Personalized User Experience

Principles and strategies for the design of adaptive user interfaces

“Software is complex and unpredictable. We don’t know exactly what it looks like when we are done – in fact it’s never done. We know even less, about what our customers are actually going to do with it.” Jeff Gothelf, Author of Lean UX

The book will answer five sub questions to find an answer to the questions:

How might we find proper rules to describe, decide for and manage adaptation in user interfaces?

One size fits all?

As designers and developers of user interfaces, we are in charge to reduce complexity, to make information understandable and the interaction with these systems more accessible. For the past, design techniques such as universal design (Mace et al. 1990), design for all (Stephanidis 1997), and inclusive design (Keates et al. 2000), relied a lot on an average of users while making major design decisions. We tried to make one UI design fit as many people as possible, but after all, humans are different and developing tailored interfaces according to the need of an individual user was impossible before.

Now the abilities of today’s network information technology brings us closer to the day we will be able to create rich, immersive personalized experiences by tracking interactions and aggregate and analyze them in real time. Computer scientist and researchers call those systems “adaptive“. This term refers to the process in which a system adapts to an individual user, based on the context of use.

“The main goal of adaptive systems is to increase the suitability of the system for specific tasks; facilitate handling the system for specific users, and so enhance user productivity; optimize workloads, and increase user satisfaction.“ Oppermann 1994

This development comes along with an explosion of new opportunities but also challenges for designers and developers. Therefore, this book provides answers and frameworks to these five questions:

  • Who should adapt? A shared language for the levels of adaptivity
  • Which kinds of data can be used for adaptation? A categorisation of data collection methods
  • What can be adapted? A layer model of different software parts that can adapt
  • Which goals should adaptivity achieve? A framework for providing clear & reachable goals for adaptive software
  • What are proper rules to manage adaptation? 6 principles and several strategies to reach the goals of adaptive software