Methods for field studies

Field studies are conducted in naturalistic settings, real contexts of use. Field studies can be short-term (e.g. researcher shadows the participant for an hour) or long-term (e.g. participants use a system in their daily lives for 2 weeks).

3E (Expressing Experiences and Emotions)

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

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.

Aesthetics scale

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".

Affect Grid

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

Affective Diary

During a field study, a participant wears a sensor that registers their physical states. User's mobile phone logs the activities on the phone. The data from both sources is combined to scraps of person's life. The scraps data is presented to the participant who can scribble their reflected thoughts on them.


Assess the user's feelings about the system with a questionnaire. In AttrakDiff questionnaire, both hedonic and pragmatic dimensions of UX are studied with semantic differentials.

Audio narrative

Let the users verbally tell about their experiences in a free story format.

Context-aware ESM

Experience sampling during field studies, so that the system detects the current context (e.g. location, time, nearby devices) and when the context fulfills predefined criteria, the system prompts the participant to report their experience.

Contextual Laddering

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

Day Reconstruction Method

DRM is a self-report method during a field study. Instead of reporting all use cases with the system each day to a diary, the participant picks e.g. 3 most impactful experiences each day to be reported.

Differential Emotions Scale (DES)

The Differential Emotions Scale (DES) is a standardized instrument that reliably divides the individual's description of emotion experience into validated, discrete categories of emotion. The DES was formulated to gouge the emotional state of individuals at that specific point in time when they are responding to the instrument.

e) Theoretical background: theories/models underlying the tool/method
Izard, 1972, 1977


Emo2 is an instrument for the measurement of emotion during product use. Most standard tools for the measurement of emotion provide overall rating along one or two dimensions or half a dozen basic emotions. Design-oriented tools (most notably PrEmo) overcome this limitation but are focused on sensory experience after static exposure to a product. We don't know any tool designed to measure emotion over time, during interaction with a product, while providing rich feedback to designers. Self-confrontation allows the collection of extended data on the user experience without interfering with the interaction.


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


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.

Emotion Cards

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

Emotion Sampling Device (ESD)

Emotion Sampling Device is a series of questions yielding to the emotion the user is experiencing as the result of an event. It is based on Cognitive Appraisal Theory (CAT) and Emotional Appraisal System. It asks about the causes of the emotion, rather than about the emotion itself, to avoid the typical problems of verbal assessment of emotions.

Experience Sampling Method (ESM)

Experience sampling is a method for collecting experiences "in situ" and immediately, thus there is no disturbance because of memory effects.

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.

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

Extended usability testing

information about the UX as a by-product of contextual inquiry / usability testing

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.

Game experience questionnaire (GEQ)

The questionnaire consists of different modules: 1) Core module - concers actual experiences during game play; 2) social presence module - concerns gaming with others; 3) post game module - conserns experiences once a player has stopped gaming.

Geneva Appraisal Questionnaire

The Geneva Appraisal Questionnaire (GAQ) can be used to assess, as much as is possible through recall and verbal report, the results of an individual's appraisal process in the case of a specific emotional episode (as based on Scherer's Component Process Model of Emotion). The files available for download contain the current English, French, and German versions (and information on utilization).
This is a tool that can be used to describe emotional experiences (i.e. not a description as such). Tool is available in English, French and German

Geneva Emotion Wheel

Based on Scherer's Component Process Model, the Geneva Emotion Research Group has developed this new instrument to obtain self-report of felt emotions elicited by events or objects.

Hedonic Utility scale (HED/UT)

The HED/UT is developed to both address hedonic aspects of product/website interaction and the utitility and usability aspects. HED/UT is an attitude measure from the consumer behaviour literature, and consists of 12 items measuring hedonic value, and 12 items measuring utilitarian value of a service or concept.

Human Computer trust

The Human Computer Trust scale is a psychometric instrument specifically designed to measure human-computer. Both cognitive and affective components of trust are measured; the affective components are the strongest indicators of trust.

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.


The investigator herself uses the system in real contexts and evaluates it. So, the investigator is the only “participant” in the field study.

Intrinsic motivation inventory (IMI)

The Intrinsic Motivation Inventory (IMI) is a multidimensional measurement device intended to assess participants' subjective experience related to a target activity in laboratory experiments. It has been used in several experiments related to intrinsic motivation and self-regulation (see weblink for references).

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)

Living Lab Method

Living labs presents a research methodology for sensing, prototyping, evaluating and refining complex solutions in multiple and evolving real life contexts. Living Lab is aiming to create and evaluate in collaborative multi-contextual empirical real-world environment.

Long term diary study

Study UX over time.

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?

Mental effort

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....

OPOS – Outdoor Play Observation Scheme

Method is used to evaluate children's experience in outdoor pervasive gaming.


General Tests of Emotion or Affect for Evaluating Consumer Reactions to Products and Services, Including User Interface.

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.

Positive and Negative Affect Scale (PANAS)

The Positive Affect Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS) is a psychometric scale developed to measure the largely independent constructs of positive and negative affect both as states and traits. Positive and negative affect have been shown to relate to other personality states and traits, such as anxiety. PANAS was originally developed for more clinical settings, but is also used now in evaluation studies in which moods of users might be affected (e.g. studies around effects of lighting, of entertainment content, etc).


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.

Presence questionnaire

Presence is defined as the subjective experience of being in one place or environment, even when one is physically situated in another.) The authors of the scale state that presence is a normal awareness phenomenon that requires directed attention and is based in the interaction between sensory stimulation, environmental factors that encourage involvement and enable immersion, and internal tendencies to become involved. Focus of the PQ is to measure presence in virtual environments and games. In addition the immersive tendencies questionnaire (ITQ) was developed to measure differences in the tendencies of individuals to experience presence.

Product Attachment Scale

Consumer-product attachment is defined as the strength of the emotional bond a person experiences to a product during ownership. People can experience strong or weak emotional bonds to their products. Therefore, the degree of attachment can vary. To investigate in what way designers can best stimulate the emotional bonding to a product, the degree of product attachment needs to be quantified. The Product Attachment scale provides a quantitative measure of the strength of the emotional bond a person experiences to a product during ownership.

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.

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).


Satisfaction is a part of classic definition of usability since a long time. SUMI (Software Usability Measurement Inventory) has been developed to provide an authoritative, standardised measurement of user satisfaction with software. It can be used for the evaluation and comparison of products (or versions of a product) and to set and track verifiable targets regarding satisfaction. SUMI is a classical Likert-type measure of attitude toward a software package. The questionnaire comprises five subscales: efficiency, affect, helpfulness, control and learnability. SUMI analysis also provides a “global” satisfaction score.

Self Assessment Manikin (SAM)

SAM is an emotion assessment tool that uses graphic scales, depicting cartoon characters expressing three emotion elements: pleasure, arousal and dominance. SAM has been used often in evaluations of advertisements, and increasingly also in evaluations of products. SAM is based on the PAD emotion model of Mehrabian.

Semi-structured experience interview

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


Remote, automated, online sampling of user experiences, based on automatic logging of user actions or on timing over the network.


Pairwise comparison testing aimed at young children (preschoolers).

Timed ESM

Experience sampling during field studies, so that the participant reports their experience at a certain point of time.


UTAUT is based on Technology Acceptance Model (TAM), but addressing some of TAM's shortcomings; includes now also more or less affective aspects

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.