The Importance of Interface Agent Characteristics from the End-User Perspective

The Importance of Interface Agent Characteristics from the End-User Perspective

Alexander Serenko (Lakehead University, Canada)
Copyright: © 2008 |Pages: 15
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-958-8.ch007
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Abstract

This chapter reports on an empirical investigation of user perceptions of the importance of several characteristics of interface agents. Interface agents are software entities that are incorporated in various computer applications including electronic mail systems. As evidenced by the growing body of empirical studies and the increasing number of interface agent-based applications on the software market, there is a strong need for the development of this technology. According to a meta-review of agent-related literature by Dehn and van Mulken (2000), there are several characteristics of interface agents that require special attention from agent developers. However, prior to this study, the importance of these characteristics from the end-user perspective remained unclear. In order to identify the significance of these characteristics, a group of the actual users of an email interface agent was surveyed. The results indicate that information accuracy and the degree of the usefulness of an agent are the most salient factors, followed by user comfortability with an agent, the extent of user enjoyment, and visual attractiveness of an agent. The implications of the findings for both theory and practice are discussed.

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