Colloquium Cognitive Systems

Beyond Enjoying Machines: Studying Meaningful User Experience (and Why it is Challenging)
Dr. Elisa D. Mekler,
University of Basel

 

Abstract: User experience (UX) research has expanded our understanding of what makes interactive technology good, often focusing on hedonic aspects of use such as enjoyment and positive affect. However, despite being key to well-being and being frequently mentioned in HCI work, people’s experiences of meaningfulness when interacting with technology have rarely been directly explored. This talk presents our ongoing empirical work on the characteristics of meaningful user experience. First, drawing upon Positive Psychology, we explore the notion of eudaimonia and its distinction from the hedonic as a complementary approach to studying positive UX. Second, we look into players’ emotionally complex game experiences as a means to understand what makes for worthwhile interactions, despite the absence of positive affect. Finally, we discuss conceptual and methodological challenges with regards to the evaluation of meaningful UX, as well as avenues for future research. 

Bio. Elisa Mekler is a post-doc and director of the Human-Computer Interaction research group at the University of Basel. She holds a PhD in cognitive psychology from the University of Basel. Her research interests include motivational and emotional processes underlying the user experience, especially with regards to what makes interaction with technology meaningful. Her publications have won Best Paper and Honorable Mention awards at the premier human-computer interaction conferences CHI and CHI PLAY.