Semantic differential scale
A semantic differential scale is a list of opposite adjectives. It is a method invented by C.E. Osgood (1957) in order to measure the connotative meaning of cultural objects.
Semantic differential scales are used in a variety of social science research but it also is used in marketing and practical, user experience research and therapy. Sometimes semantic differentials are also known as polarities.
2 Using semantic differentials for looking at web site designs
The average score for each word defines a sort of "correlation" between the word and the object being tested.
In simple market analysis, the average score for the whole scale defines the overall quality of the object being tested. Of course, that only works if the scale's items represent negative/positive). In this sense it is used like a Likert scale.
In Osgood's original research, factor analysis showed the emergence of three underlying components that have been named: Evaluation, potency and activity (EPA). “The Evaluation dimension is tapped by the “good, nice” versus “bad, awful” scale just mentioned. The Potency dimension corresponds to a scale that contrasts “powerful, big” with “powerless, little.” A scale for assessing the Activity dimension contrasts “fast, noisy, active” with “slow, quiet, inactive.” Pan-cultural multivariate analyses have demonstrated that these EPA dimensions are clearly recognizable in multiple cultures and a variety of languages.” (Heise, 2001).
4.1 Electronic Marketing Quality (EMQ)
Verhagen and Meents (2007:22) identify the following dimensions:
- Ease of Use
- Contacting the intermediary
- Institutional control
- Contacting sellers
- Seller information
- Product information
- Pricing mechanisms
- Meeting sellers
4.2 Onscreen typefaces
Shaikh (2009) used the following differentials with Osgoods classic potency, evaluative and activity dimensions:
- Potency reflects typefaces that are seen as having strength, power, or force.
- Evaluative reflects typefaces that are viewed as having value, worth, and importance.
- Activity reflects typefaces that are considered to be full of energy, movement, and action.
The items were presented in this order (factor dimension in parenthesis)
- Passive - Active (activity)
- Warm -- Cool
- Strong -- Weak
- Bad -- Good (evaluative)
- Loud -- Quiet (activity)
- Old -- Young
- Cheap -- Expensive (evaluative)
- Beautiful -- Ugly (evaluative)
- Happy -- Sad
- Delicate -- Rugged (potency)
- Calm -- Excited (activity)
- Feminine -- Masculine (potency)
- Hard -- Soft (potency)
- Fast -- Slow (activity)
- Relaxed -- Stiff (potency)
4.3 Attitude scale for a web site
From UPA's web maintenance and design, retrieved April 11, 2011.
The XXX association whose web site looks like this is:
Unfriendly __1 __2 __3 __4 __5 __6 __7 Friendly Amateurish __1 __2 __3 __4 __5 __6 __7 Professional Ineffective __1 __2 __3 __4 __5 __6 __7 Effective Dull __1 __2 __3 __4 __5 __6 __7 Interesting Outdated __1 __2 __3 __4 __5 __6 __7 Up-to-date Serious __1 __2 __3 __4 __5 __6 __7 Fun Weak __1 __2 __3 __4 __5 __6 __7 Strong This visual design is: Cluttered __1 __2 __3 __4 __5 __6 __7 Simple Unbalanced __1 __2 __3 __4 __5 __6 __7 Balanced Unpleasant __1 __2 __3 __4 __5 __6 __7 Pleasant Delicate __1 __2 __3 __4 __5 __6 __7 Bold Confusing __1 __2 __3 __4 __5 __6 __7 Clear
4.5 Personalities of products
Jordan (2002) found in Simon Lessing's User Experience Design at Sony Ericsson,
- Kind -- Unkind
- Honest -- Dishonest
- Serious-minded -- Light-hearted
- Bright -- Dim
- Stable -- Unstable
- Narcissistic -- Humble
- Flexible - Inflexible
- Authoritarian -- Liberal
- Value-driven - Non-value driven
- Extrovert -- Introvert
- Naive -- Cynical
- Excessive -- Moderate
- Conformist -- Rebel
- Energetic -- Unenergetic
- Violent - Gentle
- Complex -- Simple
- Pessimistic -- Optimistic
- Semantic differential (Wikipedia)
- Sangwoo Bahn, Cheol Lee, Joo Hwan Lee, and Myung Hwan Yun. 2007. A statistical model of relationship between affective responses and product design attributes for capturing user needs. In Proceedings of the 2nd international conference on Usability and internationalization (UI-HCII'07), Nuray Aykin (Ed.). Springer-Verlag, Berlin, Heidelberg, 305-313.
- Heise, David R. (2010). Surveying Cultures: Discovering Shared Conceptions and Sentiments. Hoboken NJ: Wiley. ISBN 9780470479070
- Heise, David R. )2001). Project Magellan: Collecting cross-cultural affective meanings via the internet., Electronic Journal of Sociology.
- Himmelfarb, S. (1993). The measurement of attitudes. In A.H. Eagly & S. Chaiken (Eds.), Psychology of Attitudes, 23-88. Thomson/Wadsworth.
- Jordan, P.W. (2002). ”The Personalities of Products.”, in: William S. Green and Patrick W. Jordan (eds.), Pleasure With Products: Beyond Usability. Taylor & Francis, London, England.
- Lessing, Simon (2002) User Experience Design at Sony Ericsson, Introducing the Virtual Pet, B.A. Thesis, Lund University. PDF
- Osgood, Charles .E.; G. Suci and P. Tannenbaum (1957). The Measurement of Meaning, Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press.
- Shaikh, A. Dawn (2009), Know Your Typefaces! Semantic Differential Presentation of 40 Onscreen Typefaces, Usability News, October 2009, Vol. 11 Issue 2, HTML/PDF
- Singh, Surendra N; Nikunj Dalal & Nancy Spears (2005). Understanding Web home page perception, European Journal of Information Systems 14, 288–302 (1 September 2005) http://dx.doi.org/doi:10.1057/palgrave.ejis.3000525
- Verhagen, Tibert & Meents, Selmar, 2007. "A Framework for Developing Semantic Differentials in IS research: Assessing the Meaning of Electronic Marketplace Quality (EMQ)," Serie Research Memoranda 0016, VU University Amsterdam, Faculty of Economics, Business Administration and Econometrics. PDF Reprint. (Good paper and good intro for people with a social science background)
- Zhikun Ding & Fungfai Ng, (2008). "A new way of developing semantic differential scales with personal construct theory," Construction Management & Economics, Taylor and Francis Journals, vol. 26(11), pages 1213-1226.