Reciprocity in effort to personalize: Examining perceived effort as a signal for quality
The development of advanced recommendation agents (RA's) has rendered more product information available for consumers at a minimal cost. However these decision aids require more effort exerted by users in order to offer recommendations based on their preferences. The construct of effort has showed contradictory effects on outcome quality and evaluation of the decision making process, as effort can be considered as a direct cost (cognitive or time) but also as a benefit (expected accuracy of decision). We conducted an experimental study to test the effect of three different types of perceived effort on the quality perception of a RA. We found a positive effect of perceived RA effort on RA quality perception. This suggests that users want to and should be aware of the RA effort in creating accurate recommendations. The effect of perceived user effort on RA quality is negative, but only when the own effort is perceived as higher than the perceived RA effort. However, this does not hold when user effort regards the navigational aspect of use of the RA which decreases the quality of the RA. We also show that RA quality is a core driver of RA acceptance.