Using the Emoticon Score Method

There are a countless number of different ways to gather research in any experiment. With that being said, how do you know which method would be best for you? Knowing the different methods can help, but ultimately only one can really be used. Some of the ways the people can gather user experience data is through a one-way mirror, interviews, focus groups, surveys, and field studies are just some of what people can use (Understanding Your Users).

Today’s society will be more helpful with collecting data if the method that was used was the Emoticon Score Method. With all of the technological advances over the years, everyone’s attention span has become shorter and shorter, and no one likes to fill out long questionnaires or focus on it for a long period of time. This is also the reason why for the most part people skip over leaving any type of feedback no matter what it is, unless their experience was really awful. The emoticon score method notices this and creates a different way that is fun in a unique way. With everyone constantly on their phones and using emojis more than ever, this method has incorporated it into the feedback sessions. Instead of filling out question after question with long explanations, the user will click on the emoticon that expresses what they felt based on what the question is. This allows for the user to quickly leave a response and for them to quickly leave some kind of feedback. 

There are so many visuals out in the world now, that people are so used to have everything being visual. So by having the feedback be emoticons or as many people may call them “emojis” as the feedback buttons, will attract more people to want to give some kind of feedback. No matter who you are as soon as something visual appears whether it’s an image(s), video(s), gif, or anything else you are automatically go to it whether we consciously know it or not. It’s almost like a reflex at this point. 

A Finnish company called, HappyOrNot, created terminals that were freestanding with four different buttons that expressed different emoticons with a corresponding color (angry face is dark red). These terminals were placed in different businesses with a question so that when a customer walked by it they can answer it by taping one of the buttons. 

In 2017 a Swedish sofa retailer used this to help understand a sales problem that they could not figure out an answer to. The results they received surprised them in that the customers felt the most satisfied during hours when sales were low, and the least satisfied during the hours when sales where high (The New Yorker). To the retailer they were looking at the problem in the wrong way, and thanks to the HappyOrNot company they were able to figure out a solution. Also, Sarah Alismail and Hengwei Zhang conducted a study to see just how people are affected when they fill out user experience questionnaires using emojis or emoticons. The results were that for some people it was to narrow down everything they were feeling and choose one of the five emoticons that were presented. In addition, some people felt that the emotions they felt wasn’t really portrayed well in the emojis that were presented and thought a different one would portray certain feelings a little better. 

Just like any method, there are pros and cons to using this method. For example, the results from using this method did not always have substance, but they did have a lot of participants. People nowadays, respond to situations more emotionally than ever before. So when people are answering questions using this method they will be more honest since they only need to choose an emoticon and not have to explain themselves. There are moments where emotions are like images where one emotion can express a thousand words. 

As I am going through the process of redesigning the site for the famous and popular company, Target, I have decided that this method can be useful in gathering user experience data. Usually when we are on a website, we immediately show some kind of emotion while performing some kind of task. For example, if the thing we are trying to find is difficult and is making us frustrated we immediately become angry and sometimes we show it. Then on the other hand, we show excitement when we finally find what we were looking for. Since Target is a place to shop for anything from clothing to food to beauty supplies and anything in between, there is a lot of places that the user can show emotion whether it’s when the user is finding something specific to buy or something about the company in general. Not only that, but the user can express emotion just by looking at the site for five seconds and express how they feel about the design of it all. 

All in all, emotions can say a lot about something with very little or without any explanation needed at all. The emoticon score method allows for more people to participate in giving some type of feedback because of the visual and simplicity aspect of it all. After all who doesn’t like to take part in something that’s simple?


Alismail, Sarah, and Hengwei Zhang. “The Use of Emoji in Electronic User Experience Questionnaire: An Exploratory Case Study.” Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, 2018, 

Baxter, Kathy, et al. Understanding Your Users: A Practical Guide to User Research Methods. Second ed., Morgan Kaufmann, 2015. 

Owen, David. “Customer Satisfaction at the Push of a Button.” The New Yorker, 29 Jan. 2018, 

Saunders, Valerie. “How Emoticons Are Changing the Face of UX.” IXDPratt, 10 Apr. 2018, 

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