A Method for Evaluating Animal Usability (MEAU)

Ruge, Luisa and Mancini, Clara (2019). A Method for Evaluating Animal Usability (MEAU). In: Proceedings of the Sixth International Conference on Animal-Computer Interaction (ACI'19), Association for Computer Machinery, New York, NY, USA, article no. 14.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1145/3371049.3371060


Animal Computer Interaction, aims to design user centered interactions that result in good user experiences (UX). During evaluation, the quality of the UX is assessed by measuring the degree to which the interaction between the user and the artefact meets the users’ needs and preferences, as evidenced by their behavior. A key measure of the UX is usability. When evaluating usability for different species, ACI researchers face two major challenges: the differences in cognitive, physical and sensory capabilities between human evaluators and animal users, with the implications these differences have for assessing the users’ behavior; and the human-centric focus of most usability evaluation methods currently available. To address these challenges, this paper proposes a Method for Evaluating Animal Usability (MEAU), here tailored to Mobility Assistance Dogs as the users, and illustrates its application during a study that compared the canine usability of different access controls.

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