CAN OVERT PERSONALIZATION AND TRANSPARENCY ENHANCE USER EXPERIENCE OF PERSONALIZED MOBILE SERVICES?

Open Access
Author:
Chen, Tsai-Wei
Graduate Program:
Media Studies
Degree:
Master of Arts
Document Type:
Master Thesis
Date of Defense:
March 13, 2017
Committee Members:
  • S. Shyam Sundar, Thesis Advisor
Keywords:
  • Personalized mobile application
  • user experience
  • information transparency
  • overt personalization
  • power usage
Abstract:
Mobile service providers strive to deliver personalized service while limiting intrusiveness. Providers have thus adopted a strategy known as “overt personalization” instead of automatic service delivery. Overt personalization mechanism offers personalized service only after users grant assent or issue a request. Another common strategy used in personalized mobile service is increasing transparency. Many interfaces now provide information regarding the collection, utilization, and storage of user data. Despite their wide use, the effectiveness of these two strategies is yet to be explored. Furthermore, individual differences relating to technological expertise have not bee considered in this context. With this in mind, the current thesis empirically examined the role of personalization mechanism, information transparency and power usage in personalized mobile services, by way of a 2 (Personalization: Overt vs. Covert) x 2 (Information transparency: High vs. Low) factorial experiment with a control condition. The experiment employed GreenByMe, a mobile application prototype that recommends nearby environment-friendly stores. Data from the pilot study indicated that overt personalization has a significant effect on perceived control. Data from the main study indicated a significant three-way interaction between power usage, perceived overt personalization, and perceived information transparency on perceived ease of use. In addition, results revealed that information transparency promotes trust, which is negatively linked with privacy concerns and positively correlated with user engagement and product involvement. Perception of personalization plays a significant role in increasing perceived control, which is positively associated with user engagement. This thesis discussed the results in light of theories and design implications of personalized mobile services, followed by limitations of the current study and directions for future studies.