Affinity for Technology Interaction

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.

Do you have any questions regarding the scale? Just drop us a line at . We are very interested to get in contact and look forward to answer your questions!


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 ATI-Scale

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.

in this video Prof. Franke discusses why ATI is relevant. YouTube Link.

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. If you are looking for a localized version, we are also very happy to provide some support for translations (e.g., regarding the procedure, the translation itself would need to be done by your organization). You can reach us at . Please also contact us if you have any questions.

Who we are

Thomas Franke

Prof. Dr. Thomas Franke

Thomas Franke is a professor of Engineering Psychology and Cognitive Ergonomics at University of Lübeck. He received his PhD in 2014 from Chemnitz University of Technology. He is particularly interested in user diversity and a resource perspective on user-technology interaction.

Christiane Attig

Christiane Attig, M.Sc.

Christiane Attig is an engineering and cognitive psychologist at Chemnitz University of Technology, where she received her Master of Science in Psychology in 2016. Besides research focusing on user state detection in human-computer interaction, she is also particularly interested in user diversity and user interaction with activity trackers.

Daniel Wessel

Dr. Daniel Wessel

Daniel Wessel is a researcher at the Institute for Multimedia and Interactive Systems at University of Lübeck. His research interests include mobile media, research methods and evaluation, and especially the interaction between psychology and computer technology.