Improvement of Novice Software Developers’ Understanding about Usability: The Role of Empathy Toward Users as a Case of Emotional Contagion

  • Fulvio Lizano
  • Jan Stage
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 8510)


There are several obstacles when it comes to integrating Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) activities into software development projects. In particular, a lack of understanding on the part of novice software developers regarding usability is one of the most cited problems related to this integration. Observation of usability evaluation by these developers has been cited in the literature as an alternative to improve their understanding about usability due to the fact that, among other things, this improves the level of empathy with users. In this paper we present the results of a quasi-experiment which explores the origin of this improvement. Our study suggests that the empathy of novice developers towards users could be originated by Emotional Contagion (EC) of these developers. This EC occurs unconsciously in activities where these developers can observe users working with the software. The present research is an initial approximation as to the relation which EC and empathy have in order to improve the novice software developers’ understanding of usability.


Software development usability understanding of usability empathy towards users emotional contagion 


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© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fulvio Lizano
    • 1
  • Jan Stage
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Computer ScienceAalborg UniversityAalborgDenmark

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