Professor Lynne Hall

Professor of Human Computer Interaction, University of Sunderland

Rethinking User Experience Evaluation: From the Dull to the Sublime

In our evidence-based, data-driven world, HCI has adopted approaches primarily from the social sciences, so whether a university dissertation or a published paper, most user experience evaluations include a mixed methods approach of questionnaires, interviews and/or focus groups. So far, so good – but these haven’t much changed since the 1990s, so are they really still appropriate for what and who we are trying to evaluate now?

User experience evaluations are designed to provide relevant data, they are designed by evaluators for the researchers, developers, assessors or funders who want to know the results. Although end users will interact with the evaluation, we have become accustomed to designing the evaluation for the secondary user, whilst all firmly recognising the benefits of an end-user-centred design ethos. What does this say about the quality of our data, obtained from an experience designed for someone else, without any input or consideration of the end user themselves?

Through this focus on ourselves and our needs from the evaluation, whilst we have seen massive advances in user experiences in visualising and interacting with computers and in the co-creation process, there has been little change in how we evaluate the user’s experience. This keynote will focus on the future of user experience evaluation methods considering how evaluation can be used to extend the user experience whilst providing quality data.


Lynne Hall is a Professor of Computer Science at the University of Sunderland, and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and of the British Computer Society. She has over 25 years of experience of researching and practicing in Human Computer Interaction, with over 120 publications and was Chair of the British HCI Conference in 2017. Lynne has participated in major research projects, including on social robotics, Serious Games, and intelligent virtual characters, with her research focusing on innovative user evaluation approaches. Through this work she has led dissemination activities, showcasing research to the European public as one of five exemplary EU projects as part of ICT2015. Lynne has considerable experience of engaging the academic community in collaborative work with SMEs, with her work on academic-industry engagement highlighted nationally. She leads knowledge transfer across the University and has previously held leadership roles in regional projects including the Sunderland Software City project stimulating engagement and involvement of academics, students and SMEs. Over the past 4 years Lynne has delivered knowledge transfer partnerships (KTP) with over 30 companies, being very highly commended as best practice by the regional KTP advisor. Lynne’s current KTP funding focus is working with colleagues in the Faculty of Business and Law to develop KTPs for the TSB retail initiative.