Much of our work in UX research focuses on usability – evaluating products and interfaces to ensure they are easy-to-use. However, in today’s digital world, they are no longer enough. Consumers also have come to expect entertaining and engaging experiences. Web and mobile applications need to be usable, useful and engaging.
So, how do we evaluate web interfaces to determine how useful and engaging they are? Desirability has been evaluated in recent years by the use of the Product Reaction Card technique, originated by folks at Microsoft. However, there are many other techniques used in market and industrial design research that we can borrow to complement this technique. Likewise, we can use standard usability testing techniques with lines of questioning with a slightly different focus to evaluate the relative usefulness of different solutions for a particular user group.
In this talk, I discuss several techniques that I have used in recent months to evaluate the usefulness and desirability of interfaces The best techniques I have discovered to evaluate usefulness involve open-ended interview questions regarding current processes and pain points, followed by a usability evaluation of the interface and then a reflective interview discussing the benefits and drawbacks of that solution to their personal situation. To evaluate desirability, I will discuss the product reaction card technique and variations using more defined vocabularies for emotional responses and product personalities. In addition I will show results from techniques borrowed from psychology and marketing research - sentence completion, collaging, and the use of dyad rating scales. These techniques offer a variety of both qualitative and quantitative data that can be used to compare different interface options.
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