Methods for concept ideas

Important decisions affecting user experience are done in the early phases of product development, when the concept ideas are discussed. Typically, there are many competing ideas that should be assessed from user experience perspective, before too much resources are put in their implementation. In concepting phase, it is not possible to let participants really interact with the system, but the material may include storyboards, moodboards, scenarios, or design sketches. This is why innovative UX evaluation methods are needed in this phase.
Although our collection focuses on evaluation methods, for this phase we have included some methods that can be used also as inspirational methods in concept creation.

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.

Co-discovery

Two friends explore a product/concept together and discuss about it (with or without a moderator). Videorecording is used especially when no moderator is present.

Contextual Laddering

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

Emofaces

Emotional responses elicited by consumer products are difficult to verbalize because their nature is subtle (low intensity) and often miemotional response at the same time). As a result, these emotions are difficult to measure with verbal questionnaires. Instead of relying on the use of words, respondents can report their emotions with the use of cartoon drawings of facial expressions. The Emofaces can be used in internet surveys, formal interviews, and in qualitative interviews.

Experiential Contextual Inquiry

Observing the user in real context, researcher taking a role of an apprentice. The method was originally developed for understanding work practices*. When focus is on UX, the researcher pays attention to the emotional aspects of product use: not only the behavior but also the affective aspects of product use.
* "Contextual Inquiry: Field interviews with customers in their work places while they work, observing and inquiring into the structure of their own work practice."

Exploration test

Etnographic test for evaluating user's perception of a design

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: http://www.kansei.eu/)

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

MAX – Method of Assessment of eXperience

The MAX is a post-use method for evaluating the general experience through cards with an avatar and a board. MAX can be applied after the use of mockups, prototypes, interactive systems, or any artifact that user can interact with. It has four categories, which are represented on the board by questions that guide the user at the evaluation: (a) Emotion: What did you feel when using it?, (b) Ease of Use:Was it easy to use?; (c) Usefulness: Was it useful? and (e) Intention to Use: Would you wish to use it?

Multiple Sorting Method

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

Paired comparison

Very easy to use technique to rank order stimuli (products) with respect to some quality (e.g. enjoyment); also easy to do for children; goes back to early (1920's) test and scale development techniques; paired comparison data can be transformed in ordering stimuli.

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.

Physiological arousal via electrodermal activity

The method utilises physiological arousal as an indicator for involvement and emotional state (arousal not valence). It is meant to also capture unconscious processes. Unobtrusive, not distracting, continuous measure, in situ

Playability heuristics

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

PrEmo

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.

Private camera conversation

To avoid interviewer bias, the participant goes to a booth and talks to the camera about the topics given to her/him. Videorecording may bring out more hedonic aspects than with an interviewer, because participants want to act rationally with the interviewer.

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.

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

Sentence Completion

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…"

UX Expert evaluation

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

Workshops + probe interviews

After conducting exploratory user research with design probes, invite the same participants to first 'validate' your analysis and then allow them to experience and give feedback on early prototypes in a group session