In the last months, I conducted a few usability studies and upon reflecting on these I decided to share my experience as it might be helpful to anyone starting on usability. This article attemps at summarizing my experience and thoughts on usability experiments.
When trying to start a usability study or experiment, the practitioner or researcher must answer some initial questions about their future work.
Regarding your research, in general, the most important question to answer is “What is my motivation or why I am doing it?”. In a few words, as a researcher, you must not only formulate your research question but also, its answer.
Research methods are here to help you create and solve a new question on usability, user experience and also, on human-computer interaction.
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User experience (UX) is a field within Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) that studies the whole experience of a user with a product, system, or service. UX focuses on issues such as usability, ergonomics, cognitive load, and affective experiences. However, in the last years, there is a particular growing interest in understanding users’ motivation to use a product, system, or service. This interest is spawned by observable low engagement rates: it is not enough to have a useful system, one needs to also motivate and engage users in it. One possible solution to this comes from a field of study is called gamification or gameful design1, because its main inspiration comes from understanding the factors that make games fun and motivate people to play them voluntarily with so much engagement. Continue reading →