What is emotion evaluation in UX research and what does it involve? Read the article to find out and understand the issue of emotions in UX better. We will also present some interesting tools, helpful for monitoring user emotions during testing.

Emotion evaluation in UX – table of contents:

  1. What is emotion evaluation in UX?
  2. Methods for studying emotions in UX
  3. Aspects of emotions according to Don Norman
  4. Summary

What is emotion evaluation in UX?

If by user experience we mean the entire experience of interacting with a website or application, then we must also take into account the emotions of our users. This is why it is vital to analyze and match the emotional side of the product with the users’ requirements. To achieve this, we should therefore “measure” users’ emotions during UX studies – especially during usability tests when they interact with the product or prototype. Although emotions may seem unmeasurable, there are tools to support this element of the research process and allow for the evaluation of emotions in UX.

Methods for studying emotions in UX

Unfortunately, most emotion evaluation methods are subjective and rely on the researcher’s accurate reporting of users’ emotional states during interaction with the product. However, keep in mind that the participants undergoing this kind of assessment must feel comfortable during the procedure, which forces the researchers to adjust accordingly and less formally testing conditions and schedule.

There is a specially created tool for this purpose called the User Experience Questionnaire (UEQ). It allows the researcher to evaluate a product through a special questionnaire in terms of its: attractiveness, expressiveness, efficiency, reliability, innovation as well as stimulation. Comparative pictures are an equally common method of measuring the participant’s emotions. The subject chooses how they feel at a given moment by pointing to specific pictures or animated images. The development of technology enables us to provide better and more authoritative solutions. For example, the FaceReader app allows us to read facial expressions directly and assign them to one of seven basic emotions (which include anger, surprise, neutrality, fear, disgust, sadness and joy).

Studying users at the level of their micro-expressions can prove handy in designing sales processes. For instance, when they can’t find something while adding products to the shopping cart, we can see their frustration or anger. However, microexpressions are often ambiguous because they don’t provide insight into the broader context – such as their previous experiences, expectations or habits. Despite assurances of staying calm, users may feel tormented by other feelings. Many of these are hard to explore as they remain in the unconscious. Researchers and designers should try their best to understand them, but the subject should get treated with caution and uncertainty.

emotion evaluation

Aspects of emotions according to Don Norman

Don Norman believes that the activity of designers is broadly human, not just their emotions. However, we think it’s worth having an idea about them and at least trying to study and analyze them in the UX process – sometimes the results can be amazing and can be a very useful clue!

Don Norman distinguished three aspects of emotion in design:

  • Sensory – when there is an instinctive reaction at the sight of an object/product, e.g., pretty, colorful, complex. This aspect is based on sensual experience and senses – the look or smell of the product.
  • Behavioral – involves satisfaction that an object works the way it should. It is functional, intuitive, easy to use, well-designed and practical.
  • Reflective – stems from emotions that arise from the user’s identity: his values, the way he thinks about the world, or the meaning of a particular object

Any product can be analyzed through the prism of such an impression-behavior-reflection matrix. In addition to functional needs, the users want to satisfy their emotional needs. They may get frustrated not only by the fact that the application does not work as it should but also that it’s difficult to navigate or visually unattractive. Therefore, the product should be intuitive, easy to use, attractive and user-friendly. By combining functionality with visual appeal, we can expect to achieve our business goals, while building a positive image of the brand and the product itself.


Emotion evaluation in UX research is an often overlooked element. However, it is worth adding emotional analysis to the research process to understand better the overall user experience of interacting with our product and to create products that are not only efficient and useful but also pleasing to the eye and evoke positive emotions. Despite the few methods and tools for capturing emotions available on the market, there are still ways to help learn about the emotions of surveyed participants. The simplest of these would be to talk to users, asking them to describe their emotions and their changes over time – often it is the simplest solution to provide us with the most interesting information.

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Evaluation of emotions in UX | UX research #31 klaudia brozyna avatar 1background

Author: Klaudia Kowalczyk

A graphic & UX Designer which conveys into design what cannot be conveyed in words. For him, every used color, line or font has a meaning. Passionate in graphic and web design.

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