Provotyping: Evaluating feedback through negative emotional response in UX digital prototypes

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Goergen, Spencer
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McKilligan, Seda
Luz, Ana
Lee, Jae-Hwa
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Industrial Design
Provotyping is a method that is focused on the provocation of the user during an experience to create new ideas for further implementations of the design. While prototyping is generally based on a guess of a possible solution, provotyping actively seeks to provoke a specified emotion or reaction. The purpose of the following studies was to investigate feedback and the use of the method of provotyping in user experience (UX) design, specifically in the digital space. Through usability testing with ten students and a following cognitive test and interview, this feedback was addressed and analyzed. Two prototypes and two provotypes were utilized in the usability tests around two categories – social media and class scheduler. The class scheduler provotype used the theme of calling to complete an action and the social media provotype had a theme of loss of control. The provotype designs emphasized the negative emotions of confusion and frustration. A follow-up study was conducted with two design professionals on the findings from the student participants, and further implementations of new ideas and features were discussed for these interface designs in the interviews. It was found that the prototypes and provotypes conjured similar findings in terms of quality and quantity. At times, the provotype findings reflected more specified feature insights, while at other times displayed deeper understandings of the intended purposes of functionalities within the interface. Through the discussion with the design professionals, it was apparent that the provotype was able to bring up new ideas and implementations for future features and prototypes. These findings display the effectiveness of the provotyping method within the digital space for gathering feedback and implementing further iterations of the interface. While both provotypes and prototypes performed similarly in divulging feedback from the users, there were times that the provotype found unique discussion points that were not uncovered by the prototype, due potentially to the provocation of negative emotions or the themes of the provotypes. These studies are significant because they enable furthering the use of provotypes within the UX digital space. Through these studies, there is a starting point to suggesting that UX digital provotypes offer new and exciting findings. Further, the design professionals that took part in these studies suggest, through their feedback, that this method finds new features and ideas, enabling teams to utilize this method as a new tool. More research is necessary on proving the validity of provotyping for digital interfaces. Furthermore, there is a need to establish use cases where provotyping is applicable and useful in professional settings, as professional spaces emphasize a need for proficiency in terms of time, personnel, and financial investment.