Maybe you’ve joined a group recently could be a Taekwondo group, a wine tasting club, a fantasy football league, or whatever. Do you know that how people felt “connected” to a group before they joined can predict their future behavior in the group? Social psychologists have identified two conceptually distinct ways a member can connect with a group — identity-based attachment (e.g., “I feel connected to the Taekwondo group because I started to learn Taekwondo when I was a kid!”) and bonds-based attachment (e.g., “I feel connected to the wine tasting club because my best friend Daniel is a club member!”) — and worked to understand their causes and consequences. What we have done is study how connections between a person and an online group can predict that person’s future behavior.
Are you trying to launch an online site for customers? Did you know that on an average, 60% of users do not return to a site after their first visit?
In this research, we discover factors that predict whether first-time users return to MovieLens, our movie recommendation site. A model based on these factors successfully predicts 70% of returning users (and non-returning ones). Notably, the best single predictor of user return is the diversity of features explored in the user’s first session! Along the way, we develop a process and a metric for activity diversity — one that can be applied to any site or context. Interested in further details? Read on!
While your TV’s remote might already have a microphone in it for voice commands, it is no replacement for a video store clerk. The current generation of devices respond to a limited set of commands, offer mostly shallow integration with deeper personalization, and may not understand complicated recommendation-seeking questions. Our research aims to develop techniques that can bring together voice recognition technologies, personalization, and advanced search features to provide more natural ways for people to discover new digital content. (more…)
“You drive home and park. Your car is full of groceries and other shopping, which take many trips to bring into the house. Five minutes after you drove in, you are still making trips to the car. Is the door locked or unlocked?” What if I told you that 87% of people got this question wrong? Sensors and “smart” devices for your home may hold the promise of making life more convenient, but they may also make it harder to understand and predict things like the state of you “smart” door lock in common situations like the one above. Want to give it a try?
Aaron Halfaker peels back the gleaming foil of an overloaded burrito. Surrounded by doctoral candidates at the GroupLens lunch table, he chomps into his eagerly anticipated rice and beans, taking breaks to shoot the breeze or riff on research ideas. After earning his Ph.D. in 2013, Halfaker scored a full-time research job at the Wikimedia Foundation (WMF). Yet every Thursday, he returns to hang out with us on the University of Minnesota campus. This is certainly an unusual arrangement…what keeps him coming back? (more…)