I am writing a paper proposing an improvement in the design of a specific user interface. However, this improvement is only based on axiomatic and theoretical assumptions and I haven't made an empirical evaluation yet. The problem, however, is that I write the paper alone and not for any university or company. And I cannot implement any empirical evaluation due to lack of funding.

My question is now: does it make make sense to write such a paper without evaluation? Is something like this even published by journals? In my paper it would of course become clear that all is only a theoretical and that it would have to be examined empirically in future work.

1 Answer 1


I'm afraid that a "user interface" without users is an oxymoron. Users don't conform to axioms and certainly not to theoretical assumptions.

While you may have made an important contribution, without testing on someone other than yourself you have no basis for validity.

Even quite popular websites, which use sophisticated design elements, require tweaking as the designers learn about users. I'm afraid you will need to find some way to do at least a modest test. They may even call your "axioms" and "assumptions" into question. Who can know, until you look?

But let me add a more positive suggestion. It might be possible to get a test done at no cost to you. Some universities (I'll single out University of Maryland, but they aren't alone) have CS programs strongly focused on UI. It isn't impossible that you propose to some faculty member that he/she take your design on as a student project in which they would do the implementation and analysis and give you feedback on it. You would also get theoretical feedback, of course. I can't guarantee that anyone would be interested in this, but it might be possible if you make the attempt. I suspect it would be possible as an undergraduate project, but have no way to actually predict.

  • you're right, of course. Without evaluation ux makes no sense. I think I already knew that and was just looking for an excuse here. Thanks for the tips. In case someone has a similar problem: Now I have also found a possibility for free evaluation. On the page www.surveycircle.com this is possible. You increases the chances for more users by participating in other studies/evaluations...
    – man zet
    Aug 6, 2018 at 12:24

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