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Week 10

November 27, 2009

During this weeks blog I will discuss what personalisation is and how effective it is for someone to use this. I will have to discuss both for and against it and decide whether or not I believe it is a positive or negative thing. I will first discuss what personalisation is and how it can impact upon certain things. I will discuss both the advantages and disadvantages on web personalisation. After discussing both what it is and the advantages I will then discuss exactly what I think of web personalisation whether I am for or against it.

Web personalisation involves using technology to accommodate the differences between individuals. Personalisation implies that the chances are based on implicit data, such as items purchased or page viewed. Web personalisation is really tailoring the presentation of a websites content to match a specific user’s instructions or preferences, this tailoring comes from a user either choosing from a menu or by tracking their own behaviour.

The image below was taken from Google images it shows how the web is developing and how personalisation is improving and developing the web.

Different types of personalisation include;

  • Check Box provides information via questionnaires and surveys
  • Segmentation and Rules-uses demographics, geographic, psychographics profile or other information to divide or segment large populations into smaller groups.
  • Preference based personalisation-seeks to understand the behavioural preferences of a specific individual user and deliver website content.

There are also different types of techniques when considering web personalisation. These include;

  • Content-based filtering- this is having good properties similar to those of the products that the customer selected in the past. By applying this technique new items can be successfully recommended if a certain amount of information about the features is available. However the accuracy in the recommendations downgrades if there are too many item features to be considered.
  • Collaborative filtering- is the social recommendation technique; the suggestion of goods is based on the identification of customers similar to the current one and the suggestion of the items which were appreciated by such customers. Similar customers are identified by analysing the ranks produced by the whole customer. This does not require detailed knowledge about the items but is subject to bootstrapping problems.  The recommendation is not able to handle items until they have been ranked by a minimum number of customers; moreover the recommendation capabilities are poor if the matrix storing the product ranks is sparse.

 There are both advantages and disadvantages of web personalisation I will discuss both of these and then will discuss whether I agree or disagree with web personalisation.


i. Save time- this eliminates repetitive tasks; it also recognises habits and shortens the path to engage in such habits.

ii. Save money- this helps identify lower cost solutions that meet all other specifications.

iii. Better information- it filters out information not relevant to a certain person and provides more specific information that is increasingly relevant to a person’s interests.

iv. Address ongoing needs, challenges or opportunities-provide one stop services allow flexibility in work hours, job responsibilities and benefits, accommodate unique personal preferences.


i. Anonymity preferred- people do not want a relationship with companies that have no relevance to them. Computer programmers have no interest in getting to know an executive recruiter, if a company asks for information before giving relevance why then between 30 and 50 per cent of people will either lie to prevent giving personal information.

ii. Lack of credibility- if a company is one which you can not trust then the company will not be successful relationship as you as the user may not want to deal with the customer.

iii. Lack of Security- if a company fails to protect its assets then people will not be willing to share anything of value with the firm. People have real reasons to fear that today’s centralized networks are not secure.

iv. Impossible- people sometimes can not take advantage of lucrative offers.

v. Infrequent contact- people will have little interest in establishing a relationship with a company that installs a new sceptic system. Companies get around this by broadening their services to increase frequency of contact.

vi. Little value placed on potential benefits- people may not recognise the value in offered personalisation such as when firms offer to customise product offers. As companies move towards the personal and the number of interactions increases, it’s important to gain greater objectivity about the attractiveness of a firm’s offers.

When you go to a site like and watch a few video clips and then leave, if you come back on the same computer they will have stored your settings and registered what you have looked at before and at the top of the page say what they recommend for you to watch. This is a case for web personalisation as it shows you as the user that they have set up in such a way that it keeps a user interested.

Another company that uses web personalisation is Amazon, if you buy products on Amazon then once you log back in they will offer you the same type of products so for example if you buy DVD’s or Book’s next time you go onto the website they will offer you knew DVD’s that are the same type of film as you bought, also with the books they will offer you similar types of books that will enable you to buy the same type of thing. An example of this is shown below. Having signed in it allowed me to see what other types of products I would like to buy by having recommended products that they would offer me.

In my own personal opinion I believe that although some websites use web personalisation wrong and they make mistakes when using it, most of the time when a company online uses it correctly it will be a great success as shown by my examples Amazon and YouTube. I believe that web personalisation is a god idea as it allows users to feel that they are having a sort of relationship with a company and that the company can make recommendations to that specific person. Although I can understand why some customers do not want to have recommendations as they might be buying something as a one-off and not actually like the product that they are being offered. Overall though the whole idea off web personalisation is useful as it can save the customer both time and money and also offers that customer better information.