Needs for a positive user experience

The user experience plays a central role in the Fraunhofer IAO’s research into human-robot interaction. A positive user experience is linked to the fulfilment of needs – five were identified as particularly relevant in the context of the ZEN-MRI project.

When it comes to integrating robots harmoniously and successfully into public spaces, people’s needs play an important role. In the “UXellence” approach developed by the Fraunhofer IAO, various human needs are analysed in terms of their relevance in the respective context of use in order to design technologies in line with needs (Fronemann & Peissner, 2014). Based on psychological theories and empirical research (cf. Desmet & Fokkinga, 2020), the approach assumes that the fulfilment of relevant human needs in the interaction with technologies promotes a positive user experience. A positive user experience in turn increases the chance of a positive attitude and acceptance of the user towards the technologies. Depending on the technology and context of use, people often differ in the weighting of needs that are important to them, which can result in different types of needs. Identifying such differences between user groups is important in order to be able to design technologies, such as robots, in a target group-orientated and context-appropriate manner.

Interaction with robots: Fraunhofer IAO identifies relevant needs

In the context of human-robot interaction in the project, the Fraunhofer IAO has identified five particularly relevant needs. These are:

  • safety
  • comfort
  • autonomy
  • companionship
  • competence

The need for “competence” is defined, for example, as the ability to use one’s own skills to master challenges and maintain control over one’s own environment.


Involving users in the development process

In order to create a positive user experience and meaningful products, users are also involved in the development process in the ZEN-MRI project. In strategic workshops, experts discussed and identified the relevant needs for interaction and coexistence between robots and humans in public spaces. After experiencing the robots live, potential interaction partners also assessed the importance of these needs when coexisting with the Adlatus robots used in the project in public spaces. The needs identified by the Fraunhofer IAO were also rated by the respondents as relevant when interacting with robots in public spaces.
Further results of an additional analysis of target group-specific needs in human-robot interaction will be published shortly.

  • Fronemann, N., & Peissner, M. (2014, October). User experience concept exploration: user needs as a source for innovation. In Proceedings of the 8th nordic conference on human-computer interaction: Fun, fast, foundational (pp. 727-736).
  • Desmet, P., & Fokkinga, S. (2020). Beyond Maslow’s pyramid: Introducing a typology of thirteen fundamental needs for human-centred design. Multimodal technologies and interaction, 4(3), 38.