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Mapping Segments Accessing User Generated Content and Website Applications in a Joint Space

Kastner, Margit, Stangl, Brigitte (2012). Mapping Segments Accessing User Generated Content and Website Applications in a Joint Space. International Journal of Culture, Tourism and Hospitality Research 6(4).


Purpose - Literature suggests that website designers should consider the needs of their target groups. This study shows the importance of certain website content/applications as perceived by specific user segments, and reveals a posteriori segments based on motivational factors for reading user-generated content (UGC). The study then visualizes the connections between segments, their perceived importance of website applications, and further explanatory variables, by applying correspondence analysis (CA). We show that creative usage of CA may give insight into the varying contributions of certain variables through the exclusion of scale categories or segments.

Design/methodology/approach - We collected 440 completed questionnaires in an online survey. Of the 240 respondents who read UGC, we clustered motivational factors by applying a vector quantization method, and then used CA to give insights into the importance of website content/applications for certain segments. The paper explains how matrices can be simplified in order to facilitate interpretation, and applies Rasch analysis to ensure the accuracy of this simplification.

Findings - Our results indicate that six segments exist with different motivations for accessing UGC: enthusiasts, mavericks, tips and price optimizers, safety players, uncommercials, and avoiders. For these different segments, the perceived importance of diverse website content/applications vary. We show that interpretation may be simplified, without the loss of substantive information, by combining scale levels and excluding neutral categories. The Rasch analysis also supports combining categories.

Research limitations/implications - We also show how the demonstration of certain effects can be enhanced by animated graphics, and that these can then be embedded into pdf files. However, embedding of animations only makes sense for digital articles or media in general; in a printed version, the reader would need to be redirected to a website.

Originality/value - Social media website providers need to be aware that diverse segments perceive the importance of content/applications differently, and designers should customize a website accordingly. Finally, and in terms of methodology, this paper highlights how CA is valuable for management presentations because it displays categorical data in an easy-to-read graph format.