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Formalising and evaluating Cultural User Experience
Markos Konstantakis, Konstantinos Michalakis, John Aliprantis, Eirini Kalatha, George Caridakis
1
Department of Cultural Technology and Communication
University of the Aegean
Mytilene, Greece
mkonstadakis@aegean.gr, kmichalak@aegean.gr,
jalip@aegean.gr, ekalatha@aegean.gr, gcari@aegean.gr
Abstract— User Experience (UX) is considered a subjective
and universal concept which contributes to the success of any
Information and Communications Technology (ICT) framework.
However, in both Information Systems and Cultural Technology
research, little attention has been paid to the evaluation of UX
with technologies in cultural heritage environments. Since
Cultural User Experience (CUX) is an important factor, a formal
classification of how to design for and evaluate CUX is necessary.
This paper attempts to analyze and evaluate the aspects of CUX
methodologies that are currently available and to specify future
designing improvements for UX evaluation methods.
Keywords— user experience; cultural user experience; cultural
heritage; human computer interaction; methodology; evaluation
method;
I. I
NTRODUCTION
User Experience (UX) is a core concept of Human
Computer Interaction (HCI) that is increasingly used even
though no consensus has been reached about its scope.
Furthermore, during the past years, cultural interactive
experiences are produced in an increased pace [1]. One of the
main purposes of this interest has been to augment user’s
participation during his interaction with cultural objects by
making him actor of his own cultural experience [2, 3].
Lately, HCI has extended its focus on characteristics that
can be considered cultural applications of computing. This new
aspect covers artistic, entertainment, heritage and social
experiences [4]. Various examples can be found that integrate
such flavours into a cultural experience enhanced by digital
representations, games, tours and installations. These
applications illustrate a new design paradigm that draws
together technologies, artifacts and people into interactive
structures. HCI should engage with these new forms of user
experience in a way that it encompasses the traditional
characteristics of interface design (e.g. usability) and allowing
at the same time new features connected to CUX.
It is an undeniable fact that in the last years the cultural
industry and academia deal with a fledgling field that is related
to how to evaluate and measure UX. Therefore the field of
CUX is gaining ground constantly and is expanding
increasingly. Several studies have successfully developed
frameworks to measure UX, but it is important to highlight that
most of the frameworks developed by previous researchers
measuring UX have remained conceptual as they have not been
tested with visitors in realistic situations of cultural visits. Thus,
the evaluation of the visitors’ experiences using technology,
particularly mobile guides is of importance for the cultural
spaces, but as yet unexplored [5].
In this paper we intend to analyze which CUX evaluation
methods are currently available and specify development needs
for those methods. The rest of the paper is organized as
follows: Section 2 formalizes the UX and CUX definitions and
presents related work of studies and software. In Section 3 we
review the methodologies used with their respective HCI
design principles, while in Section 4 we analyze the results of
CUX methods. Finally in section 5 we conclude and suggest
our future plans and directions..
II.
ADDING CULTURE TO UX
A. What is UX?
UX is a multidimensional concept and has been widely
defined as an umbrella term for designing, evaluating and
studying the experiences that people encounter while using a
particular product, system or service in a specific context. It
involves a person’s attitude, behavior and emotions towards
that context [6]. Hassenzahl and Tractinsky [7] summarize the
UX concept from the literature and suggest that it can be
divided into three different perspectives. One of the
perspectives is the emotion and affect which mainly focuses on
the affective computing concept and how it can influence
users’ emotions. The second one focuses on two aspects of
technology use: its situatedness and temporality. It is important
to note that these experiential components are interrelated.
Finally, the third perspective, beyond the instrumental
approach has the goal to create more holistic and complete
human - computer interaction using non-instrumental aspects
of HCI. In conclusion, they argue that:
UX is a consequence of user’s internal state, the
characteristics of designed system, and the context (or
environment) within which the interaction occurs”.
(Hassenzahl & Tractinsky - 2006).
UX is about technology that fulfils more than just
instrumental needs in a way that acknowledges its use as a
subjective, situated, complex and dynamic encounter.
Obviously, this creates innumerable design and experience
opportunities. Therefore, UX should not only be seen as
978-1-5386-0756-5/17/$31.00 ©2017 IEEE
1
Also Affiliated with the Intelligent Systems, Content and Interaction laboratory, National Technical
University of Athens
something evaluable after interacting with an object, but also
before and during the interaction. While it is relevant to
evaluate short-term experiences, given dynamic changes of
user goals and needs related to contextual factors, it is also
important to know how (and why) experiences evolve over
time. Finally, one of HCI’s main objectives in the future is to
contribute to our quality of life by designing for pleasure rather
than for absence of pain. UX is all about this idea.
B. From UX to CUX
Cultural Heritage represents a worldwide resource of
inestimable value, attracting millions of visitors every year to
monuments, museums and art exhibitions. It has been playing
an increasingly important role in the cultural fabric of society;
in the current rapidly changing and globalized world, museum
collections, ancient ruins, and artefact exhibitions represent at
the same time sources and instruments of education that should
be available to a wide range of people. Indeed, achieving a
wide fruition of a cultural space and its objects that is effective
and sustainable, is necessary in order to enhance visitor’s
experience during their interaction with cultural institutes [5]. It
remains to be seen if technology will be a valuable part of
cultural exhibitions enhancing user experience.
However, another factor that affects user experience
besides the wide range and diversity of the cultural objects, is
the cultural background and profile of the individual user. Each
user has its own cultural characteristics, learns and interacts
differently with a certain artefact and finally obtains a unique
cultural experience. The interaction between different cultural
objects and user’s cultural backgrounds defines the cultural
user experience (CUX) as “The unique produced knowledge
and experience from different cultural identities[8].
The first vital gist of CUX is understanding and
consequently meeting the cultural heritage users need.
Secondly, it will lead to the simplicity and elegant attributes of
a cultural product or system that creates positive experience
such as joy to own and to use [9].
To date, there are various technologies available in cultural
environments to support cultural exhibitions directly or
indirectly, and every technology used makes an impact on the
exhibition or the visitors. For example, digital technologies
have opened new possibilities in exhibition design and content
the past 40 years [8], whilst a comprehensive study of the
impact of technology on the museum [10] suggests that
technologies in museums have changed the way museums
communicate with their visitors and that this transformation is
necessary and technologies are expected to be used widely over
the coming decades.
It is important for cultural spaces to explore whether
technological enhancements can help them attract more visitors
and provide different ways of learning or interaction between
visitors and exhibits or among them. Previous researchers have
tried to understand visitor experience with interactive
technology in cultural spaces and particularly how visitors
approach, perceive and use physical spaces and how visitor
experience can be related to the design of the exhibition and
their exhibits [11]. This experience is important in shaping
visitors’ cultural experiences, especially with interactive
technology and exhibitions.
C. Related Work
In [12] authors develop two scales to measure visitor’s
museum exhibition and compare the traditional and
conventional ways of interaction with the use of multimedia
guides. After questioning a large number of visitors, they
produce four components to analyze their data and evaluate
user’s cultural experience (engagement, meaningful
experience, knowledge/learning and emotional connection) and
in all of them, multimedia or audio guides had better results.
Also in [13], authors emphasize that cultural background of the
participants in evaluation is playing a critical role not only on
how to perceive a question but also on the expression and the
style of their answers, by performing a remote online UX
evaluation across ten countries. CHESS project [14]
implements a different method of evaluation by building and
updating visitor’s profiles during their interaction with cultural
artifacts multimedia guides, and adjusts accordingly the rest of
the storytelling. Finally in [15], evaluation of cultural
experience is a result of many different tools such as personal
interviews, tests of knowledge and memory of the cultural
artifacts, and video cameras which monitor the point of view of
users.
III.
METHODOLOGIES IN CULTURAL UX
User-experience research methods are great at producing
data and insights, while ongoing activities help get the right
things done. Ongoing UX activities can make everyone’s
efforts more effective and valuable. At every stage in the
design process, different UX methods can keep product-
development efforts on the right track, in agreement with true
user needs and not imaginary ones. User research can be done
at any point in the design cycle [16].
The evaluation of the cultural visitors’ experience is a
crucial part of this study, since it will determine the outcome of
this research and validate the research objectives. In recent
decades, studies in cultural spaces have been revolutionized by
the change of direction and the methods used to study the
cultural spaces themselves. There are various methodologies
available to support such research: qualitative, quantitative,
experimental, grounded theory and many others.
The choice of methodology to be used in every research
project is based on the scope and aspects of the research itself.
In addition, the choices of methodology used must also be in
accordance with the components that will be evaluated. To
date, there are various evaluation methods available for
museum educators, researchers and curators, such as formative
evaluation, summative evaluation, and front-end evaluation.
Furthermore, there are various UX metrics available to
assist in collecting and processing data in the cultural context.
These metrics were discovered by Hassenzahl [3] as criteria for
Fig. 1 Cultural UX Methods Evaluations
evaluating UX. The characteristics of a positive UX, as shown
in Table 1, are described under two major dimensions of UX,
pragmatic and hedonic.
Evaluation Methods
A wide list of UX evaluation methods can be found in the
literature. For the purposes of this paper, we have reviewed
those methods described in a variety of sources. Specifically,
we identified 15 UX evaluation methods from Jordan’s set of
methods [17] and included them in our collection. Additionally,
17 methods from the ENGAGE pool of methods [18] were
added, as well as 8 methods from the HUMAINE set [19]. We
looked further up in the literature for possible additional
methods. We identified 10 new methods from the UX literature
found in the ACM Digital Library. Assessing all those
methods, we identified 15 common evaluation methods [20]
that are suited to cultural studies [12, 21], as shown in Figure 1.
These methods were rated against the 8 attributes of a
positive UX of Table 1. The evaluation was performed based
on (a) review of the literature, (b) empirical studies and (c) the
authors’ personal assessment. Figure 1 indicates a positive or
negative correlation for all methods towards each of those 8
attributes.
IV.
EVALUATION RESULTS
Based on the two figures shown above, we review and
categorize each of the selected evaluation method and conclude
on the results below:
User interviews or Surveys and Focus Groups go
well with the Usefulness attribute as they can be used
by specified users to achieve specified goals with
effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction, and the
Identification attribute as they give users the ability to
express their thoughts and feelings in a more personal
way. Focus Groups also fulfill the Pleasure attribute
because they satisfy and entertain users at the same
time.
Table 1. Characteristics of a positive UX
Contextual inquiry, Usability testing and
Walkthrough are reliable and easy to use methods
(Reliability and Ease of Use attributes) and they can
also induce the participation of the users to practice
their knowledge and skills (Stimulating) and entertain
them (Pleasure). However, Contextual inquiry adds
on the Usefulness attribute, when Walkthrough
promotes the effective use of resources such as time
effort and cost (Efficiency).
Journey Mapping and Field studies are methods that
both allow users to express important personal values
and stimulate them to grow their knowledge
(Identification and Stimulating), and also, they are
characterized by the Usefulness attribute. On the other
hand, Journey Mapping is an easy and entertaining
method to use (Ease of Use and Pleasure) while Field
studies focus more on the Accessibility attribute as any
kind of user can handle this method including people
with disabilities.
Paper Prototyping, Card sorting, Storyboards and
Diary studies are easy to use, interesting and
entertaining methods that also go well with the
Usefulness and Identification attributes. However,
Paper Prototyping and Card sorting are more efficient
methods while Diary studies are accessible to more
users.
User personas and Emotional Cards are the only
methods that have seven out of eight attributes in our
analysis. User personas lack in reliability and
emotional cards dont satisfy only the Accessibility
attribute.
V.
DISCUSSION
Based on our analysis, we can assume that User personas
is one of the most complete evaluation method, as it only lacks
in reliability. Indeed, the design of personas as ‘fictional’
characters based on real data and research and created for a
specific target, is considered as a very consistent and
representative way to define actual users and their goals.
However, it is important to clarify the exact (minimum)
number of personas in each occasion in order to focus on the
visitor profiles to be examined [22]. A more reliable but
equally complete evaluation method is the Emotional Cards, an
easy, quick and interesting method for both users and
researchers, but not accessible by users with disabilities. Users
carry with them empty or pre-defined emotion cards and fill in
their mood at a given situation (usually after they examine an
object or be part of a procedure).
Furthermore, Paper Prototyping, Card Sorting and Diary
Studies are also suitable for CUX evaluation as they gain six
out of eight positive ratings based on our research in Fig. 1.
Paper Prototyping aims in giving users the ability to draw on a
piece of paper the interface and the interactions that they prefer
to have with an object of interest (OoI). It is a cost-effective
and easy evaluation method which doesn’t require design or
coding skills, consumes less resource than most of the others
and allows the exchange and tests of ideas and thoughts
between users and researchers in situ.
Card Sorting is very similar as again it requires from
small groups of users to organize items (pre-defined cards
which represent pieces of the desired information) into groups
and assign categories to each group. However, both methods
are too simple to evaluate important details and measure actual
time required to perform a certain task. Finally, Diary/Camera
Studies require from users to record and describe aspects of
their lives relevant to a certain object or procedure with a diary
or a camera over a period of some days to a few months. That
may be easy and entertaining for users but it requires much
more time and resources compared with other methods and it
lacks in reliability because users may forget or get tired of
recording important information for the researchers.
VI.
CONCLUSION
Through our CUX evaluation study, we were able to elicit
the technology and design level needs in regard to cultural
areas. Understanding cultural user expectations for novel and
immature technologies is challenging. We consider our CUX
evaluation study a necessary step towards understanding user
expectations. So far the research on UX in cultural services is
limited only to understanding user needs and expectations
through the use of limited use cases supporting limited
interaction. However, in our study, we have extended the
already existing work by formalizing and analyzing different
UX evaluation methods. In retrospect, we trust that our choice
of research methods, study process and UX evaluation can also
be used for the UX evaluation of other technology concepts
that are futuristic and novel.
The above evaluation procedures are important to
improve the UX in culture. However, and per our findings in
this research, it is imperative to understand the design
implications on the user experiences at the early phases of the
conceptual design and prototyping.
Fig. 2 Positive CUX Windmill
As a next step, we need more understanding of what is the
added value of Culture in the UX, and thus what are the most
culture-specific expectations. This requires controlled
experimental research setup with functional cultural services.
In the future, we will use this analysis as basis in designing
new evaluation metrics, with which we will evaluate the UX of
current cultural applications. This will allow us to examine to
what degree the expectations have been met and how
significant the expected UX characteristics actually have
become in cultural applications.
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... It is generally believed that users' cultural background has an impact on their experience. Each user has their own cultural background, giving them a unique experience of the product (Konstantakis et al,. 2017). Consequently, to study the experience, based on user's culture, we do not need to enter any specific variable into the research, since essentially each user has their own cultural experience evaluation. On the other hand, the argued aspectsaesthetic, function, ergonomics and material-are more affected by culture and experience. As a r ...
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