A Method for Measuring User Preferences in Information Systems Design Choices

Matzner Martin, von Hoffen Moritz, Heide Tobias, Plenter Florian, Chasin Friedrich

Information System Design (ISD) applies information technology to achieve desired ends in organizations and implies many technology choices to be made. A successful design of information systems addresses the different views of all its stakeholders in these decisions. If we consider that sub-part of an IS that is intended to assist in customer processes, a purposeful assessment of the preferences of this anonymous mass is needed. Methods of Human-Centered ISD are not sufficient in that case for that they require too close integration of the subjects; and state of the art preference measurement techniques are likely to be too time-consuming and cognitively challenging if the number of alternatives is large. Building on the Q-Methodology, originally developed to reveal subjectivity in psychology, we suggest a novel method for user preference measurement. We report on a case in which we failed by applying standard techniques for user measurement, but succeeded with Q-Sort. By means of an experiment we subsequently compare the mentioned methods and identify root causes for failure and success we experienced in the case, which for Q-Sort include short execution time, measuring many design choices at one time, satisfaction of the interviewees, and an effective IT support.

Design Choices; Information Systems Design; Psychometric; Preference Determination

Publication type
Conference Paper

Peer reviewed

Publication status


European Conference on Information Systems (ECIS 2015)

Münster, Germany



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