User Experience (UX) Patterns for Audio-Visual Networked Applications: Inspirations for Design

Full Papers
Proceedings: NordiCHI 2010, October 16–20, 2010
User Experience (UX) Patterns for Audio-Visual Networked
Applications: Inspirations for Design
Marianna Obrist1 , Daniela Wurhofer1 ,
Elke Beck1 , Amela Karahasanovic2,3 and
Manfred Tscheligi1
Christian Doppler Laboratory for
”Contextual Interfaces”
HCI & Usability Unit, ICT&S Center,
University of Salzburg, Salzburg, Austria
SINTEF ICT, Oslo, Norway
University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway
[email protected]
How to design and develop applications in order to lay the
foundation for a good user experience (UX) has become a
hot topic within the HCI community [22]. Designing for
a good user experience has been investigated for different
types of applications, such as social networking sites including audio-visual material (e.g. [20], [34]). Some of the
most prominent examples for audio-visual networked applications are Youtube, Flickr, Facebook, and MySpace. They
all build on user communities, provide networking opportunities for their members, and are strongly related to audiovisual user-generated content. Such social network and community websites have changed the way people use new media, by motivating their users to create personal profiles,
share photos and videos, write blogs, etc. However, there
is still a lack of knowledge on how the UX of such applications can be enhanced. Within this paper, we focus on
how to design for a good user experience of audio-visual
networked applications. More specifically, we report best
practices for doing this by means of UX patterns, which represent possibilities and inspirations for designers. The developed patterns are a first step in giving designers an empirically grounded guidance on how to design for a better
UX, and will be further extended with new insights gathered
from users’ experiences.
This paper summarizes best practices for improving user experience (UX) of audio-visual networked applications such
as YouTube, Flickr, or Facebook. Designing for a good UX
is becoming increasingly important within the HCI community. However, there is still a lack of empirically based
knowledge on how to design audio-visual networked applications for an optimal UX. Based on studies with more than
8000 users of ten different audio-visual networked applications, we have developed 30 user experience patterns (short
UX patterns). Our UX patterns are build on the end users’
experiences investigated in lab and field studies in three different European countries. Most other pattern collections are
based on the experience of designers or developers. In this
paper we will present how we have developed the UX patterns and will describe the major UX problem areas found
in detail. Our pattern collection can be useful to the designers of audio-visual networked applications and for the
researchers working in the area of UX by providing empirical evidence on identified UX problems and suggestions for
solutions referring to one or more of our UX patterns.
Author Keywords
Patterns, User Experience, User Experience Patterns, AudioVisual Applications, Social Media, Social Networked Applications
This paper is based on our UX studies with users of audiovisual networked applications, which were conducted as part
of a large three-year research project (2006-2009). Within
this project, audio-visual networked applications were developed in three different European countries, on different
platforms (web, mobile, IPTV – Internet Protocol Television), and addressed diverse target groups (online and offline
community members, families, professional artists, children,
etc.). More than 8000 potential and actual users were involved over the whole project in different design, development, and evaluation steps (e.g. from co-design sessions, lab
studies, to field evaluation studies), with a huge amount of
user feedback being collected. The knowledge we gained
within the project’s evaluation phase resulted in a set of 30
ACM Classification Keywords
H.5.m Information Interfaces and Presentation (e.g., HCI):
Miscellaneous; D.2.2 Software Engineering: Design Tools
and Techniques
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Proceedings: NordiCHI 2010, October 16–20, 2010
UX patterns, summarizing the most important insights on
how to improve UX in audio-visual networked applications.
These patterns are intended to capture the essence of a successful solution to a recurring UX related problem or demand of audio-visual networked applications. This work is
currently extended towards other contexts within a large national project on contextual interfaces.
count when constructing new buildings. Others made similar claims for explicitly considering human activity and a
user’s experience (e.g. [11] or [25]). Van Welie et al. [41]
also point out the need to consider experiences by describing them as the main user goals and tasks that need to be
supported by the designers.
Kohler et al. [25] state that there are no patterns describing solutions to motivational or other hedonic aspects. To
overcome this, they suggest developing patterns that integrate broad and general principles of human behavior in the
form of concrete solutions. In their article, they introduce
one pattern dealing with a user’s motivation. However, existing attempts to focus on the user’s experience are fragmentary and lack a comprehensive pattern collection.
In this paper, we first provide an introduction to the patterns
and their application in the field of HCI as well as their potential for UX. Afterwards, we describe how we developed
and validated the UX patterns, how the resulting pattern collection looks like, and how the UX patterns can be applied
according to the five major identified UX problem areas. Finally, we discuss the pattern approach as a tool for communicating knowledge on UX and inspiring designers of future
audio-visual networked applications.
Hassenzahl [21] states that a “good UX is the consequence
of fulfilling the human needs for autonomy, competency,
stimulation (self - oriented), relatedness, and popularity (others - oriented) through interacting with the product or service
(i.e. hedonic quality)”. Pragmatic quality, such as the usability of a system, is also contributing to a positive experience,
but only through facilitating the pursuit of meaningful hedonic needs. An important aim of “positive HCI” is to provide
users with “outstanding quality experiences” [22]. Thus, developing applications that are explicitly intended to create a
positive UX can be seen as an important step towards such
a “positive HCI”. The most important characteristics of UX
are its normative nature (differentiating between a positive,
desired experience and a negative, undesired experience that
a user can have when interacting with an application) [22] as
well as its dynamic nature [28].
Since their emergence in architecture [1], patterns have been
developed for a variety of application areas, ranging from
patterns for successful software engineering concepts [19]
to pedagogical patterns [18] for documenting good practices
in teaching. In the last years, patterns and pattern languages
have also gained popularity in HCI, as the broad application
spectrum of patterns clearly shows. A detailed review on
patterns and pattern languages in HCI as well as application
areas of patterns in HCI can be found in [15].
In the field of HCI, patterns are often used in order to convey principles and best practices of good interface design
(e.g. [3], [38]) and thus can be seen as a way of dealing
with the increasing complexity and diversity of interaction
design. A set of design patterns has been proposed in the
area of product design [43] based on the product attachment
theory. They describe how product interaction can help people to become who they desire to be. In the area of humanrobot interaction (HRI), design patterns were used for describing how to achieve sociality [23].
In order to preserve knowledge on UX and inspire designers
on how to account for a good UX in audio-visual networked
applications, we have developed 30 UX patterns. This extends the current state of the art on UX and patterns, as there
is no structured guidance (i.e. patterns) on how to design for
a better UX in such applications so far. These patterns were
developed through an iterative process and clustered in five
major problem areas. In the following sections we describe
the whole data collection and clustering process in detail.
A recently published book targets the design of social interfaces [14]. Principles and patterns for social software
are introduced by giving practical design solutions for improving the interfaces of social websites. Other research areas are dealing with the adoption of patterns for supporting
innovative game design [32], for describing best practices
in ubiquitous computing applications [10], and for teaching
human-computer interaction principles [26]. Patterns have
also been used for organizing and presenting ethnographic
material (see [30], [13]).
Collection of User Experience Data
The UX patterns were extracted from the results of a threeyear European project, which aimed to develop novel forms
of user communication and collaboration and to provide the
users with an optimal user experience based on their own
user-generated content. Apart from web-based applications,
mobile and IPTV applications were developed within this
project. Similar to applications such as YouTube, the developed applications enabled users to create their own usergenerated audio-visual content and share it over different
platforms. In order to investigate UX, we collected data in
the three testbeds located in different European countries.
UX was defined by eight central factors that were identified
as relevant for audio-visual networked applications. These
factors were fun/enjoyment, emotions, motivation, user engagement, user involvement, co-experience, sociability, and
The adoption of the pattern approach for a variety of different fields of HCI shown above, illustrates the flexibility and
broad applicability of patterns. Within the pattern community, there are demands for patterns explicitly dealing with
the general human perspective and UX in particular. The
first to emphasize a focus on social action and the human
perspective were Alexander et al. [2]. According to them,
it is essential to investigate how people experience architectural constructs and to take the user’s experience into ac2
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Proceedings: NordiCHI 2010, October 16–20, 2010
usability (see detailed evaluation framework and description
of the UX factors in [33]). This UX factor framework was
applied for collecting user feedback from all testbeds and
to detect common UX problems or demands and, in turn,
to identify UX patterns. For the collection of the user data
we used a combination of several qualitative and quantitative methods, such as interviews, focus groups, design workshops, questionnaires, lab and field studies, logging and semiotic content analysis, and the experience sampling method
(ESM). A detailed description of all evaluation sessions, methods, and results goes beyond the scope of this paper. We focus here on the resulting patterns based on this process for
improving the UX of audio-visual networked applications.
Table 1. Example for a UX Pattern (namely the Pattern 17 ‘Real-Life
Integration”) illustrating the used Structure and Content
Example: UX Pattern 17 “Real-Life
Integration” (part of the third UX Problem Area - see Figure 2)
How can the users’ offline activities
foster the use of an audio-visual networked application?
- The users want to support/strengthen
their offline social relationships via an
audio-visual networked application
- The users want the possibility to promote offline activities that are closely
related to activities on the application
Use this pattern when your online community has close connections to an offline world/community.
Main idea of the
pattern in a few
Problems related to
the usage of the
system, which are
solved/improved by
the pattern
Further elaboration of the problem
Pattern Development and Validation
The UX patterns were identified by using a template that
follows the pattern structure suggested by van Welie et al.
[39] and Borchers [8]. Table 1 shows an example UX pattern called ”Real-Life Integration” taken from our UX pattern collection (see Figure 2). This pattern example reflects
the main parts of a UX pattern, i.e. name, problem, forces,
context, solutions, and examples. It also illustrates the content of a typical UX pattern. The list and details for all 30
UX patterns can be found online1 .
Characteristics of
the pattern usage
solutions for the
described problem
Results of first evaluation phase
Definition & Structure
of UX Patterns
Examples of successful use of the
pattern in a system
Initial UX Pattern collection
- Implement features that allow the
mapping of offline social structures on
the application
- Possibility to announce important offline events on the application
- Possibility to report offline events or
activities on the application
- Announcement of tour schedule of
musicians on MySpace
- Videos about offline community
events on an IPTV platform
- Regional groups on Flickr
Writer’s workshop
with researchers
Our UX patterns were developed and refined iteratively, based
on empirical data from user studies (see [35]) as well as on
validation sessions with designers and developers (e.g. from
co-design sessions, lab studies, to field evaluation studies).
Figure 1 illustrates this iterative process. The UX patterns
are based on the secondary analysis of the data collected
during the evaluation of five applications and five use cases.
During this evaluation we used in total 17 evaluation methods. The whole pattern development process was planned
iteratively. First, eight researchers individually analyzed the
empirically collected data to identify patterns in the three
testbeds, using the same pattern template (see left column of
Table 1). Then, the identified patterns from each researcher
were compared and a common set of patterns was generated
for each testbed. In the next step, the patterns from the different testbeds were merged, resulting in an initial UX pattern collection. Following the ideas presented by Borchers
[7], we conducted a writer’s workshop with the researchers,
in which the initial UX patterns were discussed and modified, and additional patterns were defined, resulting in an
extended UX pattern collection. Another design and evaluation cycle within the project followed and revealed additional UX data, which were used to further extend and revise
the UX pattern collection.
Extended UX Pattern collection
Results of second
evaluation phase
Feedback on UX Patterns
by independent expert
Revised UX Pattern collection
Interactive Pattern Workshop
Revised UX Pattern collection
Pattern Checklist
Revised UX Pattern collection
Figure 1. Development and Validation of UX Patterns
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Proceedings: NordiCHI 2010, October 16–20, 2010
In order to validate the quality of the UX patterns, we developed a quality criteria framework which includes five main
criteria, namely findability, understandability, helpfulness,
empirical verification, and overall acceptance (see a detailed
description in [42]). In order to validate the quality of the
UX patterns, two validation sessions with potential users of
the UX patterns (i.e. designers and developers) were conducted. The first validation session was arranged as an interactive pattern workshop, with six design students. The
second validation session was conducted with six computer
science students using a checklist we developed for estimating the quality of a pattern on a 5-point rating scale.
4. Raise and maintain the interest in the A/V application.
5. Support users in handling the A/V application.
These problem areas are related to the overall goal to design
for a better user experience in audio-visual networked applications and are provided as a starting point for inspiring
designers in their design decisions.
In this section we present insights for each user experience
problem area gained within our project. Thereby, we discuss the most important UX issues that account for a positive UX in audio-visual networked applications and give an
overview about the related patterns. In favor of easier referencing, the patterns are consecutively numbered in Figure 2.
In the very left column of that figure, UX pattern 6, “Content
Co-Creation”, is further subdivided into additional patterns
due to their high relevance for audio-visual networked applications. For details about single UX patterns and concrete
solutions to the problems described below, we refer to our
UX patterns website (see footnote 1).
The goal of these validation sessions was to evaluate the
quality of selected UX patterns with regard to understandability, helpfulness, and overall acceptability, focusing on
practical aspects in the usage of patterns by designers and
developers. The results of the validations then provided the
basis for two more revisions of the UX patterns. These revisions mainly concerned the grouping of the patterns, their
naming, and the problem statement of each pattern.
After the first validation session, the patterns were grouped
according to more general problems they address. After
each of the two validation sessions, the names of the patterns were iterated and verbs were removed from the pattern
names. Furthermore, the problem part was described more
concretely. The designers’ and developers’ rating of the content and the structure of the patterns implied that the general
acceptance of the patterns was rather high concerning the
individual ratings on the checklist. Interestingly, the stakeholders were not immediately convinced about the helpfulness of the patterns; however, after exploring some in detail, they reconsidered and decided that patterns would be
helpful in the design process. A detailed description of the
validation sessions and results including the applied quality
criteria framework for validating patterns can be found in
[42]. At the end of this iterative development process, our
UX pattern collection comprised 30 UX patterns. The UX
patterns have to be seen as suggestions for solving the identified problem area. Thus, the 30 UX patterns were further
categorized by sorting them according to similar problems
areas. These areas cover the main UX issues in audio-visual
networked applications, which we identified based on the
literature review and our empirical data. Our research team
limited the categories to five problem areas so that designers and developers (intended users of UX patterns) could
quickly find the solutions they need for a given UX issue.
Further, an affinity diagramm was constructed which shows
the relations between the patterns and their problem areas.
Figure 2 provides an overview of the collection, with the
patterns grouped according to the five main identified UX
problem areas they address, namely:
Feeling of Being Part of the Community
This problem area contains patterns dealing with the question of how users of an audio-visual application can be given
a communal feeling (established through the application).
Figure 2 shows the patterns belonging to this category. With
a total of eight patterns and six sub-patterns, this group is the
biggest. This goes in line with our observations that a feeling
of belonging is an important requirement for audio-visual
networked applications. Moreover, a feeling of belonging is
an important precondition for (re-)using an application. One
issue which turned out to be central in this category was the
possibility of giving an application a personal look, covered
with UX pattern 1, “Self Presentation”. We found that the
presentation of oneself and of others often leads to a more
positive experience. For example, by personalizing the appearance of their profiles, users are presenting themselves
to other application users. Conversely, by having the possibility to view profiles of other users, they can know with
whom they are interacting. Audio-visual networked applications accounting for such a personal look should therefore
provide the functionality for creating and viewing personal
Strengthening the sense of community is another important
issue supporting a positive experience in audio-visual networked applications. Having something in common with
other application users or experiencing something together
creates a communal feeling among the users. Such a sense of
community can be for example enforced by establishing “social groups” through gaming competitions that require team
play and cooperation. This and other solutions can be found
in UX pattern 2, “Common Goals”. Letting users directly
profit from the community aspect also accounts for a positive
experience in audio-visual networked applications, which is
the theme of UX pattern 3, “Content Sharing”. Such profit
can be, for example, collective community content or the
appreciation of other application members for the produced
1. Increase the feeling of being part of the community via an
A/V application.
2. Increase the user’s trust in the A/V application.
3. Raise the personal and social benefit of using the A/V application.
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How to design for a be[er U\ in A/V applica9ons] Increase the feeling of being part of the community via the A/V applica9on Increase the user’s trust in the A/V applica9on Raise the personal and social benefit of using the A/V applica9on (1) Self Presenta9on (15) Privacy Management (17) Real-­‐Life Integra9on (20) Fun Factor (25) Ini9al Support (2) Common Goals (16) Gradual Involvement (18) Innova9on U Tradi9on (21) Content Variety (26) Easy Yrienta9on (19) Explicit Purpose (22) Social Rewards (27) Informa9on Management (23) User Responsibility (28) Fast Data Input (24) User Challenges (29) Dynamic Informa9on Grouping (3) Content Sharing (4) Content Crea9on (5) Social Interac9on (6) Content Co-­‐Crea9on (13) Interest Groups (14) Visible Interac9on (7) User-­‐
Centric Updates (8) Version History (9) Consolida9on View Raise and maintain the interest in the A/V applica9on Support users in handling the A/V applica9on (30) Constant Feedback (10) Idea Rooms (11) Point of Reference (12) Quick-­‐
Start Template Figure 2. Grouping of the 30 UX patterns under the 5 main identified User Experience Problem Areas for Inspiring Design of A/V Applications
content. For instance, features for uploading, viewing, and
modifying collective content can support such an experience.
represents another way for improving their UX in an audiovisual networked application and supports the sense of community. UX pattern 6, “Content Co-Creation”, and the related UX patterns 7 - 12 further clarify this topic focusing on
application features for collectively creating and modifying
content (e.g. collaborative storytelling, video commenting).
UX pattern 4, “Content Creation”, covers another issue influencing UX in a positive way, namely the user’s feeling of
being actively involved in the platform. The feeling of active involvement can be achieved when the users are given
the possibility to act as “designers” and to actively contribute
to the appearance and the content on the application. Thus,
features that enable users to produce content and to place the
created content on the platform are one possibility to account
for this pattern. Providing space to the users for sharing their
experiences and knowledge has also a positive effect on UX
in audio-visual networked applications, as explained in UX
pattern 5, “Social Interaction”. Letting the users interact
with each other via the platform enabled them to partake
or profit from their experiences, which turned out to be important for UX. Providing different means of communication is one way to support experience and knowledge sharing. Moreover, enabling users to collectively create content
UX pattern 8 “Version History” is in line with the Interaction History pattern proposed by van Welie [40]. They both
focus on the importance of the use of history, but the pattern proposed by van Welie refers to the single-user context,
whereas our UX pattern 8 identifies this need in the multiuser interaction context. Another way to improve UX is by
supporting the users to find like-minded others on the audiovisual networked application. Meeting other users with similar interests thus accounts for a positive experience (see for
example [37]). In order to achieve this, functions for forming and subscribing to special “Interest Groups” (see UX
pattern 13) can be implemented in the application. In contrast, the findings of Ludford et al. [29] showed that dissimilarities among online community members led to increased
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contribution and satisfaction within the community, because
its members appreciated the feeling of uniqueness. Further
research is needed to clarify which situations might benefit
from different degrees of either similarity or uniqueness. Increasing social presence of the users is also important for a
positive UX in audio-visual networked applications. Users
experience the community as lively when other members are
aware of them and their content, or when they are informed
about other users’ activities and feelings. To support such a
feeling of social presence among users, UX pattern 14, “Visible Interaction”, suggests displaying ongoing activities on
the starting page or sending the users messages about their
friends’ current status.
on- and off-line activities contributes to a favorable perception of the application. Another possibility to influence UX
in a positive way is to offer a balanced amount of new and innovative versus traditional and well-known services and application elements. If a service is experienced as too familiar
– e.g. because of other audio-visual networked applications
with the same service – the users will not be motivated to
try it, as such a service does not offer additional value. On
the other hand, if the service is experienced as too different, users will have a hard time in identifying the purpose of
the service and thus may be loathe to spend time investigating how it will benefit them. Consequently, a practical way
of providing the users with a positive application experience
is to blend innovative concepts with traditional audio-visual
application elements. UX pattern 18, “Innovation & Tradition”, focuses on this issue.
Trustworthiness and Security
Another important problem area is related to the task of providing a trustworthy and secure audio-visual networked application [36]. There have been efforts to define a pattern
language for trust in related areas, e.g. for online consumer
trust in e-commerce [24] focusing on information policy,
reputation and warranty policy. The UX patterns of this paper concentrate on user privacy and user involvement. As
shown in UX pattern 15 “Privacy Management”, it is essential for a positive UX that the users feel in control over their
self-generated content, in order to be able to shape their online identity and self-disclosure. The feeling of trust towards
the application, its providers and the other users depends on
a balanced degree of privacy and publicity of all personal
information and uploaded content. This can be achieved by
giving the users the opportunity to reveal different parts of
their identity depending on the social context and to limit
access to their content.
Explicitly stating the purpose of an audio-visual networked
application to help users quickly identify the benefit of using it would seem to be an obvious requirement for a positive
UX. Nevertheless, there are applications that do not manage
to immediately attract users and make their purpose clear at
a first glance. According to UX pattern 19, “Explicit Purpose”, this problem can be avoided by clearly communicating the defined aim, concept, and content via design and
information architecture on the welcome page of the application. Potential users can then immediately know if the
platform meets their expectations and requirements.
Interest Maintenance
Next to raising the users’ interest in the usage of audiovisual networked applications, the challenge lies in maintaining that interest and in encouraging them continue contributing content. This UX problem area deals with the prevention of boredom and the elicitation of a joyful experience
among the users of an application. UX pattern 20, “Fun Factor”, specifically refers to the fun-in-use factor of the provided services and functions of the audio-visual networked
applications. In order to keep the users actively contributing to the application, it is beneficial to focus not just on the
utility of the services but also on their entertaining character. Hence, one possibility to raise positive emotions during
application usage is to provide the users with entertaining or
surprising elements.
Building trust takes time and if users have to register for an
application without being given the chance to explore the
application and discover personal benefits beforehand, they
may abandon the site. Bishop [4], for example, researched
the question of how to persuade lurkers to become active
contributors. They investigated a system that indicates the
credibility of community members to lurkers in order to establish a trustful relationship between the members and motivate the lurkers to participate in the community. In our
research, we also found that potential users should be gradually involved in the community to give them a positive,
trustful UX of the application. Starting with the availability
of basic functions of the application, users are continually
provided with enhanced features after they passed through
several levels of registration and user-generated content contribution. UX pattern 16, “Gradual Involvement”, provides
further solutions for this UX problem.
Our findings from the user studies clearly showed that users
strive for variety when using an audio-visual networked application. A loss of interest in the application, and thus a
negative UX can be caused by outdated content and stagnating application development. To avoid this, UX pattern 21,
“Content Variety”, suggests prominently placing and marking new content on the application, as well as keeping functionalities up-to-date or providing new ones.
Personal and Social Benefit
This collection of UX patterns comprises the challenge of
how to raise the personal and social benefit of audio-visual
networked application usage among its users. As described
in UX pattern 17, “Real-Life Integration”, UX can be influenced in a positive way if the application includes aspects
of the real life of its users. In other words, off-line activities of the users should be closely related to the activities
within the application and vice versa. This tight relation of
One reason why people use audio-visual networked applications is related to the ‘social significance user value’ [9].
These users experience the application as beneficial if it provides social rewards for their contributions. As described in
UX pattern 22, “Social Rewards”, social rewards can take
the form of feedback or comments on contributions, or an
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indication of which contributions received how much attention by other users. Similarly, Lampel and Bhalla [27] argue
that status, as a kind of social reward, is a motive for contributing knowledge and content to the community and leads
to a sustainable contribution behavior within communities.
Apart from social rewards, the members of online communities experience their participation as valuable when they
can take responsibility for the application. Giving users the
opportunity to actively shape the application, increases their
commitment to and involvement in it. UX pattern 23, “User
Responsibility”, points out that this can be achieved by integrating tools for organizing contents, expressing opinions
about the application, and getting in contact with application
developers in the application.
worked application easier by offering suggestions or predictions based on previous user input.
Another crucial point is the amount of information displayed
to the user. Too much information can overwhelm the users,
whereas too little can leave them bored and uninterested.
One possible solution is to provide “Dynamic Information
Grouping” (UX pattern 29), such as filtering information according to the user’s interests, friends, and groups.
Finally, UX pattern 30 stresses the importance of “Constant
Feedback”. Constant feedback from the application to its
users contributes to a positive user experience, in the sense
that the users need application and service status information
about, for example, content upload progress and errors.
Providing “User Challenges” (UX pattern 24) also contributes to a positive UX, since the users of an audio-visual
networked application can get bored when using the application for a longer time. By adding challenging elements like
games, quizzes, and competitions to the application, users
can enjoy competing with others and thus keep themselves
from getting annoyed by the usual participation activities in
the community.
Alexander et al. [2] already claimed that it is essential to
observe and investigate how a user experiences architectural
constructs (i.e. to take the user’s experience into account
when constructing new buildings, rooms etc.). Existing pattern languages mostly do not deal with what users experience; rather, they deal with “technical” facts or are limited
to usability issues. In this paper, we made a step towards
focusing on user experience as a central topic for the HCI
community. The most important aspect of the contribution
is that we started with the users and used their input (collected in several studies - see e.g. [34]) to create our user
experience (UX) patterns. As best we can tell, no other pattern collections describe best practices related to the design
of user experience of audio-visual networked applications.
User Support
This problem area describes UX patterns that focus on helping users to handle the audio-visual networked application
efficiently. It is therefore related to the usability of the application, which itself is an influencing factor on the UX. One
possibility to immediately facilitate a positive UX for novice
users is to provide them with “Initial Support” (UX pattern
25) - for example, by offering the users playful, interactive
ways to get to know the application and the provided functionalities. Additionally, users will appreciate an “Easy Orientation” (UX pattern 26) within the audio-visual networked
application, especially when it contains large amounts of
user-generated content. Further, users are not interested in
investing much time in searching for specific content. Thus,
applying approved navigation structures and elements and
providing interconnections between contents will help keep
users from feeling lost in the application.
Other existing design patterns are still limited to mainly usability issues and do not take into account the huge amount
of existing UX research, which has become an important
area within the HCI community. We do not claim that all
insights on UX, stored as UX patterns, are new. Some of
our UX patterns, especially those dealing with usability issues (e.g. “Easy Orientation”, “Constant Feedback”, “Information Management”), may remind the reader of basic
usability principles or existing interaction design patterns
(see discussed similarities with references on pages 4 - 7).
However, what distinguishes our collection from most other
pattern collections is that our UX patterns represent empirically proofed insights on UX specifically in audio-visual networked applications. Also, instead of focusing on the user
interface of an application, we focus on the user’s experience
while interacting with the application (with usability issues
of the interface as one of many factors influencing UX).
In general, a sophisticated information management will support the users in their consumption and contribution of usergenerated content on the audio-visual networked application. UX pattern 27, “Information Management”, states that
the experience of the application can be improved by letting
the users manage sets of objects like photos and videos, by
using over-views and detail-views, by enabling user-defined
grouping of content and information, and by integrating features for easily adding new content and deleting outdated
Similarities to our UX patterns could be detected in the book
by Crumlish and Malone [14] about patterns for designing
social interfaces to improve UX. Although their patterns address similar issues, there are two fundamental differences
to our approach.
Redundant and needlessly complicated user actions (e.g. content upload and data input) within the audio-visual networked
application leads to boredom among the users. One way
to avoid this is to help users easily add data to the application by taking into account individual usage habits and typical choices of users. UX pattern 28, “Fast Data Input”,
suggests making the input of text to the audio-visual net-
1. First, we build on the users’ experiences instead of building on the experience of designers or developers. The advantage of starting from the users’ point of view is that the
patterns are directly based on their input and thus are not
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Proceedings: NordiCHI 2010, October 16–20, 2010
biased by designers’ or developers’ interpretation of the
users’ experience. However, it is necessary to validate the
patterns with designers and developers, as they are the intended users of our UX patterns and should apply them in
practice. Therefore, we iterated our UX patterns with designers and developers as part of the pattern development
the main UX problems. The developed patterns are providing designers an empirically grounded guidance on how to
design for a better UX. A full list of our UX patterns can
be accessed on the Web (see footnote 1). Experienced designers always have an advantage over inexperienced ones
when designing a new system. Expert designers reuse solutions that have worked in the past. When they find a good
solution, they use it again and again. Consequently, recurring patterns are formed. Such patterns help designers to
reuse successful designs by basing new designs on prior experience. A designer who is familiar with patterns can also
apply them immediately to design problems without having
to rediscover them.
2. A second difference is that our UX patterns have a broader
focus, because we looked beyond web applications – IPTV
applications, for instance. Furthermore, the fact that we
are validating our UX patterns against certain quality criteria [42] also differentiates our approach from that of
most other pattern collections, in particular from the one
of Crumlish and Malone [14].
When using our UX pattern collection in practice, the adoption of each UX pattern strongly depends on the context of
use and thus must always be determined by the stakeholder
designing or developing an application. Our pattern collection and the main identified UX problem areas provide
a starting point for inspiring designers in their design decisions. The UX patterns should be seen as a collection of empirically revealed solutions, providing suggestions on how to
solve particular UX problems rather than as fixed instruction
for actions suitable for every context.
We developed UX patterns in order to preserve knowledge
on UX and to make it available for other researchers and
practitioners in a comprehensive and easy to use format. During this process we experienced several challenges. For example, finding appropriate names was not always easy. Moreover, it was sometimes difficult to clearly distinguish between the forces and the solutions of a pattern. However,
the close collaboration with expected pattern users for validating and improving the UX patterns turned out to be especially helpful for such issues. The examples (of the use of a
pattern in a system) we found in the collected data were both
positive and negative. In our patterns we describe only positive examples. In doing so, we risk missing some important
messages from our users, but we preserve the “tradition” of
patterns as describing best practices. Moreover, research in
the field of teaching showed that negative teaching mechanisms like anti-patterns (i.e. patterns using negation) or negative guidelines confused the students and created pitfalls in
the knowledge transfer [26].
As the process of developing patterns is a subjective activity,
it might be that different researchers would identify different patterns based on the same data set. To overcome these
limitations we followed an iterative development, merging,
and evaluation process. During the analysis phase, several
researchers were involved in individual as well as collaborative sessions.
Compared to existing pattern collections and common pattern development processes, we did not start from the designers’ experiences when we developed the UX patterns
discussed in this paper. Our UX patterns are based on empirical data collected from users of an application. This is
similar to the approach taken by Martin et al. [31] - they
present patterns of cooperative interaction that they derived
from ethnographic studies of cooperative work. By combining the pattern concept, an already proved and valuable approach, with an empirical data collection process, we gained
a lot of insights on how users’ experience the interaction
with a system, what kind of problems appear, and what further demands they have.
Within the CHI community, several experts build their research on the pattern approach (most recently [5]). It was
pointed out that patterns can facilitate the communication
among all stakeholders, and are more than just a sort of poetic form of guidelines. Pattern languages are intended to be
meta languages used to generate project-specific languages
that are grounded in the social and cultural particularities
of a given design domain. Moreover, it can be stated that
patterns are important as they provide a common vocabulary [16], they are structured around the problems designers
face, and they provide solution statements [17]. These pattern characteristics can reduce time and effort for designing
new projects considerably [41] and support a better communication among different stakeholders. In summary, capturing useful design solutions and generalizing them to address
similar problems is one of the big advantages of patterns,
in part because the documentation and use of best practices
improves the quality of design.
Despite considerable research related to design patterns within HCI, there are few empirical studies evaluating them. Patterns can be validated in two ways. On the one hand, they
can be validated by using expert/stakeholder-based evaluation methods, such as heuristics, checklists, workshops etc.
On the other hand, patterns are validated through practical use by stakeholders, such as designers and developers.
Borchers [6], for example, inspected whether a set of developed patterns met a set of defined criteria and evaluated their
didactic usefulness. Cowley and Wesson [12] conducted an
experimental evaluation of the usefulness of patterns, comparing a set of patterns with a set of similar guidelines. Kotze
et al. [26] compared the use of patterns and anti-patterns in
Within this paper we aimed to fill the lack of knowledge
on how to design for a good UX, in particular focusing on
audio-visual networked applications. To do so we used the
pattern approach and reported the development and validation process of our 30 UX patterns and provided insights on
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Proceedings: NordiCHI 2010, October 16–20, 2010
education. As a first step for evaluating our UX patterns, we
conducted two validations with designers and developers to
enhance their quality (see section on “Patterns Development
and Validation” and our “quality criteria framework” [42]).
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The development of design patterns is an iterative process,
and thus we plan to further validate the ones presented here.
As audio-visual networked applications and users’ expectations related to their user experience will change over time,
the UX pattern collection has to be constantly updated. To
facilitate this process we use our established pattern website
with its integrated comment/feedback channel. Overall, we
will further investigate UX and try to preserve the collected
knowledge based on the pattern approach in order to enable
designers and developers to enhance UX in a positive way.
Besides the context of audio-visual networked applications,
we will further extend our patterns to other contexts in order
to get a comprehensive pattern collection of so-called “contextual UX patterns”. Dependent on the specific context, the
adequate sub-collection of patterns can be chosen. In particular, we will investigate UX patterns for the context car
as well as for the context factory as part of a large national
project on “Contextual Interfaces”.
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This work was partly funded by the Federal Ministry of Economy, Family and Youth and the National Foundation for Research, Technology and Development (Christian Doppler Laboratory for “Contextual Interfaces”) as well as by the CITIZEN MEDIA research project (FP6-2005-IST-41). Thanks
go to all people involved in the collection of the empirical
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