September 15 – 18 , 2010, Dagstuhl Seminar 10373

Demarcating User eXperience


Jettie Hoonhout (Philips Research Lab. – Eindhoven, NL)
Effie Lai-Chong Law (University of Leicester, GB)
Virpi Hannele Roto (Aalto University, FI)
Arnold Vermeeren (TU Delft, NL)

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Thirty user experience (UX) researchers and practitioners spent three days in Dagstuhl in order to bring clarity to the concept of user experience. The participants represented different perspectives to user experience from holistic to modeling approach, from real-time psychophysiological research to investigating user experience after a long period of time, and from standardization and research to consultancy work.

By ‘demarcating’ user experience, the organizers wanted to make the relation clearer to the neighboring concepts of usability, interaction design, consumer experience, etc. The term created a lively discussion on whether this field needs demarcation: many researchers do not want their research field to be limited, while some industry people need a sound judgment on what user experience work includes. Despite the different needs, the participants seemed to agree on the need for bringing clarity to the vague concept of user experience. The participants also identified the need for further work on clarifying the different theoretical perspectives behind the different interpretations of user experience, and their impact on user experience work both in industry and academia.

Instead of dismissing the whole term of user experience, we believe UX can be defined to cover a certain set of cases and to make its scope clear. In this seminar, we will demarcate the field of user experience.

The main result of the seminar is a white paper, which aims to clarify some core concepts of user experience. As can be seen from the abstracts in this collection, it has been challenging to come up with a white paper that would serve all needs and do justice to all the different perspectives. This work was on conceptual level, so the paper does not provide direct practical guidance for UX work. Nevertheless, thanks to the wide variety of perspectives to user experience represented, the seminar was an eye-opening experience for the participants.

The User Experience White Paper is based on the discussions between the participants in Dagstuhl and is available at


  • Society / Human Computer Interaction / Hci
  • Interdisciplinary


  • User experience
  • Affective interaction
  • Experiential evaluation
  • Definition


In the series Dagstuhl Reports each Dagstuhl Seminar and Dagstuhl Perspectives Workshop is documented. The seminar organizers, in cooperation with the collector, prepare a report that includes contributions from the participants' talks together with a summary of the seminar.


Download overview leaflet (PDF).

Dagstuhl's Impact

Please inform us when a publication was published as a result from your seminar. These publications are listed in the category Dagstuhl's Impact and are presented on a special shelf on the ground floor of the library.


Furthermore, a comprehensive peer-reviewed collection of research papers can be published in the series Dagstuhl Follow-Ups.