Methods to study UX before usage

The methods in this category evaluate participants’ perception of the system before they have interacted with it. The material for evaluation may include sketches or 3D models of industrial designs, graphics, storyboards, scenarios, etc.

AXE (Anticipated eXperience Evaluation)

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.

Affect Grid

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

Contextual Laddering

One-to-one interviewing technique (qualitative data gathering) + quantitative data analysis technique. Preferably to be done in context.


Emocards provide a non-verbal method for users to self-report their emotions. Flash cards or single sheet of a paper.

Emotion Cards

Provide a way for users to quickly document emotions at a specific moment

Experience clip

When collecting data about user experience evoked by mobile acpplications, one user uses the mobile application to be evaluated, and another uses a mobile phone to shoot clips about usage and expressions of experiences. The two users know each others, and interact in natural situations and environment without presence of researcher. The method takes use of the social interaction between the user and someone the user knows well.

Exploration test

Etnographic test for evaluating user's perception of a design

Fun Toolkit

Fun Toolkit comprised four special tools, a Smileyometer, a Funometer, an Again - Again Table, and a Fun Sorter and also supported the idea of measuring remembrance and of using video footage to score engagement. Method to measure fun with 5 to 10 years old children. Fun Toolkit consits of several tools, which measure the three fun dimensions expectations, engagement, and endurability.

Group-based expert walkthrough

It is a scenario based usability inspection method, aiming to identify usability-problems, possible design improvements and successful/good design solutions in a given user interface. The evaluations are conducted as group usability inspections and require no previous training of the evaluators. Thus the method supports evaluators not accustomed to usability inspections. The group-based expert walkthrough is particularly suited for early evaluations of applications specific to a particular work domain. The method is grounded on the assumption that usability-problems and possible design improvements identified by work-domain experts utilized as evaluators had far higher impact on the subsequent development processes than these identified by usability-experts. Combined with other methods, such as probing material it goes beyond the usability aspect and collects UX issues.

I.D. Tool

(From the ENGAGE Web site description:) I.D. Tool identifies the physical design attributes that a product has in order to evoke the desired experience by the target customers. This is uncovered by mapping the user's mental reactions that creates the immediate affective impressions of the product as well as the long term opinions towards it.

Kansei Engineering Software

The software follows the Kansei Engineering procedure suggested by Schütte (2006). {Additional info: Kansei Engineering is a method for translating feelings and impressions into product parameters. The method was invented in the 1970ies by Prof. Nagamachi at Kure University (now Hiroshima International University). Prof. Nagamachi recognized that companies often want to quantify the customer's impression of their products. Kansei Engineering can "measure" the feelings and shows the correlation to certain product properties. In consequence products can be designed in a way, which responds the intended feeling. Source:

It uses techniques such as Semantic differential technique (Osgood, 1957) and the Quantification Theory Type I (Komazawa and Hajashi, 1976)


Lab study: Combination of qualitative and quantitative measures for tasks.

Multiple Sorting Method

This method is a variation of the Repertory Grid Technique, reported elsewhere in this methods toolkit.

Perceived Comfort Assessment

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

Playability heuristics

Playability heuristics evaluate the playability aspect within games. Apart from usability problems, the heuristics can reveal the experiential aspects of game play.


Emotional responses elicited by consumer products might be difficult to verbalize because their nature is subtle (low intensity) and often mixed (i.e. more than one emotional response at the same time). So, emotional responses to products might be difficult to measure with verbal questionnaires. Instead of relying on the use of words, respondents can report their emotions with the use of expressive cartoon animations. In PrEmo, 14 emotions are portrayed by an animation of dynamic facial, bodily, and vocal expressions.

Product Personality Assignment

Participants are given a selection of product designs and a questionnaire of different personalities that they assign to designs (list of Briggs-Myers, e.g. "sensible", "friendly"). They are also asked about the reasons for the selections.

Product Semantic Analysis (PSA)

A semantic scale that is built for each evaluation case separately via user interviews and by using product semantics as the theoretical basis.

Property checklists

A structured way to do expert evaluation: the expert goes through a checklist of design goals for different product properties (form, colour, materials, graphics, sounds, functionality, interaction design).

Psychophysiological measurements

E.g. heart beat, skin perspiration, facial muscles tell about the emotional state of the user. The physiological reactions are recorded with sensors attached to the participant. This objective data can be used in combination with self-report data to find out what the user experienced.

QSA GQM questionnaires

Based on the fact the motivation is acknowledged to be one of the several aspects of UX, the QSA-GQM technique measures the intrinsic motivation of people about knowledge acquisition.

Repertory Grid Technique (RGT)

RGT is a technique for eliciting and evaluating people's subjective experiences of interacting with technology, through the individual way they construe the meanings of members of the set of artifacts under investigations. It thus attempts to capture how users experience things, what the experience means for them, and covers both emotionally- based constructs (warm-cold) and more “rational” ones (professional-popular). Kelly suggested the Repertory Grid Technique (RGT) as a methodological extension of his Personal Construct Theory (Kelly, 1955). Kelly argued that we make sense of our world through our own ‘construing' of it. That is, we tend to model what we find in the world according to a number of personal constructs, which are bipolar in nature. According to Kelly, a ‘construct' is a single dimension of meaning for a person allowing two phenomena to be seen as similar and thereby as different from a third (Bannister & Fransella, 1985).

Semi-structured experience interview

Face to face or online interview. Ask people what they think, feel, experience

UX Expert evaluation

UX experts use their expertise of users and UX theories to evaluate UX of a system.

UX laddering

UX Laddering is an adapted interview method and adapted data analysis process for investigating the user experience, adapted from Laddering in consumer research and based upon Means-end Theory. The goal of laddering -as with all means-end approaches- is to identify and understand the linkages between key perceptual elements across the range of attributes, consequences and values. Therefore, UX Laddering helps researchers and designers understand how concrete product attributes benefit personal values for end users.