The Fun Semantic Differential Scale

The Fun Semantic Differential Scale (FSDS) is a tool for eliciting information from very young children during evaluations. It has been extensively tested in evaluations with children in the age range of 3-5 years for computer and non-computer products. For more details of these tests see Yusoff et al. (2010) and Yusoff et al. (2011).

 Each FSDS sheet contains three photographs: one photograph visualising a positive emotion, one a neutral emotion and one a negative emotion. See Figure 1 for a FSDS sheet showing the emotion happy vs sad.

Figure 1: FSDS sheet showing a boy (Wafiy)
FSDS sheet showing a boy (Wafiy)

The FSDS sheets show the emotions happy/sad, good/bad, love/hate and exited/bored. These emotions are the ones that have been shown to be understandable by very young children.  To aid understanding by the child evaluator it is recommended that the FSDS sheets are used by an adult facilitator who should point to each photograph in turn, naming the emotion and, if necessary clarifying the emotion by use of facial or hand gestures.

 In using the FSDS children may respond in different ways. We found asking the child to indicate/point which photograph represented how they felt after interacting with a system, in effect asking them to indicate which picture of Wafiy or Alisya was most similar to their own feeling, was a useful approach. However children may respond by imitating the photograph, nodding their head as a particular emotion is verbalised (especially if the children are shy) or by giving full sentences about their emotion.

 There are two versions of FSDS: Wafiy FSDS showing a boy(see Figure 1) and Alisya FSDS showing a girl (see Figure 2). Both complete versions can be downloaded at the end of this page.

Figure 2: FSDS sheet showing a girl (Alisya)
FSDS sheet showing a girl (Alisya)

Most children first choose the version of FSDS that corresponds to their own gender but are happy to use either. In tests where we asked children to use the FSDS on multiple evaluations children often changed their choice of FSDS so we do not believe that there is a strong gender preference for either version of FSDS but children do like a variety of stimuli.