Customization vs. Personalization


The difference between customization and personalization can be confusing. Do you customize something to personalize it, or personalize something to customize it?

One of the reasons these terms are blurry is that personalization is a relatively new concept in some areas.

Personalized medicine is new. It uses genetics to tailor a treatment that has been customized for each patient.

Personalized learning has been around for a long time. From the teacher’s perspective, personalization means designing learning experiences that provide students with choices they can make depending on their own needs.

A customized site can provide personalized content. In content marketing, personalized content can help sell your products or services based on people’s web interactions. A good example of this is Amazon “noticing” what you are buying so they can personalize their front page.

Companies that offer a range of product designs, like Zazzle, let you personalize a product to make it your own “brand.” For example, you can start with a slogan bumper sticker and add your brand’s slogan, colors, and fonts. This creates a sticker based on the choices you make.

The same is true with e-cards. You can personalize them by choosing a design you like, and then add your name, message, and any other available options. When you save your choices, you have a personalized card.


There are now many web-creation tools that make it easy to build your own personal site. You start by choosing a theme (or template) for your homepage, and then personalize it by adding your own heading, tagline, logo, photos, videos, text, visitor guestbook, and any other content that keeps visitors coming back.

In Windows, you can customize the default desktop by using themes to personalize the background color, window border, sounds, and screen saver.


When you create an account on a website by entering your name, password, and any other required information, you often get a personalized message the next time you log in (like Welcome back Jane).

In other words, you personalize something to match your own needs or those of your target audience.

1 Comment

Filed under product design, technology

One Response to Customization vs. Personalization

  1. Sandra L. BrownNo Gravatar

    Excellent. Clearly explained.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *