Evaluating User Experience Factors Using Experiments: Expressive Artificial Faces Embedded in Contexts

  • Michael Lankes
  • Regina Bernhaupt
  • Manfred Tscheligi
Part of the Human-Computer Interaction Series book series (HCIS)


There is an ongoing debate on what kind of factors contribute to the general positive user experience while playing a game. The following chapter introduces an experimental setting to measure user experience aroused by facial expression of embodied conversational agents (ECAs). The experimental setup enables to measure the implications of ECAs in three contextual settings called “still,” “animated,” and “interaction.” Within the experiment, artificially generated facial expressions are combined with emotion-eliciting situations and are presented via different presentation platforms. Stimuli (facial expressions/emotion-eliciting situations) are assembled in either consonant (for example, facial expression: “joy,” emotion-eliciting situation: “joy”) or dissonant (for example, facial expression: “joy,” emotion-eliciting situation: “anger”) constellations. The contextual setting called “interaction” is derived from the video games domain, granting an interactive experience of a given emotional situation. The aim of the study is to establish a comparative experimental framework to analyze subjects’ user experience on emotional stimuli in different context dimensions. This comparative experimental framework utilizes theoretical models of emotion theory along with approaches from human–computer interaction to close a gap in the intersection of affective computing and research on facial expressions. Results showed that the interaction situation is rated as providing a better user experience, independent of showing consonant or dissonant contextual descriptions. The “still” setting is given a higher user experience rating than the “animated” setting.


Embodied conversational agent Experiment Emotion Facial expression AttrakDiff 


  1. Bailenson JN (2008) Avatars. Accessed 22 May 2008.
  2. Bartneck C (2000) Affective expressions of machines. Master’s Thesis, Stan Ackerman Institute – III, Eindhoven, Netherlands.Google Scholar
  3. Bates J (1994) The role of emotion in believable agents. Communications of the ACM 37(7): 122–125.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bernhaupt R, Boldt A, Mirlacher T et al. (2007) Using emotion in games: Emotional flowers. In: Proceedings of ACE 2007, ACM, New York, pp. 41–48.Google Scholar
  5. Bernhaupt R, Ijsselsteijn W, Mueller F, Tscheligi M, Wixon D (2008) Evaluating user experiences in games. In: Proceedings of CHI 2008, ACM, New York, pp.3905–3908.Google Scholar
  6. Bernhaupt R, Palanque P, Winkler M, Navarre D (2007) Model-based evaluation: A new way to support usability evaluation of multimodal interactive applications. In: Law E et al. (eds) Maturing Usability: Quality in Software, Interaction and Value. Springer, London, pp. 95–127.Google Scholar
  7. Bernhaupt R, Sloo D, Migos C, Darnell M (2008) Towards new forms of iTV user experience. Workshop During EuroiTV 2008, 2nd July 2008, Adjunct Proceedings of EuroiTV 2008.Google Scholar
  8. Bickmore T, Cassell J (2001) Relational agents: A model and implementation of building user trust. In: Proceedings of CHI 2001, ACM Press, New York.Google Scholar
  9. Branco P (2003) Emotional interaction. In: Proceedings of CHI 2003, ACM, New York, pp. 676–677.Google Scholar
  10. Cassell J (2008) Justin cassell: Research. Accessed 8 May 2008.
  11. Cornelius RR (1996) The Science of Emotion: Research and Tradition in the Psychology of Emotions. Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ.Google Scholar
  12. Crane EA, Shami NS, Peter C (2007) Let’s get emotional: Emotion research in human computer interaction. In: Proceedings of CHI 2007, ACM, New York, pp. 2101–2104.Google Scholar
  13. Desmet P, Hekkert P (2002) Pleasure with Products, Beyond Usability, Chapter: The Basis of Product Emotions. Taylor Francis, London, pp. 60–68.Google Scholar
  14. Dix A, Finlay J, Abowd G, Beale R (2004) Human–Computer Interaction. Prentice Hall, Essex, England.Google Scholar
  15. Ekman P, Friesen W (1972) Emotion in the Human Face: Guidelines for Research and an Integration of Findings. Pergamon Press, New York.Google Scholar
  16. Elliott C, Brzezinski J (1998) Autonomous agents as synthetic characters. AI Magazine 19(2): 13–30.Google Scholar
  17. Ermi L, Mäyrä F (2005) Challenges for pervasive mobile game design: Examining players’ emotional responses. In: Proceedings of ACE 2005, ACM, New York, pp. 371–372.Google Scholar
  18. Fernandez-Dols JM, Carroll JM (1997) Is the meaning perceived in facial expression independent from its context. In: Russell JA, Fernandez-Dols JM (eds) The Psychology of Facial Expression (Studies in Emotion and Social Interaction). Cambridge University Press, New York, pp. 275–295.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Fischer L, Brauns D, Belschak F (2002) Zur Messung von Emotionen in der angewandten Forschung: Analysen mit den SAMs: Self-Assessment-Manikin. Pabst Science Publishers, Göttingen.Google Scholar
  20. Hassenzahl M, Burmester M, Koller F (2003) AttrakDiff: Ein Fragebogen zur Messung wahrgenommener hedonischer und pragmatischer Qualität. In: Ziegler J, Szwillus G (eds) Mensch & Computer 2003. Interaktion in Bewegung. BG Teubner, Stuttgart, pp. 187–196.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Hassenzahl M, Tractinsky N (2006) User experience – A research agenda. Behaviour & Information Technology 25(2): 91–97.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. ISEAR (2008) Accessed 4 April 2009.
  23. Isbister K (2006) Better Game Characters by Design: A Psychological Approach (The Morgan Kaufmann Series in Interactive 3D Technology). Morgan Kaufmann Publisher, San Francisco, CA.Google Scholar
  24. Jaimes A, Sebe N (2007) Multimodal human-computer interaction: A survey. Computer Vision and Image Understanding 108(1–2): 116–134.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Law EL, Vermeeren AP, Hassenzahl M, Blythe M (2007) Towards a UX manifesto. In Proceedings of the 21st British HCI Group Annual Conference on HCI 2008: People and Computers Xxi: Hci. But Not As We Know It - Volume 2 (University of Lancaster, United Kingdom, September 03–07, 2007). British Computer Society Conference on Human-Computer Interaction. British Computer Society, Swinton, UK, pp. 205–206.Google Scholar
  26. Lee J, Marsella S (2006) Nonverbal behavior generator for embodied conversational agents. In: Lecture Notes in Computer Science: Intelligent Virtual Agents. Springer, Berlin/Heidelberg, pp. 243–255.Google Scholar
  27. Lieberman H (1997) Autonomous interface agents. In: Proceedings of CHI 1997 ACM, New York, pp. 67–74.Google Scholar
  28. Lime (2008) Lime surveyor. Accessed 27 September 2008.
  29. Mahlke S (2005) Studying affect and emotions as important parts of the user experience. ImportantPartsOfTheUserExperience.pdf. Accessed 28 February 2008.
  30. Mancini M, Hartmann B, Pelachaud C (2004) Non-verbal behaviors expressivity and their representation. Accessed 10 February 2007.
  31. Mandryk RL, Atkins MS, Inkpen KM (2006) A continuous and objective evaluation of emotional experience with interactive play environments. In: Proceedings of CHI 2006. ACM, New York, pp. 1027–1036.Google Scholar
  32. Minge M (2005) Methoden zur Erhebung emotionaler Aspekte bei der Interaktion mit technischen Systemen. Master’s Thesis, FREIE UNIVERSITÄT BERLIN Fachbereich Erziehungswissenschaften und Psychologie.Google Scholar
  33. Norman D (2002) Emotion and design: Attractive things work better. Interactions 9(4): 36–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Picard RW (1997) Affective Computing. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA.Google Scholar
  35. Picard RW, Wexelblatt A, Nass CI (2002) Future interfaces: Social and emotional. In: Proceedings of CHI 2002 ACM, New York, pp. 698–699.Google Scholar
  36. Prendinger H, Ishizuka M (2004) Life-Like Characters: Tools, Affective Functions, and Applications. Springer, Heidelberg.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Pruett C (2008) The evolution of videogames. 2003/07/pruett.php Accessed 5 April 2008.
  38. Ravaja N, Saari T, Turpeinen M, Laarni J, Salminen M, Kivikangas M (2006) Spatial presence and emotions during video game playing: Does it matter with whom you play? Presence: Teleoperators and Virtual Environments 15(4): 381–392.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Reeves B, Nass C (2003) The Media Equation. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago, IL.Google Scholar
  40. Roto V, Rautava M (2008) User experience elements and brand promise. Accessed 5 April 2009.
  41. Russell JA, Fernandez-Dols JM (1997) What does facial expressions mean. In: JA Russell and JM Fernandez-Dols (eds) Psychology of Facial Expression (Studies in Emotion and Social Interaction), Chapter Introduction. Cambridge University Press, New York, NY, pp. 3–31.Google Scholar
  42. Scherer KR, Wranik T, Sangsue J et al. (2004) Emotions in everyday life: Probability of occurrence, risk factors, appraisal and reaction patterns. Social Science Information 43(4): 499–570.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Suk HJ (2006) Color and emotion: A study on the affective judgment of color across media and in relation to visual stimuli. PhD Thesis, Sozialwissenschaften der Universität, Mannheim.Google Scholar
  44. Summerfield A, Green EJ (1986) Experiencing Emotion: A Cross-Cultural Study. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, MA.Google Scholar
  45. Wallbott HG (1990) Mimik im Kontext. Verlag für Psychologie, Dr. C. J. Hogrefe, Göttingen.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael Lankes
    • 1
  • Regina Bernhaupt
    • 2
    • 3
  • Manfred Tscheligi
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Upper Austria University of Applied SciencesHagenbergAustria
  2. 2.IRIT, IHCSToulouseFrance
  3. 3.ICT&S Center, Universität SalzburgSalzburgAustria
  4. 4.Center for Usability Research and EngineeringViennaAustria

Personalised recommendations