AXE (Anticipated eXperience Evaluation)

Method suitability

Study type

XField studies
XLab studies
Online studies
Questionnaire

Development phase

XConcepts
XEarly prototypes
Functional prototypes
Products on market

Studied period of experience

XBefore usage
Snapshots
An episode
Long-term UX

Evaluator / Info provider

UX experts
XOne user at a time
Groups of users
Pairs of users

Data

XQualitative
Quantitative

Applications

XWeb services
XPC software
XMobile software
XHardware designs
Other:

Requirements

Trained researcher
Special equipment

Summary

AXE is a qualitative method that gives an initial perspective on the user experience for a product or a service. It is a method that involves singular users in an interview setting. The method builds on using visual stimuli to make evaluation participants imagine a use situation and to reveal
their attitudes, use practices and valuations. AXE is both an evaluative method and a method for collecting suggestions for improvement. The results connect perceived product attributes with different dimensions of user experience.

Description

The AXE approach can be divided in three major steps: concept briefing, concept evaluation, and data analysis.
Prior to the evaluation the design team has to define the design targets against which the results ought to be compared to. The establishment of design targets gives the development team a shared understanding of the goals throughout the development stages and the ability to assess whether user’s perception of the concept matches the goals.

CONCEPT BRIEFING
At the beginning of the evaluation session the concept needs to be presented to participants each time in the same manner and order to guarantee comparable results. Typically the concept is conveyed through description and use scenarios. Also mock-ups should be used to clarify and better illustrate the concept idea.

CONCEPT EVALUATION
AXE utilizes image-pairs as stimuli to aid participants in reflecting and expressing their experiences, attitudes, opinions and beliefs towards a given product concept. The deployed image-pairs are composed to display a contrast and linked through a scale to strengthen the idea of bipolarity. The scale is therefore not a measuring scale but an aid to assist participants during the evaluation interview to better express their perception of the product concept and to indicate their preferences.

DATA ANALYSIS
Subsequent to the interview, the data is transcribed and coded according to predefined categories. Following the coding of the data, it is sorted based on perceived product feature, associated attribution and by positive, negative and not applicable evaluations. This allows the development teams to quickly identify the perceived strengths and weaknesses of the general concept and its individual features.

Strengths

The method does not make any presuppositions of what is important but lets users define freely their valuations and points of interest. Furthermore AXE provides deep insights into the participants real life context. The execution of AXE does not require specific training or interviewing skills due to the design of the method, allowing software developers, designers or other relevant stakeholders to facilitate an evaluation session.

Weaknesses

- does not suit longitudinal studies that easily
- comparability between similar concepts
- no data about evaluating complex concepts
- requires visual literacy from participants
- time consuming

References describing the method

Gegner, L. and Runonen, M. 2012. For What it is Worth: Anticipated eXperience Evaluation. 8th International Conference on Design and Emotion (London, UK, 2012). https://reseda.taik.fi/Taik/jsp/taik/Publication_Types.jsp?id=23583813

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