Mental mapping

Method suitability

Study type

Field studies
XLab studies
Online studies
Questionnaire

Development phase

Concepts
XEarly prototypes
XFunctional prototypes
XProducts on market

Studied period of experience

Before usage
Snapshots
XAn episode
XLong-term UX

Evaluator / Info provider

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

Data

XQualitative
Quantitative

Applications

Web services
PC software
Mobile software
XHardware designs
Other:

Requirements

XTrained researcher
Special equipment

Summary

Participants see or try out a design and then select a famous person or film that best describes the design. E.g. Sylvester Stallone or Fatal Attraction. Alternatively, participants may be asked to imagine the product as a person and make up some stories of its life.

Strengths

Participants do not try to invent rational reasons for product evaluation, but reveal more experiential aspects assigned to it.
Fun evaluation method for participants and researchers.

Weaknesses

Mainly for assessing visual design, not functionality.
Hard to analyse, since relies on a lot of assumptions in the interpretation of participants' comments.
Not suitable for running the study in different cultures.

References describing the method

Hine, T. (1995) The Total Package.

References about quality of the method

Jordan, P. (2003) Designing Pleasurable Products

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