Hidden markets: UI design for a P2P backup application.

Sven Seuken, Kamal Jain, Desney S. Tan, and Mary Czerwinski


The Internet has allowed market-based systems to become

increasingly pervasive. In this paper we explore the role of

user interface (UI) design for these markets. Different UIs

induce different mental models which in turn determine how

users understand and interact with a market. Thus, the intersection

of UI design and economics is a novel and important

research area. We make three contributions at this intersection.

First, we present a novel design paradigm which

we call hidden markets. The primary goal of hidden markets

is to hide as much of the market complexities as possible.

Second, we explore this new design paradigm using one

particular example: a P2P backup application. We explain

the market underlying this system and provide a detailed description

of the new UI we developed. Third, we present results

from a formative usability study. Our findings indicate

that a number of users could benefit from a market-based

P2P backup system. Most users intuitively understood the

give & take principle as well as the bundle constraints of

the market. However, the pricing aspect was difficult to discover/

understand for many users and thus needs further investigation.

Overall, the results are encouraging and show

promise for the hidden market paradigm.


Publication typeProceedings
PublisherACM Conference on Computer-Human Interaction
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