Personalization can play a variety of roles across different fields of knowledge and industries. It can add value to user experiences through delivering more meaningful services, but it can also contribute to social divide and promote unsustainable consumption practices. Personalization can be desirable but expensive to implement, or it can contribute to a state of being continuously nudged, in order to push the users to express specific purchasing behaviors. To understand the role of personalization processes and practices across disciplines, I interviewed ten renowned academic and industry experts to identify specific manifestations of this phenomenon, its positives and negatives, as well as its future developments. My analysis suggests that although personalization is sold to the user as desirable, the growing awareness of the negative effects of global warming facilitates the move from person-centered design and consumption to a more sustainable way of life defined by the concept of ‘society as a user’.
Senior Research Fellow; Director of Design Research Centre, School of Art and Design, Nottingham Trent University, United Kingdom
Personalization, Consumption, Sustainability, Design, Society