Mental effort

Method suitability

Study type

XField studies
XLab studies
XOnline studies
XQuestionnaire

Development phase

Concepts
Early prototypes
XFunctional prototypes
XProducts on market

Studied period of experience

Before usage
XSnapshots
XAn episode
Long-term UX

Evaluator / Info provider

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

Data

Qualitative
XQuantitative

Applications

XWeb services
XPC software
XMobile software
XHardware designs
Other:

Requirements

Trained researcher
Special equipment

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

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