A Measure of Fun : Extending the scope of web usability

Sammanfattning: Currently usability research and practice are facing a challenge. The focus of design concerns is expanding from predominantly functional aspects of IT systems to overall user experience, which has direct implications for the area of usability evaluation. The aim of the study reported in this thesis is to explore the potential of traditional usability evaluation approaches to deal with issues related to user experience, such as fun and entertainment. The empirical study reported in the thesis deals with fun and entertainment, employs concepts and methods of web usability, and specifically focuses on the so-called entertainment web sites (EWSs). Existing studies and the most relevant theories of fun and usability are examined to determine to which extent these can shed light on evaluation of fun and usability. Then apparently to establish if these theories can help operationalize fun and entertainment as aspects of web usability. . It is concluded that evaluation of fun and usability remains an open issue. In the study, traditional usability evaluation methods are applied on EWSs and based on these results the methods are revised. Finally, these revised methods are used in evaluations of EWSs once more. The results of the study indicate that traditional usability evaluation methods can be applied to evaluation of entertainment and fun in the context of web usability. More specifically, existing empirical evaluation and heuristic evaluation methods are found to produce relevant and potentially useful evidence when applied to evaluation of entertainment web sites. Therefore, the main conclusion of the thesis can be formulated as follows; while the underlying concepts and principles of web usability can be employed in evaluation of entertainment and fun, specific evaluation methods need to be revised.