Choice: Abdicating or exercising

Publication Type:
Conference Proceeding
Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Proceedings, 2008, pp. 715 - 724
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Many people today have access to enormous libraries of digital content. Increasingly these libraries contain personal content, consumed in support of people's non-instrumental needs. If current trends persist, these repositories will only increase. Having to choose from so much could be unpleasant especially in the absence of strong preferences. This raises some concerns for user experience (UX) design. Approaches for such interactions should not only be optimized for UX but must also support users' noninstrumental needs. People face this predicament during digital music listening and yet report positive experiences when listening in shuffle. Through an empirical study of digital music listening and close examination of people's listening practices and experiences, we argue that a shufflebased approach-whereby people can abdicate choice to a random process while being able to modulate the randomness-not only mitigates the unpleasantness of choosing but also supports their non-instrumental needs while fostering desirable experiential outcomes. Copyright 2008 ACM.
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