Freedom of Choice, Ease of Use, and the Formation of Interface Preferences
MIS Quarterly, Vol. 35, No. 4, p. 955, December 2011
69 Pages Posted: 27 Oct 2010 Last revised: 25 Jul 2013
Date Written: October 25, 2010
How does users’ freedom of choice, or the lack thereof, affect interface preferences? The research reported in this article approaches this question from two theoretical perspectives. The first of these argues that an interface with a dominant market share benefits from the absence of competition because users acquire skills that are specific to that particular interface, which in turn reduces the probability that they will switch to a new competitor interface in the future. By contrast, the second perspective proposes that the advantage that a market leader has in being able to install a set of non-transferable skills in its user base is offset by a psychological force that causes humans to react against perceived constraints on their freedom of choice. We test a research model that incorporates the key predictions of these two theoretical perspectives in an experiment involving consequential interface choices. We find strong support for the second perspective, which builds upon the theory of psychological reactance.
Keywords: Interface Preferences, Ease of Use, Usability, User Skills, Consumer Choice, Psychological Reactance, Human Capital, User Based Learning, Psychological Theory
JEL Classification: M21, M31, D11, D12, D83, C91, D42
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation