Friday, October 24, 2014

User resistance

There was a nice confluence of reality and theory the other day. During the week, I had read a few papers on 'user resistance' which I want to include in my literature survey. UR is inversely related to 'perceived usefulness' (or 'perceived utility'), which, as the literature puts it, is "a surrogate for system success". In other words, if a user perceives a function to be useful, then the user will use this function and system success will be enhanced; if the user perceives that the function is not useful (or by adding overhead, even detrimental), then the user's resistance will grow and system success will not be enhanced.

In the real world, someone wanted that some metadata regarding customers (the customer's business sector) become compulsory; when a new customer card is opened, the operation can not be completed without defining a business sector. As this field has not been compulsory until now (and in fact, there had been very few values defined), no one had ever bothered filling it in. Entering a value into this field - especially when the customer is being defined and the information not necessarily at hand - is going to be perceived as irrelevant overhead. Overhead = no perceived usefulness = increased user resistance.

The person who wants this field to be compulsory is going to have to write a letter to all the users who define customers, explaining what the informational value of this field will be (how it will be used in the future) and why it is important that 'real' values be entered (because one defense mechanism which people have developed in order to handle compulsory fields is to enter any value - but necessarily the correct one). Hopefully, we will be able to raise the level of perceived usefulness and thus improve system success.

With regard to the literature survey: the completed document is 93 pages long and contains about 41K words. It turns out that the entire thesis is limited to 80K words, so some serious editing will need to be done on the survey. I know that I included far too many direct quotes from papers, so it should not be too difficult to elide the extraneous material. My supervisor is on the job.

Note new values for Stack Exchange and Musical Practice and Performance below!
[SE: 3628; 2, 15, 35
MPP: 574; 0, 1, 6]

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