Economics models of interaction: a tutorial on modeling interaction using economics

Leif Azzopardi, Guido Zuccon

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingOther chapter contribution

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This chapter provides a tutorial on how economics can be used to model the interaction between users and systems. Economic theory provides an intuitive and natural way to model Human-Computer In- teraction which enables the prediction and explanation of user behaviour. A central tenet of the approach is the utility maximisation paradigm where it is assumed that users seek to maximise their profit/benefit subject to budget and other constraints when interacting with a system. By using such models it is possible to reason about user behaviour and make predictions about how changes to the interface or the users interactions will affect performance and behaviour. In this chapter, we describe and develop several economic models relating to how users search for information. While the examples are specific to Information Seeking and Retrieval, the techniques employed can be applied more generally to other human-computer interaction scenarios. Therefore, the goal of this chapter is to provide an introduction and overview of how to build economic models of human-computer interaction that generate testable hypotheses regarding user behaviour which can be used to guide design and inform experimentation.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationComputational Interaction
EditorsAntti Oulasvirta, Per Ola Kristensson, Xiaojun Bi, Andrew Howes
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages29
ISBN (Print)9780198799610
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jan 2018


  • human-computer interaction
  • HCI
  • user behaviour
  • UI design
  • user interfaces
  • information seeking
  • information retrieval


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