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User Value of a Smartphone: Definition and Evaluation Methodology

User Value of a Smartphone: Definition and Evaluation Methodology
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Recently, user value has been regarded as important by human-computer interaction researchers conducting studies on user experience (UX). Value that an individual can pursue has been studied in the field of social science, and some scholars in the field of marketing found that value may be connected to products
however, they focused primarily on determining how a user finally selects and buys a product. Agreeing to the linkage between value and products or services, this study intended to investigate what value is and how to evaluate it in the context of UX. This study distinguished life value from user value and identified components of each. In this study, user value elements are defined as a subset of life value elements. First, life value, user value and product/service value were defined, based on various previous studies. Then, elements of life value (e.g., happiness, beauty, freedom and equality) were listed and classified. The elements were assumed to be comprehensive, non-exclusive, neutral and empirical. After a longitudinal observation targeting smartphone users, user value elements of a smartphone (e.g., pleasure and convenience) were extracted from the list of life value elements. A total of 15 latent user value elements for a smartphone were extracted: convenience, pleasure, money, friendship, beauty, curiosity, relaxation, comfort, tenderness, privacy, confidence, kinship, happiness, reminiscence, and excitement. Moreover, a list of smartphone user value elements was examined and compared with a list of feature phone user value elements that were extracted in a previous study. Then, the value sampling method suggested. Although various methods (e.g., query and observation techniques) for evaluating abstract and ambiguous constructs are known, difficulties may occur when existing methods are applied to evaluate user value. One of the most important problems is variability of a set of user value elements. After discussing considerations that user value evaluation methods have to take into account, the value sampling method was newly designed for evaluating user value.Based on the value sampling method, a case study with smartphones was designed and conducted. A total of 42 individuals participated in the case study and 2381 valid ratings on smartphone user value were collected. The 15 latent user value elements for the smartphone were reconfirmed in this process, and the reliability of the value sampling method was verified. Additionally, effects of user experience factors on user value elements were observed with results of the case study.The result of this study can be used to investigate how new smartphones or applications satisfy user value. This study also has the scientific significance that the user value concept related to a certain product or service was defined and evaluated.
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