Too good to be bad: The effect of favorable expectations on usability perceptions

Eeva Raita*, Antti Oulasvirta

*Corresponding author for this work

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

2 Citations (Scopus)


The most common measurements in the task-based usability evaluation paradigm include behavioral (e.g., completion times or errors) and subjective measures (e.g., ratings). Previous work has shown that success and performance in the test tasks do not dictate subjective usability perceptions, which instead are affected by appraisals of the system such as those of its aesthetic appeal. While these appraisals are an outcome of the exposure to and the interaction with the system, less is known about the effect of predispositions (expectations) formed before any exposure. To understand how expectations influence usability perceptions, we devised an experiment wherein 36 subjects read a positive or a negative product review for a novel mobile device (while a control group read nothing) before a usability test. The results demonstrate a surprisingly strong amplifying effect of the positive expectation on the post-experiment ratings, which, interestingly, held even in a condition where the users failed in all of the tasks. We briefly discuss implications of this finding.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication54th Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Annual Meeting 2010, HFES 2010
Number of pages5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2010
MoE publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication
EventAnnual Meeting of Human Factors and Ergonomics Society - San Francisco, United States
Duration: 27 Sep 20101 Oct 2010
Conference number: 54

Publication series

NameProceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society
ISSN (Print)1071-1813


ConferenceAnnual Meeting of Human Factors and Ergonomics Society
Abbreviated titleHFES
CountryUnited States
CitySan Francisco

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