Usability and UX Engineering

  Picture shows a young person with eye-tracking goggles and a smartphone Copyright: © Mario Irrmischer  

UX Engineering or User Experience Engineering is generally used at the IAW – Institut für Arbeitswissenschaft (Institute of Industrial Engineering and Ergonomics) – in the context of research and industry projects for the design of technical prototypes or software systems. People in the intended target group are involved in the entire development process in order to fulfill user expectations and deliver the best user experience (human-centered design according to DIN EN ISO 9241-210:2019). This enables us to detect usage problems in the early phases of product development. UX engineering thus extends pure usability engineering to include the emotions of the people using the product, which is concerned with the effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction of the people using the product. The usability criteria can be used to evaluate UX engineering.

Already during the planning of the human-centered design process, it is necessary to define strategies for involving users in the process. Starting with the identification of the context of use, which includes user group, job, work environment, and equipment, the first step is to define use, system, and work organization requirements. At the IAW, the identification of usage requirements usually takes place in the context of surveys or the creation of group profiles (personas). These requirements form the basis for the specifications.

The system requirements flow into the development of a design solution, which – depending on the product complexity – can initially be realized as a simulation, a prototype or a product version. The basis for formulating design recommendations is formed by ergonomic design specifications, which are documented, for example, in relevant DIN standards in the 9241 series of standards “Ergonomics of Human-System Interaction”. In addition, occupational safety principles according to ArbSchG (Occupational Safety Act) and ProdSG (Product Safety Act) must be taken into account.

In a next step, the technical prototypes and software systems designed in this way are evaluated according to the specified requirements. Empirical usage studies are conducted at the IAW using standardized, internationally validated survey instruments. The evaluation of the design solution with respect to the defined requirements finally leads to the release of the product or to a process iteration. The evaluation of statistical data is used for the iterative adaptation of the prototypes up to the desired fulfillment of the user requirements.