Beyond Clippy's counsel: Word processor feature underuse among the digital generation

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The current article provides a new perspective on appropriation by investigating what causes features of popular applications, rather than the applications as whole, to not be used by young, technologically competent audiences. Determinants of underuse are conceptualized from appropriation literature. In line with the active user paradox, we propose that feature underuse stems from conscious choices as well as knowledge and experience gaps users are not aware of. Support for determinants' influences was sought by observing and interviewing 30 students as they performed tasks in Microsoft Word, an evolving application with a burgeoning feature set that many members of its target audience are often obliged to use. Features' convenience, complexity, and performance predicted underuse, though it was also related to conscious processes such as users' perceptions of ease of use and usefulness. Conclusions are drawn on the granularity of appropriation, and that the active user paradox can also explain why individual features of a larger program are underused.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2019 IEEE International Professional Communication Conference (ProComm)
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-7281-2566-4
Publication statusPublished - 19 Aug 2019
EventIEEE International Professional Communication Conference, ProComm 2019 - RWTH Aachen University, Aachen, Germany
Duration: 23 Jul 201926 Jul 2019


ConferenceIEEE International Professional Communication Conference, ProComm 2019
Abbreviated titleProComm 2019
Internet address


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