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Title: A conjoint approach to the visual information design of user interfaces
Author: Ogunkunle, Oluwatosin
ISNI:       0000 0004 2708 1349
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 2011
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The decision about how to present information on an interface has often been taken for granted. Unfortunately, the way information is presented can greatly influence how easy or difficult it is to attend to appropriate pieces of information. As the information gets more complicated and device interfaces become smaller and more versatile, the use of logic and common sense in visual ordering of information and arrangement begin to falter. One way to overcome this challenge is by prioritised thinking, which undoubtedly has implications for design. A major role of MIS is to both select and filter appropriate information elements for the decision maker. To this end, a user-centred multi-attribute decompositional approach was adopted in this research through the use of conjoint analysis. The design science paradigm provided an appropriate grounding for the research, which sought to the build an IT artefact, in the form of a visual information design for a user interface using a computational (conjoint) approach. To this end, established guidelines from the design science paradigm were used in structuring and assessing the suitability of conjoint analysis as a tool for design science research. Two laboratory experiments were carried out. In the first experiment, the homepage of hotel loyalty programs served as the user interface. Four main information features of the homepage of hotel loyalty websites were identified in a preliminary qualitative assessment phase i.e. Account, Membership, Context and Challenge features. Visual order of presentation followed a top to bottom format, based on the criticality of display i.e. Critical, Important and Desirable. The conjoint analysis generated 11 profiles which were tested, out of a possible 81 combinations. The second experiment adopted the use of balanced scorecards as user interface. In the online study, the four perspectives of the BSC; Financial, Customer, Internal Process, Learning & Growth served as information features. Using the same 3-tier visual order of presentation format as in the first study, the conjoint analysis produced 20 profiles out of a possible 162 combinations. A third variable, presentation format (consisting of Tables and Graphs) was also introduced, effectively testing the joint effect of visual order of presentation and presentation format on user experience in the context of a relatively simple spatial task that required users to express their preference for the way information is presented on a user interface. The research makes a number of contributions in terms of the methodology and findings. Firstly, conjoint analysis lends itself very well to studies where smaller samples may be involved due to the high number of experimental designs generated and as such is a design tool that fits in nicely with Design Science approaches to research. In effect, it provides a method of searching for a useful design from a large set of available designs, which is of practical value. Secondly, an IT artefact in the form of a computational design which optimises user preference for both interfaces tested was prescribed. Lastly, the research showed that individual differences play a vital role in Design Science. Users should be supported both in terms of the appropriate visual representation and visual order that supports the task, based on their level of prior experience with the system.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available