Personalization Techniques and Their Application

Personalization Techniques and Their Application

Juergen Anke (Dresden University of Technology, Germany) and David Sundaram (University of Auckland, New Zealand)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-87828-991-9.ch013
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Personalization is an approach to increase the usability of complex information systems and present the user with a comprehensible interface that is tailored to his or her needs and interests. In this article, we examine general techniques that are employed to achieve the personalization of Web sites. This is followed by a presentation of real-world examples. It will be shown how different levels of personalization can be achieved by employing the discussed techniques. This leads finally to a summary of the current state in personalization technologies and the issues connected with them. The article closes with some ideas on further research and development, and a conclusion. In general, the concept of personalization refers to the ability of tailoring standardized items to the needs of individual people. It is originally derived from the ideas of Pine (1993) who proposed that companies should move from the paradigms of standardized products and homogeneous markets to customizable products that meet the requirements of many different customers. The principle of mass customization applies to a certain degree to most car manufacturers and some computer manufacturers, for example, Dell. In the digital world of the World Wide Web, the degree of customization can be much higher than in the physical world. Currently, a number of online portals and e-commerce shops make use of personalization to provide a better user experience. Although Web sites may be the most popular examples of personalization, the concept is not limited to the Web. Every information system that deals with large amounts of data and/or has a heterogeneous group of users can benefit from it. Examples include e-learning environments, electronic books, computer-operated voice and telephony services, and tourist guides. Personalization is also very useful for mobile devices like personal digital assistants (PDAs) or mobile phones (cf, Mulvenna, Anand, & Buchner, 2000). Technologies like mobile Internet access, WAP (Wireless Application Protocol), and future multimedia applications based on high-capacity wireless technologies require the designers of services for these devices to deal with limited input capabilities and small display sizes. For that reason, every method that assists the user in navigating and finding information easily adds real value to applications for such devices.

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