How can we evaluate a User Experience

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McNamara and Kirakowski have published several articles regarding the process of evaluating for user experience. Literature in this area shows that Functionality, Usability, and Experience are the main three aspects of using a product that need to be considered when designing and evaluating technology (McNamara & Kirakowski, 2006).

In their research they argued that functionality is a technical issue and directly in contact with the product (McNamara & Kirakowski, 2006). So an evaluator tries to find out that what the product exactly does.

Usability measures the interaction between users and a product. The product should solve an issue for users, so obviously it should be completely user-oriented and satisfy user needs. Usability attempts to give users the opportunity to see if the product acts exactly like what they really need.

User experience covers the wider area of the connection and interaction of the user with the product to see if it really fits with users’ nature (McNamara & Kirakowski, 2006). According to the literature, questions might include “how the person felt about the experience, what it meant to them, whether it was important to them, and whether it sat comfortably with their other values and goals.” (McCarthy & Wright, 2005, McCarthy & Wright, 2004).

In order to measure and evaluate each aspect, the study suggests valuable points that need to be considered when the assessment is being done. Guidelines for all these three parts is presented (McNamara & Kirakowski, 2006, p. 28):

Assessing Functionality: This includes the product’s features, whilst also evaluating the performance, reliability, and durability of a product. In order to go more into the depth of the functionality, user comments can typically be a good tool to see if whether the presented function was close to what they assumed or not.

Assessing Usability: In usability studies, the user’s comments provide the potential to evaluate ease of use, learnability, and the proposed steps of usage, manuals, and the accessibility of related services around it.

Assessing Experience: Studies show there are no specific successful methods for evaluation of user experience (McNamara & Kirakowski, 2006). Some designers have used usability approaches and are adding more human dimensions to it in order to evaluate the UX values. However, experience is usually characterized separately from the product features; they presented a method and it called “design reductionism” (Hassenzahl et al., 2001).

After that, McCarthy and Wright (2005) proposed Felt-Life framework. This framework is in contrast with design reductionism, and it suggests that user experience cannot be counted separately from product features (McCarthy & Wright, 2005). They argued that, designers must value user experience in all part of their design process.

Resources:

Hassenzahl, M., Beu, A., & Burmester, M. (2001). Engineering joy. Ieee Software, 18(1), 70-76.

McCarthy, J., & Wright, P. (2005). Putting ‘felt-life’at the centre of human–computer interaction (HCI). Cognition, Technology & Work, 7(4), 262-271.
 
McCarthy, J., & Wright, P. (2004). Technology as experience. interactions, 11(5), 42-43.
 
McDonagh-Philp, D., & Bruseberg, A. (2000). Using focus groups to support new product development. Engineering Designer, 26(5), 4-9.
 
Eslamifar, A. (2014). A Tool for Empathetic User Experience Design (Doctoral dissertation, Arizona State University).
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