Put your prototype’s visual design and layout to the test with potential users and their preferences.

👥 10 and more | ⏰ days | 💪🏼 high effort


Desirability studies play an important role in discovering your customer’s potential attitudes and emotional responses toward a prototype’s visual design direction.

Because visual presentation supports a product’s usability, teams will want to validate that a chosen solution and its initial visual designs are met with good first impressions and perceptions of utility and credibility. At the end of a desirability study, the team can expect to receive a list of responses, usually in the form of adjectives or attributes, concerning how the participant emotionally reacted to a particular direction.

Who is involved?

Desirability studies require a recruiter to source participants who are willing to come into the building and communicate their emotional or attitudinal responses to your prototype’s visual designs; a moderator to present the mockups to participants; a note-taker or video recorder to capture responses so the moderator can focus on facilitating the session; and a team to synthesise the results and identify winning (and losing) visual directions.

How is it done?

  1. To get the most from this study, create several high-fidelity, visually differentiated mockups to show participants, capturing all the different interface and style directions the solution could pursue.
  2. Recruit participants who are capable of opening up and communicating their emotional responses to the mockups presented.
  3. Create index cards with a variety of adjectives or attributes (both good and bad) that could be said about your solution; or, leverage decks that have already been created, like the 118 Product Reaction Cards from Microsoft.
  4. During the sessions, present each visual direction and have participants select the cards that best describe their emotions or attitudes toward its style and layout.
  5. After enough responses have been collected, come together as a team and determine which direction aligns with your product goals, based on the adjectives and attributes selected by participants.