9/14 User experience – a research agenda Cherry

In the editorial User experience – a research agenda, Marc Hassenzahl and Noam Tractinsky try to provide a cursory sketch of how they think UX research will look like in the future. In other words, it’s like a stimulus to encourage scientists and practitioners to engage in empirical UX research. There are three perspectives, beyond the instrumental, emotion and affect, and the experiential.

Authors explained the term ‘user experience’ in a wide variety of meaning, “ranging from traditional usability to beauty, hedonic, affective or experiential aspects of technology use”. In the aspect of beyond the instrumental, the importance of a range of specific non-instrumental needs is raised, such as beauty, surprise, diversion, and intimacy in technology. In the aspect of emotion and affect, authors stated that affective computing can help to deal with negative emotions, but it’s more important to foster positive emotional experiences. A vivid example of Gustbowl, which is a communication tool designed to connect children and parents, was memorable. Finally, the experiential perspective on UX emphasizes the situatedness and temporality. An analogy talked about “a tomato in one’s fridge” versus “the taste of a marvelous tomato sauce on homemade gnocchi” helps to better understand the meaning.

There are rich content in the editorial, and authors raised a lot of questions than can possibly be applied in further research. Authors also mentioned challenges of different perspectives for future research and contributed own ideas such as“designers may settle for establishing the context for an emotion rather than the emotion itself”.

In all, “UX  is about technology that fulfills more than just instrumental needs in a way that acknowledges its use as a subjective, situated, complex and dynamic encounter”. It’s vital to focus on how to create outstanding quality experiences instead of merely preventing usability problems.

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