User Modeling and User-Adapted Interaction

, Volume 28, Issue 4–5, pp 391–423 | Cite as

Identifying factors that influence the acceptability of smart devices: implications for recommendations

  • Kai Zhan
  • Ingrid ZukermanEmail author
  • Andisheh Partovi


This paper presents results from a web-based study that investigates users’ attitudes toward smart devices, focusing on acceptability. Specifically, we conducted a survey that elicits users’ ratings of devices in isolation and devices in the context of tasks potentially performed by these devices. Our study led to insights about users’ attitudes towards devices in isolation and in the context of tasks, and about the influence of demographic factors and factors pertaining to technical expertise and experience with devices on users’ attitudes. The insights about users’ attitudes provided the basis for two recommendation approaches based on principal components analysis (PCA) that alleviate the new-user and new-item problems: (1) employing latent features identified by PCA to predict ratings given by existing users to new devices, and by new users to existing devices; and (2) identifying a relatively small set of key questions on the basis of PCs, whose answers account to a large extent for new users’ ratings of devices in isolation and in the context of tasks. Our results show that taking into account latent features of devices, and asking a relatively small number of key questions about devices in the context of tasks, lead to rating predictions that are significantly more accurate than global and demographic predictions, and substantially reduce prediction error, eventually matching the performance of strong baselines.


Users’ attitudes towards devices and tasks Device acceptability Latent device features Generating user-profiling questions Recommender systems 



This material is based upon work supported by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, Asian Office of Aerospace Research and Development (AOARD), under award number FA2386-14-1-0010. The authors thank Gwyneth Rees and Masud Moshtaghi for their help in the initial stages of this research, and the three anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments.


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Information TechnologyMonash UniversityClaytonAustralia

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