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BCSHCI Tables of Contents: 8687888991929394959697980001020304050607-107-2

Proceedings of the HCI'97 Conference on People and Computers XII

Fullname:Proceedings of the Twelfth Conference of the British Computer Society Human Computer Interaction Specialist Group
Note:People and Computers XII
Editors:Harold Thimbleby; Brid O'Conaill; Peter J. Thomas
Location:Bristol, England
Dates:1997-Aug-12 to 1997-Aug-15
Publisher:Springer Verlag
Standard No:ISBN 3-540-76172-1; hcibib: BCSHCI97
Links:Publisher Page
Making Passwords Secure and Usable BIBAK 1-19
  Anne Adams; Martina Angela Sasse; Peter Lunt
To date, system research has focused on designing security mechanisms to protect systems access although their usability has rarely been investigated. This paper reports a study in which users' perceptions of password mechanisms were investigated through questionnaires and interviews. Analysis of the questionnaires shows that many users report problems, linked to the number of passwords and frequency of password use. In-depth analysis of the interview data revealed that the degree to which users conform to security mechanisms depends on their perception of security levels, information sensitivity and compatibility with work practices. Security mechanisms incompatible with these perceptions may be circumvented by users and thereby undermine system security overall.
Keywords: Security, Passwords, Grounded theory, Organisational factors
Strategies for Organising Email BIBAK 21-38
  Olle Balter
With the increasing flow of email, strategies for organising email messages become more important. Research describes various strategies used for archiving and retrieving messages. Categorising these strategies is important to identify special needs, problems and solutions for users of each strategy. This study extends earlier categories by grouping users after folder usage and cleaning frequency. Conclusions are that the strategies are affected by the choice of mail tool and number of incoming messages, but no influence by the work task or position could be found. Some advice on interface design to support the different strategies is given.
Keywords: Electronic mail, Email, Organisation, Archiving, Folder, Cleaning, Strategy
Navigating Telephone-Based Interfaces with Earcons BIBAK 39-56
  Stephen Brewster
Non-speech audio messages called earcons can provide powerful navigation cues in menu hierarchies. However, previous research on earcons has not addressed the particular problems of menus in telephone-based interfaces (TBI's) such as: Does the lower quality of sound in TBI's lower recall rates, can users remember earcons over a period of time and what effect does training type have on recall. An experiment was conducted and results showed that sound quality did lower the recall of earcons. However, redesign of the earcons overcame this problem with 73% recalled correctly. Participants could still recall earcons at this level after a week had passed. Training type also affected recall. With 'personal training' participants recalled 73% of the earcons but with purely textual training results were significantly lower. These results show that earcons can provide excellent navigation cues for telephone-based interfaces.
Keywords: Earcons, Telephone-based interfaces, Auditory interfaces, Non-speech audio, Navigation
Do Users Always Benefit When User Interfaces Are Consistent? BIBA 57-66
  David A. Caulton; Ken Dye
Do users always learn a new program faster if its UI is consistent with a previously learned user interface? Most UI style guides claim they do. A study is described that refutes this claim by demonstrating a case where a version of Microsoft Project that is less consistent with Microsoft Office is more usable to expert Office users than one that is more consistent with Office. It is proposed that the inconsistent version is more usable because Microsoft Project is a different class of application -- more vertical -- and thus different UI techniques are appropriate. It is argued that users benefit from consistent interfaces where programs perform similar functions over a wide range of user goals, but in more vertical applications and where the user's goals are different, appropriateness to purpose is more important than consistency.
Conceptual Design Reconsidered: The Case of the Internet Session Directory Tool BIBAK 67-84
  Louise Clark; M. Angela Sasse
We report a case study in which conceptual design was applied to create a user interface of an innovative software tool. The Session Directory Tool (sdr) allows users to set up and participate in real-time interactive multimedia events on the Internet. To make this functionality available to users who are not familiar with the underlying network technology and videoconferencing, we identified a metaphor which could be extended into a design model (Electronic TV Listings Guide), and communicated this model through linguistic and structural features of the user interface. Evaluation results indicate that this effort was largely successful: new users handled sdr competently after a short training session and 5 days' practise, and articulated their knowledge of the tool in terms related to the design model. The case study demonstrates the potential of conceptual design, integrated with tangible HCI design techniques, for developing user interfaces to innovative technology.
Keywords: Conceptual design, Mental models, Users' models, Internet conferencing
Computer Anxiety and the Human-Computer Interface BIBAK 85-100
  Donald Day; Paivi Makirinne-Crofts
Despite widespread PC use in recent decades, many users remain anxious about their ability to cope with computers. This paper reports a study evaluating how interface features contribute to computer anxiety. Key constructs include cultural and individual differences, interface quality, self-efficacy, ease of use, user attitudes and intended usage behaviour. Findings indicate that anxious users prefer innovative I/O devices, experience low self-efficacy, and dislike inconsistent status messages and blocked-option menus. Intended usage behaviour appears to be inversely related to levels of computer anxiety. These findings provide moderate support for a modified Technology Acceptance Model proposed by the study.
Keywords: Computer anxiety, Interface quality, Self-efficacy
Towards a Situated Action Calculus for Modelling Interactions BIBAK 101-116
  Alberto Faro; Daniela Giordano
Formal modelling of situated actions and context is a worthwhile endeavor if it provides a framework for verifying requirements correctness and generates principles for building interfaces for fluid interactions. The paper argues that action sequences, rather than states, are a suitable representation for this problem, and proposes a situated action calculus based on a new material implication relation among contexts. The situated action calculus extends in two respects a story-telling theory for embedding the user requirements in meaningful contexts. First, it provides a formalism and a set of operators that allow the designer to verify that stories told by different actors generate a safe and live representation; and second, it allows partitioning such representation in a succession of scenes which can be aggregated to define for each actor an interface that unfolds with the task and the context.
Keywords: Situated action calculus, Formal specification, Requirements engineering, Information systems design
Explorations in Sonic Browsing BIBAK 117-131
  M. Fernstrom; L. Bannon
This paper describes a novel browser prototype that has been designed and implemented on PC's and soundcards. Our focus has been on the development of a usable and engaging interface which exploits both visual and aural features of the data space. The project involves state-of-the-art work in human-computer interaction and multimedia development. We are working on a data set of musical compositions, and are designing and testing the prototype with a group of musicians. This paper provides some detail on the development process, the current architecture of the system, and describes some of the problems encountered.
Keywords: Browsing, Multimedia, Visualisation, Sonification, Spatial audio
Remote Homeplace Communication: What is It Like and How Might We Support It? BIBAK 133-153
  David M. Frohlich; Kathy Chilton; Paul Drew
We introduce the study of homeplace communication as being relevant to the design of new communication technology for the home market. After reviewing current approaches to the field, we go on to describe the nature of remote homeplace communication over the telephone, based on a quantitative and qualitative analysis of 315 household telephone calls. The findings are contrasted with aspects of workplace communication and used to identify 7 user requirements for support. We conclude with recommendations for future basic and applied research in the area.
Keywords: Home, Homeplace, Communication, Interaction, Telephone, Call, Relationship, User needs, Requirements, Technology
A Making-Movies Metaphor for Structuring Software Components in Highly Interactive Applications BIBAK 155-173
  Michelle Jacomi; Stephane Chatty; Philippe Palanque
Structuring full scale, highly interactive applications still involve complex design choices for programmers. This is because current techniques do not cover the issue of structuring applications at all scales. Programmers thus have to make choices without a good understanding of their consequences. We consider that this is similar to the problem encountered by a user who explores a user-driven application and has little guidance on actions that can be performed. In the same way as metaphors have been used to help users anticipate the consequences of their actions, we propose to use metaphors to help programmers make their choices. This article describes a making-movies metaphor that provides guidance for organising the interface of an application, but also its links with the objects of the functional core. We show how this approach can be merged with current software engineering techniques to specify and build full scale applications. This is exemplified with a graphical editor acting as an interface to optimisation algorithms, and used for splitting air space into air traffic control sectors.
Keywords: Software architecture, User interface design, Metaphors
The Impact of Time and Place on the Operation of Mobile Computing Devices BIBAK 175-190
  Chris Johnson
Recent improvements in the quality and reliability of wireless communications has led to the development of a range of mobile computing devices. Many portable computers now offer modem connections through cellular and satellite telephone networks. Taxi services, emergency vehicles, domestic repair teams all now rely upon mobile links to central computing systems. In spite of these advances, a number of technical problems still affect the quality of interaction with mobile applications. Electromagnetic interference blocks radio signals. Obstacles in the line of sight can interrupt microwave and infra-red transmissions. Tracking problems frustrate the use of low-level satellites. Transmission delays affect the service provided by higher, geostationary satellites. From the users' point of view, these problems manifest themselves as geographical constraints upon the usability of their 'mobile' device. This lead to delays in the transmission of critical information. These, in turn, lead to the frustration and error that often complicates the operation of mobile computer systems. In the short term, it seems unlikely that the technical limitations will be resolved. The following pages, therefore, argue that interface designers must consider means of reducing the impact of geographic allocation upon the operation of mobile computing devices.
Keywords: Mobile computing, Interface design, Satellite communications, Cellular networks
The Impact of Marginal Utility and Time on Distributed Information Retrieval BIBAK 191-204
  Chris Johnson
This paper argues that marginal utility can be extended from the domain of Micro-economics to explain some of the problems that frustrate interaction with distributed systems. In particular, it is argued that concave utility curves can be used to analyse the electronic gridlock that occurs when remote systems cannot satisfy the number of demands which users make upon their services. Convex utility curves represent the information saturation that occurs when users cannot extract important documents from amass of irrelevant information. The paper goes on to argue that marginal utility can also be used to identify a range of interface techniques that reduce the problems associated with electronic gridlock and information saturation.
Keywords: Electronic gridlock, Information saturation, Marginal utility
Computer-Assisted Remote Control for the User with Motor Impairment BIBAK 205-221
  Peter E. Jones
Two projects are described for children with Cerebral Palsy. The first one is a computer controlled radio car, CAR. This provided the inspiration for the solution needed in the second project -- a remote control for a user with motor impairment. This resulted in a prototype controller box that we named Rico. It is a low cost device attached via the parallel port to any PC. It is capable of adapting to the infrared signals of most remote controls for domestic devices such as CD players, TVs and VCRs. Users with severe motor impairment can interact with a computer and through Rico have it mimic the action of the domestic remote controls. In first learning to use both CAR and Rico, we found it necessary to allow simultaneous interaction by the user and the teacher or occupational therapist. Therefore we have two humans in the HCI! The user who is motor impaired interacts via any one of a number of simple selection devices whilst the teacher uses the keyboard. In our case the users were teenagers severely disabled by Cerebral Palsy, who are confined to wheelchairs and are at the stage of just learning to read. The adaptability of the hardware and software would allow the use of Rico for a wide range of users suffering motor impairment through other causes.
Keywords: Assistive technology, Motor impaired, Cerebral palsy, Remote control, Novel input-output
Research and the Design of Human-Computer Interactions or 'What Happened to Validation?' BIBAK 223-243
  John Long
This paper argues the need for more effective: human-computer interactions; design of such interactions; and research to support such design. More effective research would result in more effective interactions. One contribution to more effective research would be the specification of relations between research and the design of human-computer interactions in support of the validation of new knowledge. The aim of this paper is to propose such a specification both for HCI and Cognitive Science research and the relations between them. Meeting the HCI specification renders HCI knowledge coherent, complete and 'fit-for-design-purpose'. The paper concludes that specification of relations is required for more effective research support for the design of human-computer interactions.
Keywords: Research, Design, Human-computer interactions, Effectiveness
Using Diagrams to Support the Analysis of System 'Failure' and Operator 'Error' BIBAK 245-261
  Lorna Love; Chris Johnson
Computers are increasingly being embedded within safety systems. As a result, a number of accidents have been caused by complex interactions between operator 'error' and system 'failure'. Accident reports help to ensure that these 'failures' do not threaten other applications. Unfortunately, a number of usability problems limit the effectiveness of these documents. Each section is, typically, drafted by a different expert; forensic scientists follow metallurgists, human factors experts follow meteorologists. In consequence, it can be difficult for readers to form a coherent account of an accident. This paper argues that fault trees can be used to present a clear and concise overview of major failures. Unfortunately, fault trees have a number of limitations. For instance, they do not represent time. This is significant because temporal properties have a profound impact upon the course of human-computer interaction. Similarly, they do not represent the criticality or severity of a failure. We have, therefore, extended the fault tree notation to represent traces of interaction during major failures. The resulting Accident Fault Tree (AFT) diagrams can be used in conjunction with an official accident report to better visualise the course of an accident. The Clapham Junction railway disaster is used to illustrate our argument.
Keywords: Accident analysis, Fault trees, Operator 'error', System 'failure'
The Interactional Affordances of Technology: An Ethnography of Human-Computer Interaction in an Ambulance Control Centre BIBA 263-281
  David Martin; John Bowers; David Wastell
This paper reports an ethnography of ambulance dispatch work in a large UK metropolitan region. The interplay between control centre ecology, usage of a computerised dispatch system, and cooperative work of control personnel is analysed. The methods by which a 'working division of labour' is sustained to effectively manage dispatch in the face of high workload and manifold contingency are explicated, and contrasted with methods employed by workers in other control room settings known from the literature. The implications of the study for system improvement and for several emphases in HCI research (including discussions of 'affordances') are explored.
Why, What, Where, When: Architectures for Cooperative Work on the World Wide Web BIBAK 283-301
  Devina Ramduny; Alan Dix
The software architecture of a cooperative user interface determines what component is placed where. This paper examines some reasons determining why a particular placement should be chosen. Temporal interface behaviour is a key issue: when users receive feedback from their own actions and feedthrough about the actions of others. In a distributed system, data and code may be moved to achieve the desired behaviour -- in particular, Java applets can be downloaded to give rapid local semantic feedback. Thus we must choose not only the physical location for each functional component but also when that component should reside in different places.
Keywords: Software architecture, CSCW, Internet, Caching, Replication, Applets, Feedback, Feedthrough, Temporal problems, Delays
BUILD-IT: A Computer Vision-Based Interaction Technique for a Planning Tool BIBAK 303-314
  M. Rauterberg; M. Fjeld; H. Krueger; M. Bichsel; U. Leonhardt; M. Meier
In this article we wish to show a method that goes beyond the established approaches of human-computer interaction. We first bring a serious critique of traditional interface types, showing their major drawbacks and limitations. Promising alternatives are offered by Virtual (or: immersive) Reality (VR) and by Augmented Reality (AR). The AR design strategy enables humans to behave in a nearly natural way. Natural interaction means human actions in the real world with other humans and/or with real world objects. Guided by the basic constraints of natural interaction, we derive a set of recommendations for the next generation of user interfaces: the Natural User Interface (NUI). Our approach to NUIs is discussed in the form of a general framework followed by a prototype. The prototype tool builds on video-based interaction, and supports construction and plant layout. A first empirical evaluation is briefly presented.
Keywords: Augmented reality, Natural user interface, Video based interaction, Computer aided design
Formally Comparing and Informing Notation Design BIBAK 315-336
  C. R. Roast
This paper uses the analytic framework of cognitive dimensions to provide formal interpretations of dimensions for appraising the suitability of interactive systems for particular tasks. The framework also provides an effective terminology to support a wide range of assessments including interface evaluation, and the resistance of notations to modification. We propose that interface design can benefit from interpreting cognitive dimensions as tools for assessing software characteristics such as usability and modifiability. Our interpretation of these dimensions has the benefits of being formal and at the same time yielding practical measures and guidelines for assessment. In this paper our formalisation of cognitive dimensions examines and illustrates the dimensions of 'viscosity' -- resistance to change. We demonstrate the appropriateness of the measures developed as a means of assessing notational resistance to change and the general results that their formalization enables.
Keywords: Cognitive dimensions, Formal methods, Notations, programming
Direct Object Manipulation vs. Direct Concept Manipulation: Effect of Interface Style on Reflection and Domain Learning BIBAK 337-357
  Kamran Sedighian; Marv Westrom
This paper investigates the effects of interface style on children's domain learning and reflective thought. It argues that the educational deficiencies of Direct Manipulation (DM) interfaces are not necessarily caused by their "directness", but by their directness towards objects rather than embedded educational concepts. This paper furthers our understanding of the DM metaphor in educational software by proposing a shift of approach from Direct Object Manipulation (DOM) to Direct Concept Manipulation (DCM). A number of pedagogical strategies for supporting the DCM metaphor are offered. Results reported from a study using three variations of an educational software application are used to support these points.
Keywords: Interface, Direct manipulation, Reflection, Children, Education, Learning, Motivation, Mathematics, Problem solving, Human-computer interaction, Transformation geometry
HyperAT: HCI and Web Authoring BIBAK 359-378
  Yin Leng Theng; Cecile Rigny; Harold Thimbleby; Matthew Jones
We review HCI problems with hypertext, and for authoring World Wide Web documents in particular. We suggest that a framework is required to understand the usability issues, and that these issues cannot be seen as psychological or computing: they are multi-disciplinary. We discuss HyperAT, a prototype authoring tool, being implemented to test these ideas.
Keywords: "Lost in hyperspace", Authoring tool, World Wide Web, Multi-disciplinary approach
Separating User Knowledge of Domain and Device: A Framework BIBAK 379-395
  Peter Timmer; John Long
A framework for modelling user-device interaction is presented. Models constructed with the framework explicitly separate 1) what the operator knows about the work (domain) being carried out, from 2) what the operator knows about the state of the devices used to carry out that work. Using an illustration from Air Traffic Management (ATM), the value of such separation is shown, for the diagnosis of operator behaviour that leads to system ineffectiveness. The design implications of using such worksystem models, in conjunction with domain models, are discussed.
Keywords: Mental representation, Domain, Problem diagnosis, Air traffic management
Eliciting Information Portrayal Requirements: Experiences with the Critical Decision Method BIBAK 397-415
  William B. L. Wong; Philip J. Sallis; David O'Hare
This study is part of research that is investigating the notion that human performance in dynamic and intentional decision making environments, such as ambulance dispatch management, can be improved if information is portrayed in a manner that supports the decision strategies invoked to achieve the goal states of the process being controlled. Hence, in designing interfaces to support real-time dispatch management decisions, it is suggested that it would be necessary to first discover the goal states and the decision strategies invoked during the process, and then portray the required information in a manner that supports such a user group's decision making goals and strategies.
   The purpose of this paper is to report on the experiences gleaned from the use of a cognitive task analysis technique called Critical Decision Method as an elicitation technique for determining information portrayal requirements. This paper firstly describes how the technique was used in a study to identify the goal states and decision strategies invoked during the dispatch of ambulances at the Sydney Ambulance Coordination Centre. The paper then describes how the interview data was analysed within and between cases in order to reveal the goal states of the ambulance dispatchers. A brief description of the resulting goal states follows, although a more detailed description of the goals states and their resulting display concepts has been reported elsewhere (Wong et al., 1996b). Finally, the paper concludes with a set of observations and lessons learnt from the use of the Critical Decision Method for developing display design concepts in dynamic intentional environments.
Keywords: Display design, Cognitive task analysis, Critical Decision Method, Ambulance dispatch management