In addition to usability based approaches to evaluate whether or not a product fulfils user needs it is also possible to evaluate the pleasure of the product. This is a new set of approaches and to some extent goes beyond traditional usability testing.
These approaches can be considered as being another layer on top of product usability. The layers in summary are:
The suggestion from the pleasure based approach is that usability based approaches tend to be merely problem solving instead of increasing the market value of the product. The general idea then is that a more holistic approach on about the relationship between the user and the machine will give added value to user's pleasure with the product and thus increasing product sales.
Since this is a new approach it is not without childhood diseases. One of the greatest challenges in the field is to find out how to actually evaluate pleasure.
There are a couple of ways proposed to evaluate pleasure, involving user testing, and questionnaires.
Since almost by definition, pleasure-based evaluation is not task-orientated like traditional usability testing and indeed nearer to market testing, some differences of emphasis need to be kept in mind when doing testing for pleasure:
There are different types of questionnaires that can be used to evaluate usability of a product. For pleasurability reasons they are not entirely suited. To date there are at least one questionnaire that may be used for the evaluation of pleasure:
Pleasure with products, a general index, a questionnaire that is presented by Patrick W. Jordan in his book Designing Pleasurable Products: an introduction to the new human factors (see reference below). This questionnaire measures 'general' pleasurability. According to the author it is thoroughly validated and has a history of usage within product development. If you intend to use this questionnaire, make sure that you get the author's consent.
You may also want to develop your own questionnaire, if you do that make sure that you learn lessons from questionnaire development (for further reference on how to write your own questionnaire, see SUMI Background).
Jordan, Patrick W. (2000) Designing pleasurable products: an introduction to the new human factors, Taylor & Francis Books Ltd, UK.
Affective human factors design, 2001 a recent conference held in Singapore.©UsabilityNet 2006. Reproduction permitted provided the source is acknowledged.