Understanding the factors influencing user experience of social question and answer services

Shengli Deng*, Yuling Fang, Yong Liu, Hongxiu Li

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction. The popularity of social question and answer sites has made it an important and convenient source for obtaining knowledge. This study quantifies how three different system characteristics (interface design, interaction and answer quality) affect users' perceptions (perceived usefulness, perceived ease of use and perceived enjoyment), which in turn alter the perceived user experience.

Method. Using an online survey, this study investigated the experience of using a leading Chinese site, Baidu Knows. The study received 218 validated responses which were used to test the research model.

Analysis. Structural equation modelling technique was used to evaluate the hypothesised research framework.

Results. The results show that the influences of the system characteristics (interface design, interaction and answer quality) on user experience are well mediated by user perceptions of usefulness, ease of use and enjoyment. Additionally, perceived usefulness and perceived enjoyment have direct and significant influences on user experience. Against expectations, perceived ease of use is found to have no significant direct effect on user experience, but have an indirect effect mediated through perceived usefulness.

Conclusion. Use experience is mainly determined by user perceptions about its usefulness, the ease of use and the enjoyment of using the social question and answer sites, which are derived from their evaluation in relation to specific service features. By identifying these service features and quantifying how they affect user experience, a number of practical suggestions for service design have been made to help social question and answer sites managers improve their customers' user experience, e.g. offering more attractive rewards and adding various entertainment activities to motivate users to actively participate in knowledge sharing and innovation.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages15
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2015
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed




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