CEC Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

2011

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Information Systems (DISS)

Department

Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences

Advisor

Maxine S Cohen

Committee Member

Steven S Terrell

Committee Member

Richard D Manning

Abstract

This study attempted to determine if there is a relationship between user's psychological personality types, measured by the Myers Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI®) and distinct measures of usability measured by the Software Usability Measurement Inventory (SUMI). The study was expected to provide an answer to the following basic research question: When interacting with a typical user interface, do different users perceive usability differently? Specific hypotheses were formulated to answer this research question. Hypotheses were tested to determine if there was any statistically significant relationship between specific MBTI® personality types and individual measure of usability as measured by the SUMI.

Each hypothesis was tested using ANOVA analysis in two ways. The 16 MBTI® types were condensed together using two letters of the full MBTI® type. First, the data was grouped by MBTI® function pair: STs, SFs, NFs and NTs, then by Keirsey temperament: SJs, SPs, NFs and NTs. By grouping data, the effects of small numbers of certain individual types from the sample should be minimized.

When grouping by MBTI® function pair statistical analysis indicated all six hypotheses were supported, indicating no significant relationship between personality type as measured by the MBTI®, and usability as measured by the SUMI in this sample. When grouping by Keirsey temperament, statistical analysis indicated five hypotheses were supported, indicating no significant relationship between personality type as measured by the MBTI®, and usability as measured by the SUMI in this sample. Data analysis showed a significant relation between MBTI® personality type and the SUMI sub-scale of Helpfulness in this sample.

Since only a limited relationship was found between MBTI® types and SUMI usability scales, developers may need to rethink the process of including individual differences as a component of interface design, at least based on personality. However, this study used only one measure of personality- the MBTI®. Different personality measures could offer different results. Finally, this research provided another analysis of how the typical computer user envisions usability and provides a basic summary of usability scales by personality MBTI® types.

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