User Experience Research with children: Smileyometer, MemoLine and Laddering

In this presentation, Bieke Zaman introduces three methods for performing user experience research with children. Bieke Zaman is assistant professor in Human-Media Interaction / Digital Humanities at Mintlab, and affiliated with the Institute of Media Studies (KU Leuven – imec), Belgium.

1. First, Bieke shows the Smileyometer, a summative evaluation method that in child-computer interaction research has been validated to measure fun with teenagers. However, testing the instrument’s reliability and validity in a user experience study using a sample of 113 preschoolers (aged 33 to 90 months), Bieke Zaman and colleagues found an overrepresentation of extreme positive scores inconsistent with behavioural preferences.

Zaman, B., Vanden Abeele, V., De Grooff, D. (2013). Measuring product liking in preschool children: An evaluation of the Smileyometer and This or That method. International Journal of Child – Computer Interaction, 1 (2), 61-70.

2. Secondly, Bieke introduces the Memoline, a visually aided retrospective instrument that can be used to understand how children’s user experiences with technologies evolve over time and how these experiences are remembered. In Sim et al. (2016) the appropriateness of the MemoLine was investigated in two studies with children aged 7-12. Children could complete the MemoLine instruments, recall meaningful experiences, and as such the MemoLine proved useful in capturing meaningful changes in children’s user experience over time.

Sim, G., Nouwen, M., Vissers, J., Horton, M., Slegers, K., Zaman, B. (2016). Using the MemoLine to capture changes in user experience over time with children. International Journal of Child – Computer Interaction, 8, 1-14.

3. Thirdly, Bieke discusses the in-depth laddering interview technique and the underlying theoretical framework of means-end theory. In her research, Bieke and colleagues found that laddering is possible with children aged 5 years and older; the technique allows to understand children’s product preferences in terms of meaningful product attributes and desired consequences. In children younger than 5, however, only preference measurements are possible.

Vanden Abeele, V., Zaman, B., De Grooff, D. (2012). User eXperience Laddering with Preschoolers: Unveiling Attributes and Benefits of Cuddly Toy Interfaces. Personal and Ubiquitous Computing, 16 (4), 451-465.


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