/ - Doctora L t h e s I s
The results were analyzed in order to uncover to which extent the participants’
experiences with the prototype were emotionally laden. Also, to which extent the
participants personalize their personal gadgets to reflect the hedonic view. Two
views on motivations for personalization were merged into one framework, and
finally, the participants’ experiences with the prototype were compared and matched
to these motivational views.
Figure 2. Word cloud visualising most frequently chosen words. (Created with
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The participants were asked whether they usually personalize their own phone or
computer. Almost all, 19 participants, reported that they personalize either one of
those. Fourteen participants personalized both functionality and appearance of the
product. Nine participants personalized things related to structure and eight to make
the device more personal, relevant, or to make it feel new. Four altered for better
After having had some experience with the prototype, the interviews revealed
that most participants were positive towards the concept of personalizable vehicle
interfaces. In general, 14 participants expressed a liking of the hedonic look-and-feel
aspects of the interface personalization. Seven of these participants expressed that
hedonic look-and-feel personalization was not only a bonus, but also an important
feature of electronic consumer products in general.
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The chosen word from the product reaction method where analyzed in order to
study to which extent they reflected hedonically oriented experiences. The most
frequent chosen words among the top five circled descriptive adjectives were mostly
positive towards the prototype, except for the word ‘distracting’ (Figure 2). The
same pattern was found, when taking all ticked words in the list into consideration.
Eightytwo (22%) of the total pool of chosen words were considered related to the
users’ emotional feeling or reaction to the interface. When considering the words
marked as being the most important the same ratio was maintained, 22 out of 100
(22%) words were emotionally related. Only one percent among the emotional
words were in a negative manner. The most frequently chosen emotionally laden
descriptive words were: appealing, attractive, creative, desirable, entertaining, fun,
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The research by Oulasvirta and Blom (2008) and Fan and Poole (2006) show
some similarities and the frameworks can be roughly mapped onto each other (Table
Motivations for control and stabilization, which satisfies the need of autonomy
strongly relates to instrumental personalization (efficiency and productivity).
Motivations for interest, mastery, differentiation, and flow, which satisfy the
need of competence strongly relates to architectural personalization (expression
through the built environment)
Motivations for emotional expression, ego-involvement, identity, and territory
marking, which satisfy the need of relatedness strongly relates to relational
personalization (socialization and belonging).
Commercial personalization is disregarded since it is mostly out of the users
Table 1. Two frameworks of motivations for personalization merged together
The participants’ motivations for using personalization in this study were
analyzed and compared to the unified framework (Figure 3). The interviews with the
participants revealed that, given that they had access to such a system, all of them
would personalize the system to accommodate instrumental aspects. These aspects
include selecting the suitable set of functions or improving the usability, as
exemplified in the following quote: “It felt like I became a more efficient driver
when I personalized as I want to have it. That what’s relevant is in the right place.
Both the type of info and the placement”.
Figure 3. Percentage of the participants’ motivations related to different
However, there was also a substantial interest for personalizing to accommodate
more hedonically oriented aspects. Fifteen of the participants seem to be motivated
by architectural related motivations. The visual appearance for example is important
for many participants: “I change primarily the visual appearance. For me it’s
important to personalize the visual, not only on a functional basis”. Some
participants were even very explicit in that they wanted to personalize in a hedonic
way: “I want to change background and such, mostly for the feeling of it, not the
function”. Some also mentioned intrinsically motivated views of competence and
mastery: “You get very eager to personalize it and can’t keep away from it. You
want to keep on optimizing the system”.
There were also nine of the participants that expressed some kind of view related
to relational personalization. Both that it will fit and reflect the individual: “I always
want to change the interface, the aesthetics, to fit me. Make it a little more personal“
and also that there was a factor that may affect other peoples view: “It’s desirable
both to me and to others. It can be something to brag about, that you have the latest
apps or so”.
It is important to note that even if the emphasis is on the emotional side of
human-product relations in this paper, the majority of the experiences with the
prototype interface were still utility related. All 20 participants could see
instrumental benefits and motivations with a personalizable interface, whereas six of
these did not consider the hedonic side at all. Both the utility and hedonic aspects
need to be considered at the same time in order to form a good user experience.
Tractinsky, Abdu, Forlizzi, and Seder (2011) claim that both of these aspects matter,
when humans make a choice, and Blom and Monk (2003) suggest that
personalization features affect users cognitively and emotionally, but also socially.
Many participants emphasized that the biggest advantages with a personalizable
product is that it can be “adapted to particularly suit me”. It can be argued that this
construct can be related to the instrumental view (it conveys the right functionality),
to a more architectural hedonic view (it makes the user feel good), or to a relational
view (it reflects the user’s personality). However, this construct is most probably a
composite of all three of these aspects and all three contribute to making the product
appear to be tailored to just that particular user.
Affective design can be considered as consisting of a continuum of stages, where
affect is considered to be the first initial reaction towards an object, while emotion is
a more conscious longer lasting reaction developed over time (Aboulafia and
Bannon, 2004). The relatively short time the participants in this study interacted with
the prototype interface elicited some affective responses. However, the use of
interviews in the study gives a broader view on how people function and can also
give some insights in how the product is likely to affect the user emotionally in the
future as well.
All the participants in the study emphasized instrumental aspects in
personalization, such as changing functions. Many of the motivations for using
personalizable features were also categorized as related to the hedonic look-and-feel
aspects. The smallest category was regarding relational aspects. This outcome is not
surprising since an interface was the object of study. The vehicle interface has a
central role in the driving of the vehicle, which is a task that is laden with safety
related issues. Thus, the functionality must be of uttermost importance. Nevertheless,
the hedonic aspects were still apparent and many participants highlighted that look-
and-feel aspects are important in the use of technological products.
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