Journal of Management Information Systems vol:27 issue:4 pages:231-260
Interactive decision aids (IDAs) typically use concrete product feature-based approaches to interact with consumers. Recently however, interaction designs that focus on communicating abstract consumer needs have been suggested as a promising alternative. This article investigates how temporal distance moderates the effectiveness of these two competing IDA communication designs by its effect on consumers’ mental representation of the product decision problem. Temporal distance is inherently connected to IDAs in two ways. Congruency between consumption timing (immediate vs. distant) and IDA communication design (concrete vs. abstract, respectively) increases the likelihood to accept the IDA’s advice. This effect is also achieved by congruency between IDA process timing (immediate vs. delayed delivery of recommendations) and IDA communication design (concrete vs. abstract, respectively). We further show that this process is mediated by the perceived transparency of the IDA process. Managers and researchers need to take into account the importance of congruency between the user and the interface through which companies interact with their users and can further optimize IDAs so that they better match consumers’ mental representations.