Michael Glanznig

c/o University of Vienna
Vienna, Austria

INDECS 10(3), 235-247, 2012
DOI 10.7906/indecs.10.3.3
Full text available here.

Received: 30 September 2012
Accepted: 10 October 2012
Regular article


User experience research in the field of human-computer interaction tries to understand how humans experience the interaction with technological artefacts. It is a young and still emerging field that exists in an area of tension. There is no consensus on how the concept of user experience should be defined or on how it should be researched. This paper focuses on two major strands of research in the field that are competing. It tries to give an overview over both and relate them to each other.

Both start from the same premise: usability (focusing on performance) is not enough. It is only part of the interaction with technological artefacts. And further: user experience is not very different from experience in general. Then they develop quite different accounts of the concept. While one focuses more on uncovering the objective in the subjective, on the precise and the formal, the other one stresses the ambiguous, the human and suggests to live with the subjectivity that is inherent in the concept of (user) experience. One focuses more on evaluation rather than design and the other more on design than evaluation. One is a model and the other one more a framework of thought.

Both can be criticised. The model can be questioned in terms of validity and the results of the other approach do not easily generalize across contexts ? the reliability can be questioned. Sometimes the need for a unified view in user experience research is emphasized. While I doubt the possibility of a unified view I think it is possible to combine the two approaches. This combination has only rarely been attempted and not been critically reflected.


human computer interaction, user experience, method comparison, overview


ACM:H.1.2, H.5.2

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