What does Affinity for Technology Interaction mean?
The 9-item affinity for technology interaction (ATI) scale is designed to assess a person’s tendency to actively engage in intensive technology interaction — or to avoid it. ATI can be seen as a core personal resource for users’ successful coping with technology.
ATI is a key facet of user personality and therefore essential when assessing user characteristics in research on technology interaction. Use cases include the identification of sample biases in usability tests or adapting interfaces or technology-related trainings to ATI values in the user group.
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Users differ regarding their Affinity for Technology Interaction
People differ in how much they like to interact with technology. On the one extreme, some people really like to explore technical systems and even love to deal with problems. On the other extreme, some people just dislike it. This is not surprising, but affinity for technology interaction (ATI) has important consequences for general research models of user-technology interaction, user experience, technology acceptance, and practical development of technical systems.
Differences in ATI have Consequences for Research and Development
For example, if you want to understand why users differ in their successful adaptation to a new system, assessing ATI can provide insights and help in model and system optimization. Likewise, user evaluation can be skewed by participants who like to interact with technology and can thus easily overcome usability problems which would pose stumbling blocks for other users.
Thus, assessing ATI is as relevant as assessing age and gender if you want to characterize your user sample in technology interaction research.
But how can you assess affinity for technology interaction?
The 9-item ATI scale is a unidimensional, short and reliable scale for assessing affinity for technology interaction. It is grounded in the established psychological construct need for cognition and is supported by multiple studies with over 1500 participants. For more information on the scale and its construction, see Franke, Attig, & Wessel (2018; empirical validation) or Attig, Wessel, & Franke (2017; development, references below). A presentation of the scale at HFES Europe 2017 can also be watched below.
Use the Scale
You can download the scale as .docx, .pdf, or LimeSurvey files. When analyzing participants' responses, code the answers to the items with 1 to 6, but reverse code the responses to items 3, 6 and 8 (see analysis information in the Word/PDF document of the scale). The user’s ATI score is the mean of the 9 ATI item values (6 original values and 3 reverse coded items).
For analysis/interpretation, we strongly recommend using, e.g., correlations/regression analyses or including ATI as a covariate, and avoid creating groups (e.g., doing a split at 3.5 or a median split, followed e.g., by t-Tests). First, ATI was developed to cover the whole range of affinity for technology in a population, without floor or ceiling effects. It's a continuous variable that does not lend itself to artificial grouping. There are no sudden changes which would indicate specific subgroups of affinity for technology interaction. Second, you'd lose a lot of information if you split the sample, e.g., a person whose ATI score is slightly above/below the «magical» line would be treated the same as someone in the extremes. Third, «average» ATI varies between populations. Groups which are self-selected for their interest in technology (e.g., computer scientists) will have higher ATI values, so a person might be below average in the sample but above average in the population.
Get in Contact
We are very interested in continuing to evaluate and improve the scale. If you plan to use the scale, we would be very happy to learn more about your research topics. You can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please also contact us if you have any questions.
- Attig, C., Wessel, D., & Franke, T. (2017). Assessing personality differences in human–technology interaction: An overview of key self-report scales to predict successful interaction. In C. Stephanidis (Ed.), HCI International 2017 – posters’ extended abstracts, part I, CCIS 713 (pp. 19–29). Cham, Switzerland: Springer International Publishing AG. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-58750-9_3 [get free preprint]
- Franke, T., Attig, C., & Wessel, D. (2018). A Personal Resource for Technology Interaction: Development and Validation of the Affinity for Technology Interaction (ATI) Scale. International Journal of Human–Computer Interaction. doi:10.1080/10447318.2018.1456150 [get free preprint]