Personalization of User Interfaces

We explore solutions to increase the agency of individual users over the interfaces they use.

We envision a digital world were peole have the power to adjust user interfaces (UI) to their personal interests and needs. In recent history, we have witnessed the democratization of other technologies and services. The Internet democratized access to information. Social media democratized access to audiences and communities of interest. Smartphones democratized access to computing and communication resources. Conversely, one crucial aspect remains out of bounds to individual agency: the UI. Our research draws attention to the importance of increasing the agency of individual users over the interfaces they use.

Personalization by Default

When users open a web page or application, the way in which the UI can be adjusted to their abilities and likings is very limited. Third-party solutions are available, but we still know very little about how they fit into users’ preferences. We study people’s perception and adoption intentions regarding different personalization solutions. We found that people are interest in personalization and that more mechanisms should be provided by default.

Democratize Access to Personalization

While third-party personalization solutions were found to be beneficial, they often require significant effort and technical skills, beyond the reach of most users, impeding the future adoption of interface personalization. In our research we explore opportunities to provide equal access to personalization solutions. We also study the role that human factors play in people’s adoption intentions.