User Burden Scale

Computing systems that place a high level of burden on their users can have a negative affect on initial adoption, retention, and overall user experience. Through an iterative process, we have developed a model for user burden that consists of six constructs: 1) difficulty of use, 2) physical, 3) time and social, 4) mental and emotional, 5) privacy, and 6) financial. If researchers and practitioners can have an understanding of the overall level of burden systems may be having on the user, they can have a better sense of whether and where to target future design efforts that can reduce those burdens. To help assist with understanding and measuring user burden, we have also developed and validated a measure of user burden in computing systems called the User Burden Scale (UBS), which is a 20-item scale with 6 individual sub-scales representing each construct. This paper presents the process we followed to develop and validate this scale for use in evaluating user burden in computing systems. Results indicate that the User Burden Scale has good overall inter-item reliability, convergent validity with similar scales, and concurrent validity when compared to systems abandoned vs. those still in use.

user burden scale


Hyewon Suh
Nina Shahriaree
Eric Hekler
Julie Kientz


  • Suh, H., Shahriaree, N., Hekler, E. B., & Kientz, J. A. (2016, May). Developing and Validating the User Burden Scale: A Tool for Assessing User Burden in Computing Systems. In Proceedings of the 2016 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (pp. 3988-3999). ACM.