Emotional design: Affective evaluation methods to assess the emotional response of 6-11 years children.

Open Access
Conference Proceedings
Authors: Ester IaconoClaudia BecchimanziAlessia Brischetto

Abstract: Nowadays, the design focuses not just on the functional attributes of products but especially on emotional ones, and it investigates users' behavior from an emotional point of view.Industrial companies also discovered the economic advantages of holistically analyzing user experience and aim, beyond usability research, to improve people-product interaction. Therefore, their goal is to understand how to evaluate the emotions arising from the interaction with a product and integrate emotions into usability studies. Consequently, it is fundamental to look at Affective Evaluation Methods to enhance usability methods and make them more effective on affective responses. However, scientific literature highlights that although the understanding of emotions has progressed, measurement tools have lagged. Moreover, people generally find it difficult to report the emotions they experience. Furthermore, regarding children, evaluating the emotional impact of a product is even more complex. Therefore, applying methods and tools found in the literature (affective evaluation methods - AEM) may not be appropriate to investigate the affective response in children, according to specific variables.This research addresses the issue of children's affectivity in evaluating positive user experiences as a requirement to be considered within the design process. In addition, this research investigates theories on emotions and studies of the affective sciences and explores the contribution of design and cognitive psychology in these areas.This paper investigates strategies and evaluation tools of the Human-Centred Design (HCD), User Experience (UX), Affective Evaluation Methods (AEM) of Psychology, Affective Sciences and Cognitive Ergonomics, that allow the measurement of emotions. This study aims to:1.understanding the emotional skills of children; 2.verifying the reliability of the emotional responses expressed through the existing self-assessment tools;3.investigating effective methods to evaluate the affective response of 6-11 years children.This research describes the results of two qualitative methods for investigating emotions: (1) the survey aimed to collect data on emotions experienced by children; (2) the workshop focused on emotions conducted with children of age 6-11. The workshop included activities to analyze children’s emotional skills and their ability to recognize emotions in themselves, others, and interaction with products. Furthermore, field surveys with children and experts (direct observation, interviews, focus groups, brainstorming sessions) allowed us to evaluate the reliability of the emotional responses collected by the main tools described in the literature, e.g. tools for rational-emotional education (REBT) and Affective Evaluation Methods (AEM).The collected data revealed critical issues of current evaluation tools and identified the requirements for a new tool for children’s emotional evaluation. Specifically, it emerged that the cognitive-behavioral approaches, typical of psychology, can be powerful tools for designers to interpret and analyze the emotional responses that occurred during the interaction with a system. Together with the HCD and UX tools, these approaches can help designers improve the overall quality of the project.Furthermore, results show a lack of a theoretical framework to move from a conceptual to an empirical level to develop effective tools to measure emotions. Consequently, it is essential to introduce tools for measuring the objective and subjective aspects of the experience, as it is challenging to involve such young users in the research phases.The results of this study allowed the development and prototyping of a series of design concepts to evaluate the emotional impact and collect physiological measurements. This paper only shows the main objectives and features of the tool "Cubotto emotion kit". It is an interactive tool that provides information and allows qualitative data collection so far beyond even the measurement of emotions themselves. It could help designers understand children's preferences, such as colors and shapes that can arouse positive emotions and useful information to redesign products, services, and systems.

Keywords: emotional design, evaluation tools for emotion, user experience, human-centred design, cognitive-behavioral approaches, children

DOI: 10.54941/ahfe1001785

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