Identifying Drivers and Hindrances of Social User Experience in Web Services (2010) Väänänen-Vainio-Mattila et al.

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The increasing number of web services (social media) are built around social activities, user-generated content and social interactions, e.g. communication, content contribution, media sharing, social navigation.

Among various dimensions of UX on web service, “supporting social activities” is one of main elements and can be essential contributor to positive UX. In this paper, they define social user experience (UX) is a type of user experience that primarily occurs as a result of social activity enabled by distinct service functionality.


Technology should support ‘sense of community’ and form naturally in virtual community. A number of guidelines and techniques have been suggested. However, those are rather policy-orientated. Examples are: facilitating community construction activities via an appropriate user interface; identifying member’s roles and needs; enabling and promoting interaction between members. There is need for fundamental understanding of social UX.

Aim of this study is to identify (1) the central drivers and hindrances of social UX in web services (2) pragmatic and hedonic aspects of UX

Case study on Facebook(N=11), Dopplr(N=7), Nokia Sports tracker(N=8).

Four-week-long field study by user diaries and user interview.

Document positive and negative experiences in semi-structured diaries for the fist and last week of the study. User interview to clarify the statements on diaries.


Drivers (social motivations)


Self-expression *

Content sharing and feeling and thoughts are expressed through textual and symbolic content. Skill with technology.

Suitability of functionality

Sufficient and usefulness of the functions.

+ meet like-minded persons

– missing social connections

Reciprocity *

Direct communication and responses to shared content (include direct and indirect).

An important source of pleasure.

Suitability of content

Quality of content and up-to-date


Utilize shared information on web for developing one’s self.

Completeness of user network

There are people that the web user wants to form the network with. And must be a way to find these people.

Curiosity *

Content is browsed to appeal one’s curiosity. And also related to playful social interactions.

Trust and Privacy

Avoid sharing personal matters while sharing content. Concern of physical safety.

Pragmatic and Hedonic aspects of social UX



Psychology and emotional needs

*   Self-expression

*   Reciprocity

*   Curiosity

Functional needs

–     Learning

–       Unsuitability functionality and content

–       Incompleteness of user networks

–       Lack of trust and privacy

Notice: it is not an absolute classification.

In conclude, self-expression, reciprocity and curiosity are the most prominent hedonic drivers of social UX.

Posted by Chen Pei

About Chen Pei

Research assistant in Industrial design dept Aalto University & HIIT(Helsinki Institute for Information Technology)
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One Response to Identifying Drivers and Hindrances of Social User Experience in Web Services (2010) Väänänen-Vainio-Mattila et al.

  1. Inkeri says:

    One thing that we have discussed quite a lot is, can the experience be social so called co-experience or is the experience definitionally personal? However even though in the headline there is a term “Social User Experience”, in this paper there was no discussion about the possible social nature of UX, it only about personal experience in social media.
    In our discussion we questioned this paper a bit about the fact that it didn’t have so many references to other studies; For example are the pragmatic and hedonic aspects of UX the same ones that Hassenzahl presents in his papers? Also we criticized the fact that there was no explanation to why was the chosen services chosen to this paper. We also felt that the chosen web services could give quite limited view.
    In our previous discussions we have talked about the user experiences dynamic nature i.e. it changes as the time goes by, in this study however this aspect was not included, even though in social media changes in the experience are quite evident. For example in Facebook there is huge difference in experience compared when you first start and you have only few friends to when you have hundreds of friends.
    We concluded that this paper present design drivers for designing web services for social media, but doesn’t necessarily tell about the user experience in that context. The hindrances that were presented in this paper we felt that were more usability issues than UX. This supports the idea that has many times some up, that Usability is a base for the User Experience.

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