Flow, intrinsic motivation, and developer experience in software engineering

Kati Kuusinen*, Helen Petrie, Fabian Fagerholm, Tommi Mikkonen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Software developers are both users of development tools but also designers of new software systems. This dual role makes developers special users of work-related software. To increase the understanding of developers as users and to evaluate the ability of common measurement scales to address developer experience, we conducted a survey measuring developers’ flow state, intrinsic motivation and user experience. Scales used were the Short Dispositional Flow Scale, items from the Intrinsic Motivation Inventory, the Short AttrakDiff-2, and our own DEXI scale. 57 developers from 25 countries responded and results indicate that intrinsic motivation and autotelic experience are significant predictors of developers’ UX whereas hedonic, pragmatic, and general quality are not. In addition, developers’ needs are characterized by efficiency, informativeness, intuitiveness, and flexibility of the tool.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAgile Processes in Software Engineering and Extreme Programming - 17th International Conference, XP 2016, Proceedings
EditorsHelen Sharp, Tracy Hall
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 15 May 2016
MoE publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication
EventInternational Conference on Agile Software Development - Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Duration: 24 May 201627 May 2016
Conference number: 17

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Business Information Processing
ISSN (Print)1865-1348


ConferenceInternational Conference on Agile Software Development
Abbreviated titleXP
CountryUnited Kingdom


  • Developer experience
  • Development tools
  • Human factors
  • Integrated development environments
  • Software development
  • User experience

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