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This is a blog from the Internet Development Team at ILRT, Bristol. We build websites and web applications for a wide variety of customers, many in the UK higher education sector. Continue reading…

Is your website emotional?

Bipolar Emotional Response Tests (BERTs)

Design provokes an emotional response. The positive we remember –  the Mini, the iPhone, the London Underground Map – the negative we try to forget. Websites are no different.

While all aspects of design are subjective it is possible to plan for the emotional response you want from your website. It is also possible to test whether or not your plan worked.

Emotional response tests, and the methods behind them, vary. One we use on some ILRT-designed sites is Bipolar Emotional Response Tests (BERTs).

BERTs ask people to look at a design and then pick their response when given a series of opposing (or near opposing) alternatives. For example

  • Professional/Amateur
  • Cold/Warm,
  • Serious/Amusing
  • Busy/Calm

The paired opposites are devised early in the project. There is normally a core of questions “as standard” but a designer or analyst will agree the final questions with the site stakeholders/owner.

Devising the series of questions is a subjective act in itself. The process can be very useful in getting a clearer view from stakeholders of what they their site to say about their organisation.

Using BERTs

The initial BERT is run with stakeholders to arrive at a benchmark emotional response. This is a ‘profile’ (a line graph is fine) of the kind of response that stakeholders want their site to provoke and the reactions they don’t want.

Once the benchmark profile is established, site visitors and users run through BERTs – normally for the existing site, new design prototype(s), and the final design. It is a quick and easy task to match the profile after each test to show how close one has got to the ideal.

BERTs can be run on paper or online. We issue BERTs via the service we developed – Bristol Online Surveys (BOS).

BERTs usually only take minutes for people to complete as the more immediate the response the better.

Pete Walker – ILRT Assistant Director

This entry was posted on 8th March 2010 at 4:10 pm and is filed under Briefings. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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