DEDUCE - Design of New Tools to Express Emotions During User Centred Evaluations
This project starts from exploring traditional techniques for gathering data during user centred evaluations. The study will focus on the limitations of assuming that users involved have excellent linguistic skills and total objectivity, equally necessary when completing questionnaires and answering interviews or even running “think aloud” sections and provide valid data for evaluators to analyse. This study will aim at designing, implementing and evaluating new tools for allowing easier interactions with users when measuring usability of interactive systems. Language and its use have a very individual connotation that, in conjunction with the affective dimension each person brings to the experiments, makes gathering objective data an almost impossible task. On one hand, children are particularly vulnerable and easily influenced by the presence, in situ, of facilitators or tutors, traditionally involved in the evaluation process not only to overcome communication issues but, equally importantly, to keep young users/children motivated, stimulated and engaged with experiments. On the other hand, the range of emotions adults bring to experiments, specially when asked to compare familiar and reliable systems with new prototypes not yet efficiently engineered, can still be an hindrance to the work of evaluators and their aim to gather objective, representative and constructive data. When looking at involving children in user centred evaluations new tools will be designed in order to minimise the level of linguistic skills required and maximise the level of engagement and interest generated. New tools should stimulate free expression of emotions generated by system under evaluation. In this way it is expected that the classic role of facilitators with their strong influence on users and inevitable bias on their feedback could be removed from the process. When developing new tools for supporting evaluation involving adults these should focus on the role of capturing emotions, negative or positive, generated by interacting with system or simply by its existence (as for instance, it is the case of book lovers reported in literature as having strong negative reactions when presented with e-books). This type of tools is expected to be particularly suitable for supporting designers during iterative sessions allowing for fast informal feedback to be gathered and inform next stage of design. It is also expected that the same tools could be used to facilitate a number of human computer interactions that would normally involve the use of linguistic skills. The originality of the study is in its attention to a crucial area of interdisciplinary research often over-looked, that is evaluation techniques and their use in different scenarios. It is expected that the project will deliver interactive tools engineered in such a way to be used not only at evaluation time to facilitate users but also to support evaluators while analysing data by providing an initial, if rough, description of user interactions with system ready for interpretation.