Roto, V., Law, E., Vermeeren, A., and Hoonhout, J. (eds). 2011. User Experience White Paper. Outcome of the Dagstuhl Seminar on Demarcating User Experience, Germany. http://www.allaboutux.org/uxwhitepaper

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The aim of the paper is to clearly define the UX concept. Ux has multi-disciplinary acceptance means that it is widely accepted in different domains and cultures. The exiting definitions of the Ux range from psychological to a business perspective. There is no one common agreed definition that suits everyone and all perspectives.

Ux or User experience is used as a synonyms for usability, user interface, interaction experience, interaction design, customer experience, website appeal, emotion, “wow effect”. Ux can also be called a big umbrella containing all these definitions and terms.

What is the need for a clear description of Ux ?
– helps teachers in teaching basic user experience
– communicate the meaning to the people who are unfamiliar with it.
– Clarify different perspectives of Ux to researchers and practitioners of Ux.
– Advance Ux as a research field.
– Promote Ux in commercial, industrial and government organisations.

Virpi roto and her colleagues have created a website known as “www.allaboutux.org” where about 77 different Ux evaluation methods have been presented. All the methods have been analyzed and compared based on the following factors –

– Study type
– Development phase
– Type of evaluator
– Requirements
– Areas of applications
– Type of data

Section 1. Introduction
——————————————
Ux deals with studying, designing and evaluating the experiences that people have through like after or before using the system. The use can occur in particular context and its impact and contribution is the area of study in Ux. There are many perspectives of Ux like – It is a phenomena, field of study and practice. Different perspectives of Ux can be studied from –

1. Ux as a phenomena
– Describe what is Ux and what is not
– Identify different types of Ux
– Explain circumstances and consequences of Ux

2. Ux as a field of study
– Study phenomena like how experiences are formed
– Find the means to design systems that enable particular Ux
– Invest in developing Ux design and assessment methods

3. Ux as a practice
– Evaluate Ux
– Deliver design
– Envisioning and representing Ux

Health – Phenomena, Medicine – Field of study, Doctor – Practice

Section 2. Ux as a phenomena
——————————————
Experience covers lot of things such as personally encountered, undergone or lived through but Ux refers only to those experiences that are derived from the encountered systems.

Ux is described as –
Ux is a subset of the general experiences
Ux as defined is experience encountered with systems can be active as well as passive.
It is rooted in social and cultural context.
Ux is influenced by prior experiences and expectations based on those experiences.
There are three kinds of experiences
Experiencing -Individual perceptions, interpretations of those perceptions, resulting emotions during an encounter with a system. Every individual has different set of experiences and they are dynamic in nature. Majority of the designers pay attention to the specific interaction events that have impact on the user’s emotions. Evaluation of the experiences focus on how individual will experience the system from moment to moment such as while travelling or sitting on the desk , etc
A user experience – refers to the experience that is encountered with the system from the beginning to the end. Mainly the outcome and memories of the experience rather than dynamic nature. User experience can be an individual or experience by a group of people?
Co-experience – means shared experience or group experience. It refers to the situations when the experiences are socially constructed. Here group behaviour/ group attitude is important. For example if a product is designed to be used by the multi-players like multi-touch screens than group experience is most important factor in the overall design.

Section 3. Time spans of Ux
——————————————
The core part of the user experience is the actual experience of the usage. This does not cover all relevant Ux concerns. People have indirect experiences before they first encounter such as previous expectations, brand, advertisement, presentation, demonstration or other’s opinion.

There must be a contrast between experiencing and experience as both are different terms. Ux can be focused at a particular time span.Someone has experienced a product for a very brief moment.Someone can have cumulative experience formed during a series of usage episodes and periods of non-use. Different types of experiences based on time spans can be
Ux can be momentary Ux during some interaction
Ux can be episodic Ux i.e appraisal of a specific usage episode.
Ux can be cumulative like after using a system for long as a whole.
Ux can be anticipated Ux i.e before its first use.

Based on these time spans of Ux, a practitioner can improve the design. These time spans of Ux are challenges because they have different impact on user of the system. for example strong negative reaction after using the system can fade away after using the system for long or if any successful outcomes happens.

Anticipated Ux (Before use) – Imaging experience
Momentary Ux (During usage) – Experiencing
Episodic Ux (After usage) – Reflecting on an experience
Cumulative Ux (Over use) – Recollecting multiple periods of use

Section 4. Factors affecting Ux
——————————————–
There are wide range of factors that influence the Ux but they can be broadly classfied into three main categories –

1. Context – Ux may change as the context changes even though system remains the same. Context can be social context (working with other people), physical context (using a product on a table versus using in a moving vehicle), task context (environment and surroundings), technical context( product works only on WIFI/3G connection) example Kindle case.

2. User – Ux is a dynamic phenomena like motivation of the user can change anytime, mood, current and mental status, expectations, etc

3. System – Perception of the user greatly influence the Ux. The properties designed into the studied system can be – functionality, aesthetics, interaction behaviour, etc. All these properties like influence your opinions and perceptions. Example
– old looking phone having lot of scratches won’t appeal many users.
– brand and manufacturer’s image
– Apple means being cool, social status.

Important point in this classification – Ux is not described by Ux factors but Ux factors and their categories can be used to described Ux. These factors helps to identify the reasons behind a certain experience.

Section 5. Ux as a practice
————————————–
Ux has its roots in UXD(User experience design) as given in Human centered Design, ISO 13407-1999 and later revised to ISO 9241-210 that can be summarized as-
– Position user as focus during design process
– Identify the aspects of design that are important for the target user
– Develop design iteratively and invite user’s for participation
– Collect user specific factors to access the design

These four points are somehow originated from the three main steps of any product development
– Identify
– Design
– Validate

UXD is not different from HCD but UXD adds some dimentions to the HCD in a mature form. UXD makes small additions to the area of HCD. The difference between UXD and HCD are –
– UX factors
– methods
– tools
– creatia used in UX work
– representation of UX idea
– Ux positioning in the organisation.

1. UX factors
The factors affecting UX are more complex, significantly broader compared to traditional usability or HCD.
Traditional usability is related to the performance and smooth interaction while UX factors relate to affect, interpretation and meaning.
Ux factors such as social and aesthetic aspects are very different from their traditional counterparts.
The work of UX practitioners is challenging compared to the traditional HCD practitioners because which UX factor to be consider is very tough. It is a common practice to consider only few of the UX factors that affects the suitability of the design.

Big challenge for the design teams is to make information available during the early phases of
the UXD process. For example –
i) scope the factors that are known because thoughts or evidences are the drivers of the UX
ii) Identify the factors that are critical to the success of the design.
iii)Identify those factors that are likely to need further investigations.

2. Methods, tools and criteria
Design teams face hard time in making trade-off between various requirements they have to meet. Ux has unidentifiable nature due to which it becomes more difficult to find and estimate post impacts if anything(Ux factors) is not considered. Design team often face problems in dealing with issues such as social, emotional or aesthetic in a very direct or explicit way. Often spontaneous decisions are taken based on the professional judgement. There is a need for some kind of methodologies, tools and criteria that can be used to manage different Ux factors during the product development.

Some recommendations on this were –
Setting initial targets
managing and iterative development of design proposals
evaluation work during and after the design

Factors related to the traditional usability can be handled using conventional methods. So is it so that traditional usability can be a parallel process to the UXD? so that UXD do not bother about the traditional usability. There are some measures of the Ux exists but there is lack of universal consensus on these. UX can be made assessable in many different ways. Like there are tools for evaluating whether an evoked emotion is positive or negative. There are also methods for evaluating particular Ux qualities such as trust, satisfaction and fun. The evaluation tools and methods are selected on the basis of –
Type of the system to be targeted
Type of evaluation like is it summative or constructive.
Time and financial constraints

3. Representing concepts and designs
One of the biggest challenge for the designers to make meaningful representation and designs. Finds ways of giving people a sense of what experiences might be like before the actual development. It is similar to visualization?

Why this concepts are representations are important?
Capture emotional responses of the people and their explanations
Commute to different people working in your organisation, staff, board members,etc
sustain the vision of the design team throughout the design process.
Stimulate the participation of the prospective users so as to gather the maximum feedback on design

4. UX within organizations
Ux is now recognised in different business sectors hence it is now part of the organisation business and strategy. There are some debates like how to fit Ux in the existing settings, Ux should be fit into different levels of organisation, multidisciplinary activity that can fit into the development processes. Ux has impact on the value propositions and business objectives.

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2 Responses to Roto, V., Law, E., Vermeeren, A., and Hoonhout, J. (eds). 2011. User Experience White Paper. Outcome of the Dagstuhl Seminar on Demarcating User Experience, Germany. http://www.allaboutux.org/uxwhitepaper

  1. Paula Janne Ida Vu says:

    Nowadays it seems that UX is a trendy term to use for depicting almost anything related to visible or even invisible parts of the software. Everybody is talking about UX this an UX that while most of them are probably meaning different things. The problem now with the term UX is that it is not clearly defined so all participants in the discussion around it make up a subjective view of what they are talking about.

    Roto et al. take a systematic and well-organized approach in defining the meaning of UX to all of us. Especially context sensitivity and measurability of UX have always been interesting topics which are hard to tackle.

    Everybody – including the paper – agrees that UX is something hard to define. Three approaches given in the paper (phenomena, field of study and practice) don’t shed much light on the actual meaning of the term. Virtually every topic can be described as combination of these approaches.

    The paper does highlight some key points regarding the nature of UX which are to be considered. Time span, user background and context affect user experience of same system dramatically. Identifying the system as one variable in this equation is wrong in the sense that the other factors define users perception of the system regardless of the actual implementation. Of course changing the implementation will change the user experience, but it is the context and users background which dictate the impact of the change.

    The factors given are great building blocks for starting to consider UX of a product but they lack guidelines and actions which could be used to achieve good user experience. Perhaps UX is better defined in something more concrete like giving examples of how to measure it or apply its practices into a design process.

    The web portal created by the research group “All About UX” is an interesting approach in defining UX in a social and live manner. It approaches user experience from a measurement point of view and actually gives some kind of definition of the term through determining how it can be measured. In practice, anyone can contribute to the site through the administrators to pitch in how they go about designing user experience.

    The paper suggests that UX could be separated from usability engineering as the usability problems can be taken care of with traditional usability methods. It is true that there is already a vast amount of knowledge related to usability and improving it. These tried and true methods should be used for the actual usability and have the user experience considerations for the actual “wow effects” and such. For example, in recent evaluations that we did the usability of the system was so severely hindered that it greatly affected the overall user experience. Thus, the goals were set to improve just the usability of the system. If we would have wanted to improve the overall user experience we would have used completely different methods and test settings.

    As user experience is initially a term that is highly volatile and refers to experiences of various different kind of users, also the definition should stay quite loose. Best description on concrete user experience is achieved through the described methods and guidelines in measuring and attaining the best possible UX similar to the “All About UX” site. Thus the term can live with the changing expectations and aspirations of the users while the processes, tests and guidelines would be constantly updated.

  2. Jani says:

    Discussion about ‘UX White Paper’

    The white paper on user experience aims to clarify the term and help in understanding the variety of factors that have an impact on UX. The paper presents different approaches to UX in detail and also suggests ways of evaluating UX.

    The time spans, or the temporal nature of UX evoked enthusiastic discussion. The need for evaluating momentary user experience was questioned and it was agreed that more long lasting effects of encounters with systems are more important when considering and evaluating UX. However, it was also noted that seemingly small, momentary experiences of a system, may have a strong impact on overall UX, especially if a momentary negative experience cannot be recovered from with following positive elements.

    The paper presents UX as a response to the encountered system, and this view received some critique. Many participants would have welcomed an approach that considered UX as more than just a response or reaction to events. The response-orientation turned the discussion to delivery of UX, and a need for methods of designing for UX. If designers can understand how the UX is generated, more focus can be given to other issues than merely generating positive reactions.

    Usability and User Experience were compared and discussed. Although many similarities were found between the two terms, the discussion focused more on whether usability is needed for a positive UX. A strong argument was made that if the emotional or otherwise attractive qualities of a system outweigh the absence of usability, and the overall UX can be positive. That is, the more desirable qualities of a system may be well beyond the scope of traditional usability, thus providing support for UX evaluations. An example with the usage of Facebook was discussed. First impressions of Facebook might have been negative and the usage of said service considered unappealing, but the value introduced by social interactions ultimately provided a positive UX.

    The paper presented the concept of anticipated UX, meaning the imagined experience of system or possible gained benefits prior to usage. Several personal experiences were discussed, where strong positive image of a system was more important in determining UX than actual usage. This was, however, considered more important in products or leisure services, than more serious services requiring long-term commitment. First impression of a system may be strongly influenced by passive encounters, such as seeing others use a system or the reputation of a system. After adoption the impact of first impression often decreases and factors like usability and added value have a stronger influence on UX.

    The wow-effect, often used synonymously with UX, was also discussed in detail. It became again evident that for effective discussion, the discussed terms need to be first understood. The wow-effect was finally understood as something with only an initial attractive quality, and no long-term benefit or appeal to user. Attractive qualities, providing lasting benefit and appeal in continuous use cannot be considered to be wow-factors. These qualities, that appeal to users and generate a positive UX, can later become required standard features that are expected to be a part of a system.

    When systems evolve and the initial attraction decreases, additional flashy qualities were considered to be a distraction. Simplification in many systems was discussed and it was evident that many found simplified system to be a much more appealing alternative, thus generating a more positive UX. However, simplification does not mean that new features should not be introduced. An example of Google’s way of constantly developing new services, while still retaining simple and easy-to-use design was considered an effective way of generating a positive UX. However, problems with new features may result in a drastically negative UX. Therefore, introducing new features without considering their effects on long-term UX might prove to be counter-productive.

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