Deakin University

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User Experience and The Role of Personalization in Critiquing-Based Conversational Recommendation

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-24, 03:36 authored by Arpit Rana, Scott Sanner, Mohamed Reda BouadjenekMohamed Reda Bouadjenek, Ron Dicarlantonio, Gary Farmaner
Critiquing — where users propose directional preferences to attribute values — has historically been a highly popular method for conversational recommendation. However, with the growing size of catalogs and item attributes, it becomes increasingly difficult and time-consuming to express all of one’s constraints and preferences in the form of critiquing. It is found to be even more confusing in case of critiquing failures: when the system returns no matching items in response to user critiques. To this end, it would seem important to combine a critiquing-based conversational system with a personalized recommendation component to capture implicit user preferences and thus reduce the user’s burden of providing explicit critiques. To examine the impact of such personalization on critiquing, this paper reports on a user study with 228 participants to understand user critiquing behavior for two different recommendation algorithms: (i) non-personalized , that recommends any item consistent with the user critiques; and (ii) personalized , which leverages a user’s past preferences on top of user critiques. In the study, we ask users to find a restaurant that they think is the most suitable to a given scenario by critiquing the recommended restaurants at each round of the conversation on the dimensions of price, cuisine, category, and distance. We observe that the non-personalized recommender leads to more critiquing interactions, more severe critiquing failures, overall more time for users to express their preferences, and longer dialogs to find their item of interest. We also observe that non-personalized users were less satisfied with the system’s performance. They find its recommendations less relevant, more unexpected, and somewhat equally diverse and surprising than those of personalized ones. The results of our user study highlight an imperative for further research on the integration of the two complementary components of personalization and critiquing to achieve the best overall user experience in future critiquing-based conversational recommender systems.



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