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Personal and Ubiquitous Computing

, Volume 16, Issue 4, pp 451–465 | Cite as

User eXperience Laddering with preschoolers: unveiling attributes and benefits of cuddly toy interfaces

  • Vero Vanden Abeele
  • Bieke Zaman
  • Dirk De Grooff
Original Article

Abstract

In this paper, we suggest Laddering as a promising empirical method to evaluate the impact of tangibility on young children’s user experiences. In the first part of this paper, we explain what Laddering is. We explicate the conceptual foundations of Laddering, discuss the typical Laddering interviewing technique and focus on the Laddering data treatment. Then, we argue why Laddering might be especially valuable in a context of UX evaluations of tangible and embedded interfaces with children. In the second part of this paper, we present a case study, comparing three cuddly toy interfaces, and we demonstrate how Laddering can be used with preschoolers to explain preferences between these tangible interfaces. The case study confirms that Laddering can contribute to verifying the assumed benefits of tangibility. Laddering revealed how specific cuddly toy attributes as opposed to non-cuddly toy attributes led to specific benefits for the young participants. However, contrary to research findings from developmental literature, only children aged 5 years and older proved to be capable of performing as full Laddering respondents.

Keywords

User eXperience Research methods Laddering Preschoolers Children Tangible interaction Cuddly toy interface Evaluation 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We like to thank all preschoolers who participated in the Laddering study. Furthermore, we like to thank the animators of the summer day camp Kattestroof and the community of Bertem, JITSOC for granting us the permission to conduct this research on their playgrounds. We like to thank master students Leonard Van Domselaer (for creating the penguin) and especially Michiel Van Minnebrugge (for his wizardly patience). We also like to thank the under or above the radar work of the TOEWIE team, namely technical artists Jelle Husson and Jeroen Wauters for kakatoewie and kangaroo, Maarten Vanoverveldt and Luc Geurts for the future signal processing and Frederik Windey for the aid in the game development… and finally Stef Desmet for his meticulous reading.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Limited 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vero Vanden Abeele
    • 1
  • Bieke Zaman
    • 2
    • 3
  • Dirk De Grooff
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.e-Media Lab, GROUP T, Leuven Engineering College/CUO (Association KULeuven)LeuvenBelgium
  2. 2.Centre for User Experience Research (CUO)Katholieke Universiteit LeuvenLeuvenBelgium
  3. 3.Future Health DepartmentIBBT-K.U.LeuvenLeuvenBelgium

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