User Experience (UX) is a "hot topic", which attracts an enormous interest from developers and vendors of interactive systems. Many think that experience will be the future key differentiator in a market of increasingly similar products. So far, this is often not much more than a market claim. Actual methods and models used are often limited to usability, whereas proper research at the interface of psychology, design and technology is sparse.
An experience is always dependent on many interrelated dimensions and aspects, which differs from person to person. These are for instance the physical, the sensory, the cognitive, and the affective influences on the experience. Other aspects are expectations, prior knowledge, prior experiences, social context, etc. In our UX research we target for instance, users’ attributions to product and content qualities, pragmatic ”do-goals”, hedonic ”be-goals”, the affective experience, needs related to the experience, mental effort. We apply several research methods that are specifically chosen to support each other in order to form a holistic picture. This allows us to capture a broad perspective of user experience, and we can validate findings by triangulating data collected by a variety of research instruments (see Methods).
The outcome of our research activities is twofold. First of all, it produces a set of integrated methods and guidelines, which helps in structuring experience-oriented design and evaluation. This is very valuable to designers and a potential source for specific application projects, with vendors and developers of interactive systems. Second, our planned activities have a high potential to play an important role in the transformation of "interaction design" and "usability" to an integrated "experience design" by generating key studies and insights for a large, international and cross-disciplinary scientific community. MediaCity’s position uniting the academic and the commercial world provides opportunities for both cross-disciplinary academic research, as well as for applied research supporting the industry. All in all, we are one link in the chain of creating better design of interactive media content for the purpose of serving mankind.