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June 09, 2007

Individual Consumer Differences and Design Implications for Web-Based Decision Support

Barry G. Silverman, Gnana Bharathy, John Pourdehnad, Dave Lowe, Davin Riley, Melanie C. Green (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill ) and Joyce Ann-Lindbloom Salisbury (General Motors)
Ackoff Center for the Advancement of Systems Approaches (ACASA)
, University of Pennsylvania,
Towne 251
, Towne Bldg, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6315
[email protected] V:(215) 573-8368 F: (215) 898-5020


This paper summarizes a study as to whether individual differences are significant factors that should affect the design of consumer decision support over the web. Our study postulates two orthogonal dimensions – Need for Cognition and Purchase Preference (lifestyle vs. utilitarian). The Need for Cognition is a well-researched dimension with its own instrument for measuring it, while we had to develop and validate an instrument for measuring the Purchase Preference. Applying these instruments to two study groups totaling 175 users forced us to reject the null hypothesis that individual differences are unimportant (90% confidence), and accept that 3 groupings are distinct. The study concludes with design implications that might best support the decision support needs of each of the categories of consumers in terms of features such as linear vs. non-linear processes, more vs. less analytical information, and when to deploy stylized photos, videos, and product placements.

Keywords: consumer websites, decision support, individual differences

To read the rest of this article, please download the the pdf file: Individual Consumer Differences and Design Implications for Web-Based Decision Support

Posted by ACASA on June 9, 2007 at 10:57 AM in White Paper | Permalink


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