timeframe?

Learnability. Does the user interface adhere to predictable visual and interaction patterns to reduce learning curve?

Consistency. Do common elements work and behave in a consistent manner?

Content. Does the user interface communicate information and address users appropriately?

Accessibility. Does the interface follow basic accessibility guidelines and best practices?

Flexibility. Does the interface use inbuilt intelligence to reduce manual errors for novice to expert users?

Aesthetics. Is the user interface designed for readability and legibility and appropriate look and feel?

Recovery from Errors. Does the system aid the user in rapid recovery from errors?

Help. Does the system provide timely help? Is help easily accessible?

Brand Recall. Is the overall experience on the site in line with the projected brand of the product?

Persuasiveness. Does the product aid and encourage the users to perform certain actions that may not be primary user goals but increase the engagement factor?

Differentiation. Does the product communicate a distinct advantage over competition? Examples include unique selling point, value added features, or integration across multiple devices.

Greater Good. Does the product contribute to a “greater good” in the course of using the product, thus creating an emotional connection with end users?

 

2DES

Summary

Self-report measurement of the emotion expressed by a stimulus. 2DES is a computer program which is used to collect continuous ratings provided by the study participants.

Description

Participants report their emotion by moving the mouse in a space defined by the two bipolar dimensions valence and arousal. Both dimensions are labelled by little pictograms representing a human face (smiling of frowning for valence, with eyes and mouth wide open or closed for arousal).

Strengths

Particularly useful to study affective evaluation of product sounds

Weaknesses

A high fidelity prototype must be available

References describing the method

ENGAGE web site. Schubert, E. (1999). Measuring emotion continuously: Validity and reliability of the two-dimensional emotion-space. Australian Journal of Psychology, 51(3), 154-165.

Schubert, E. (2001). Continuous Measurement of Self-Report Emotional Response to Music. In P. Juslin and J. Sloboda (Eds.), Music and Emotion: Theory and Research. (pp. 393-414) Oxford University Press.

 

3E

Summary

3E (Expressing Experiences and Emotions) can be used during field studies to collect information about users' experiences and emotions in semi-structured way.

Description

3E (Expressing Experiences and Emotions) uses a template on which users draw and write their experiences and emotions about the evaluated application during a field study. The basic template includes a stick figure with an empty face and a speech and thought balloon that users can fill in. The template is typically a part of diary data.

Strengths

People can freely express their feelings in a non-serious format, both verbal and non-verbal.

Weaknesses

Analysing the drawings & writings is rather laborious and interpretation errors may occur. The data is on paper, so researchers need to wait for some days until the papers are delivered to them.

References describing the method

Tahti, M., Arhippainen, L., 2004. A Proposal of collecting Emotions and Experiences. Volume 2 in Interactive Experiences in HCI, pp. 195–198.

 

Aesthetics scale

Summary

Developed by Lavie and Tractinsky; aesthetic quality in particular of websites. They conducted four studies in order to develop a measurement instrument of perceived web site aesthetics. Using exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses they found that users' perceptions consist of two main dimensions, which were termed "classical aesthetics" and "expressive aesthetics".

Strengths

+ carefully developed instrument

'+ 'Aesthetics scale'

Weaknesses

- same drawbacks as with all subjective scales

References describing the method

Talia Laviea and Noam Tractinsky, Assessing dimensions of perceived visual aesthetics of web sites, International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, Volume 60, Issue 3, March 2004, Pages 269-298.

 

Affect Grid

Summary

Affect Grid is a scale designed as a quick means of assessing affect along the dimensions of pleasure-displeasure and arousal-sleepiness.

Description

The participant marks their current emotional state on a 2-dimensional 9x9 grid where arousal forms the y axis and pleasantness the x axis.

Strengths

+ simple to use

Weaknesses

- same drawbacks as with all subjective scales

- Language specific, although the terminology is rather simple

- Not widely validated

References describing the method

Russell, J. A., Weiss, A., & Mendelsohn, G. A. (1989). Affect grid: A single-item scale of pleasure and arousal. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 57, 493–502.

 

Mental Effort

Summary

Zijlstra's mental effort scale is an easy and quick to use scale that helps to determine how much (perceived) mental effort was required to complete a task; depending on the setting, product and task, and in combination with other measures, this will help in getting a clearer picture of the overall quality of a product or service - too much mental effort will be stressful, and scary, too little mental effort will be boring....

Strengths

+ validated instrument; very sensitive; easy to use by participants

'+ used in different settings

Weaknesses

needs to be used in combination with other tools to get a broader picture

References describing the method

T Meijman, F Zijlstra, M Kompier, H Mulders, 1986, The measurement of perceived effort, Ergonomics: Proceedings of the Ergonomics Society's, Taylor & Francis

http://home.zonnet.nl/waard2/mwlappA.htm

 

Perceived comfort assessment

Summary

A scale for assessing comfortability. The method description includes the steps to develop the scale, which are applicable for various other domains as well.

Description

Development of seats in the automotive industry is expensive. Physical prototypes with adequate functionalities are required to carry out tests and evaluations, which are to a great extent devoted to improve the ergonomic features in order to reduce discomfort – and to improve comfort. However, the perceived differences of ergonomic features are often small and the results from comparisons of different seat concepts are rarely significant. The human body is very adaptive and not sensitive to distinguish variations in seats. The most important factor for assessing discomfort is time, which also contributes to costly evaluations. Today, the seats developed in the automotive industry fulfil basic ergonomic criteria for "good" sit comfort, which imply that seat design has little effect on the perceived discomfort, as long as there are no basic design flaws. Few studies have been able to produce significant differences in discomfort between different chair concepts (Helander and Zhang, 2001). From a cost-efficiency perspective it may not be justified to spend the resources on expensive seat variations of ergonomic features when the outcome is small and not significant.

The method for assessing seat comfort is a set of four steps:

1. Collect factors: Collect as many words as possible that can be related to comfort or discomfort through interviews with drivers, branch magazines, literature, dictionaries Google search etc. to find factors that cover as much of the meanings of comfort and discomfort as possible.

2. Reduce factors: Decide the criteria for reducing or replacing less useful factors, e.g. ambiguous factors, factors not applicable on new seats, such as dirty, worn out etc., extreme factors and useful in a seat evaluation, only one factor of the same word, no superlatives.

3. Separate factors: Carry out interviews with the relevant target group, e.g. truck drivers. Factors that are found to be related to, e.g. driver seats are divided into Comfort and Discomfort.

4. Group factors: Group the Comfort factors according to affinity and similarity. For this stage focus groups can be used to sort the factors into categories.

When the collection and compilation of the relevant factor are done, a sample of test persons evaluate different seat concepts and rate each factor on a seven point interval scale. The test persons can rate each factor with a stroke on the scale line for each seat concept, e.g. marking them with A and B respectively, which makes it easier for the test persons to do comparative ratings of the seat concepts.

The data is statistically treated using parametric tests (t-tests) and non-parametric tests (Wilcoxon signed rank test).

Strengths

The underlying problem is that the terms “Comfort” and “Discomfort” are generally regarded as two end-points on the same scale. By defining “Comfort” and “Discomfort” as separate factors, where “Discomfort” refers to physical experiences and “Comfort” refers to mental impression of seats, much of the problems associated with sit comfort evaluation can be solved. Zhang et al. (1996) identified independent factors of comfort and discomfort in office chairs and found that the comfort factors were unaffected by the time spent in the chairs, implying that Comfort could be assessed immediately and, in addition, provide significant differences between chairs.

Moreover, two seats would elicit different ratings of Comfort, depending on, e.g. the aesthetics of the cloth material (Zhang et al, 1996). Thus, people's impression of aesthetics affects their perception and preference of seats (Helander and Zhang, 2001).

For the automotive industry, this approach to Comfort and Discomfort give rise to more efficient and cost-efficient seat evaluations by focusing on the perceived comfort (unless there are no obvious violations of biomechanics design rules), with clear results in terms of the users' preferences.

Weaknesses

The collection of comfort factors and the process of reducing the collection of factors are critical in order to obtain factors that are relevant for the type of seat and for the sample of representative seat users. Moreover, it is important to secure that the evaluated seats fulfil the basic and the ergonomic/biomechanical criteria.

NB! It is important to keep in mind that this method does not replace research and evaluations for improved ergonomic/biomechanical features of seats.

References describing the method

Helander, M.G., Zhang, L. 2001. Forget about Ergonomics in Chair Design? Focus on Aesthetics and Comfort!, Proceedings of The International Conference on Affective Human Factors Design, Asean Academic Press, London.

Helander, M. G. and Zhang, L. 1997. Field studies of comfort and discomfort in sitting, Ergonomics, vol. 40, no. 9, pp. 895-915. Sohlman, H. and Staaf, H. (2006) Subjective Evaluations of Seat Comfort, identifying factors of comfort and discomfort in truck seats, Master thesis, Linköping university, Sweden.

Sentence completion

Summary

After using a system, a participant is handed a set of beginnings of sentences that she then completes. The beginnings of the sentences trigger the user think the experiential aspects of product use, e.g."When I use this product, I feel myself…", or "The appearance of this product is…"

Strengths

The participants can freely express themselves so the data is more reliable than traditional questionnaires (which may not provide the right options).

A fun method both for participants and researchers.

The tests are easily administered

Can be used to assess motivations or attitudes

Weaknesses

Data analysis is quite laborious.