Online Choice Architecture: The Good, The Bad, and The Complicated
10 Pages Posted: 18 Oct 2022
Date Written: October 5, 2022
Online choice architecture (OCA) encompasses the set of design features that impact choice in digital environments. From default settings and notifications to personalization and recommender systems, OCA features are present in almost every interaction with technology. Existing evidence on the effects of OCA on human behavior have often been one-sided, focusing either on positive or negative outcomes. In online settings, the effect of OCA practices on consumer welfare is often complicated. In this paper, we describe the design process and practices of OCA, analyze applications of OCA for good and for bad, and discuss future direction for research and practice of OCA design. We recommend that designers and researchers measure and capture a wider range of outcomes, beyond user engagement and satisfaction. We also highlight the interplay between data, algorithms and OCA design since many OCA practices are embedded in the design of interfaces and are often data-driven. Therefore, advancing good and preventing bad OCA design might require an approach that goes beyond the individual user or designer, and looks at structural changes across the market.
Keywords: nudge, digital nudging, human-computer interaction (HCI), dark patterns, behavior design, markets
JEL Classification: C93, D23, D91, I12, L86, O33
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