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What do lab-based user studies tell us about in-the-wild behavior? : insights from a study of museum interactives

Hornecker, Eva and Nicol, Emma (2012) What do lab-based user studies tell us about in-the-wild behavior? : insights from a study of museum interactives. In: Proceedings of Designing Interactive Systems (DIS'12). ACM, New York, pp. 358-367. ISBN 978-1-4503-1210-3

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Abstract

We contribute to an understanding of how well lab-based user studies can help us to anticipate how a system will be used in ‘the wild’. We analyze and compare data from lab-based user studies of prototype museum installations and the subsequent deployment of these systems in a museum. While the user study was successful in identifying usability issues, social behavior patterns in the museum, in particular between caregivers and children, differed in several aspects between the settings. Our analysis highlights influences on usage and behavior patterns: the physical and structural setup, the user study creating a focused activity, and the demand characteristics of a user study.