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BIT Tables of Contents: 0102030405060708091011

Behaviour and Information Technology 1

Editors:Tom Stewart
Publisher:Taylor & Francis, Ltd.
Standard No:ISSN 0144-929X
Links:Table of Contents
  1. BIT 1982 Volume 1 Issue 1
  2. BIT 1982 Volume 1 Issue 2
  3. BIT 1982 Volume 1 Issue 3
  4. BIT 1982 Volume 1 Issue 4

BIT 1982 Volume 1 Issue 1

Editorial BIB 1-2
  Tom Stewart
Pictures of Programs and Other Processes, or How to Do Things with Lines BIBA 3-36
  T. R. G. Green
The familiar flowchart has been widely used not only to explicate programs but also to present many other kinds of algorithms, rules and instructions. With the rise of structured programming, a number of competing notations have been produced, each trying to improve on flowcharts. Several of these notations are compared and empirical evidence is reviewed as to their success or failure, and some of the difficulties that arise with the new notations are pointed out. To emphasize the wide applicability of these notations illustrations are taken from everyday algorithms.
Designing Interactive Systems for the Office of the Future BIBA 37-42
  G. F. Coulouris
This paper describes an approach to the design of interactive information systems based on a 'total activity model', that is, a description of activities performed by the user and activities performed for the user. The system is illustrated by outlining the approach in relation to existing word-processing systems and by describing in more detail its application in an experimental filing and task management system.
   The second part of the paper addresses the question: what hardware and software resources are needed in order to implement effective interactive systems of the type described?
Data Base Navigation: An Office Environment for the Professional BIBA 43-54
  Robert Spence; Mark Apperley
The potential of the computer to assist in the everyday information handling activities of professional people has received little attention. This paper proposes a number of novel facilities to produce, for his purpose, an office environment in which needed item of information can rapidly be sought and identified. It involves a new display technique which overcomes the classical "windowing" problem, and the use of natural dialogues utilizing simple actions such as pointing, gesturing, touching and spoken commands. The simple dialogue makes the scheme well suited to the professional person, who is most likely unwilling to learn complex command languages. Little disturbances to the appearance of the office need be involved.
What Do Professional Persons Think About Computers? BIBA 55-68
  Elizabeth Zoltan; Alphonse Chapanis
A 64-item questionnaire was distributed through the mail to certified public accountants (CPAs), lawyers, pharmacists and physicians in the Baltimore City area to determine their experience with, and attitudes towards, electronic computers. Return rates were not significantly different for the four groups and averaged 27.7 per cent for all groups combined. The data analyses are based on 521 replies.
   Analyses of the background information supplied by the four groups show that CPAs in general have more training on, are more familiar with, and have greater access to computers than do the other professional groups. Lawyers in general have the least exposure to computers. A factor analysis of the responses to the attitude items yielded six factors. Three of the more important clusters of attitudes are associated with: (a) a view of computers as efficient and beneficial machines; (b) dissatisfaction with their depersonalizing nature; and (c) enthusiasm for working with computers. Finally, a multivariate analysis of variance indicated significant differences in attitudes among the four groups. CPAs and pharmacists tend to view computers more positively than do the other two groups. Lawyers are most likely to describe computers with negative terms, such as depersonalizing, formal and difficult.
An Ergonomic Evaluation of VDTs BIBA 69-80
  Th. Fellmann; U. Brauninger; R. Gierer; E. Grandjean
Eight VDTs of different trademarks were analyzed in relation to the following properties:
  • (a) Contrasts of luminance between the screens on the one hand and source
        documents, as well as other surfaces of the VDT, on the other.
  • (b) Oscillation degree, sharpness and stability of characters.
  • (c) Face and legibility of characters.
  • (d) Dimensions, mobility and reflection degrees of the keyboards. Special equipment was developed and standardized conditions were applied to the measurements.
       The eight VDTs showed essential differences for all the parameters, which might be partially responsible for eye strain and postural complaints. It can be concluded that customers should pay more attention to ergonomic qualities when choosing a VDT. But such an endeavour remains useless if the customer does not, at the same time, look for a proper design of the whole workstation including the working environment.
  • The Computer in the Consulting Room: A Psychological Framework BIBA 81-92
      M. J. Fitter; P. J. Cruickshank
    The use of an interactive computer system to aid the doctor with history taking and diagnosis is described. The system is developed for dyspepsia cases and is designed to be flexible enough to give the doctor considerable choice in the way it is used in the consulting room. We have observed and analyzed its use by doctors in two very different settings; registrars and SHOs in an outpatient clinic, and GP trainers in a simulation exercise. All the doctors found individual ways of using the computer in the consultation, some chose to use it 'conversationally', alternating their attention between patient and computer, whilst others attempted to minimize its use while the patient was present. Patients' reactions to the use of computers in general, and to their experience of this system specifically are described. The ways in which the computer imposes structure on the consultation and seems to influence the doctors' decision processes are discussed. The complex dynamics of the interaction between patient, doctor and computer are outlined and are related to the cognitive load imposed. We raise 'human factors' issues, specific to the medical consultation environment, which need consideration in the design of future systems.
    Computer Recognition of Textual Keyboard Inputs from Naive Users BIBA 93-111
      Martin Maguire
    The case for interactive computer dialogues for naive users to be based upon textual keyboard inputs is supported. A number of problems associated with this approach are highlighted relating to the fact that a single input may be entered in a variety of ways. A computer procedure, called TEX, is proposed which is designed to tolerate this variance and to successfully recognize textual inputs.


    Symposium on Video Display Terminals and Vision of Workers BIB 113-114
      E. Grandjean

    Book Review

    "The Micro-Electronics Revolution; The Complete Guide to the New Technology and its Impact on Society," edited by T. Forester BIB 115-116
      K. Eason

    BIT 1982 Volume 1 Issue 2

    Editorial BIB 119
      Tom Stewart
    Video Display Terminals and Vision of Workers: Summary and Overview of a Symposium BIBA 121-140
      Barbara S. Brown; Key Dismukes; Edward J. Rinalducci
    This summary discusses issues raised at a National Research Council symposium on vision and VDT work, held at the request of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Symposium participants critically reviewed laboratory studies of visual function and field surveys of visual complaints of VDT operators to determine what conclusions can be drawn about the prevalence, severity, causes of, and possible remedies for reported difficulties. Although speakers' perspectives differed, a number of points appeared to gain consensus: (i) properly designed epidemiological studies comparing the incidence of visual problems in VDT operators with that in non-VDT workers are needed. (ii) Visual issues are closely interrelated with ergonomic and job design variables, and use of multivariate statistical analysis is necessary to determine what specific aspects of work involving VDTs may contribute to visual and other complaints. (iii) No scientifically valid study has establish that VDT use causes harm, in the sense of damage, to the visual system. (iv) Existing knowledge indicates a number of measures that could be taken to improve worker comfort and performance: use of high-quality displays; control of workplace lighting conditions; application of principles of anthropometric design; and consideration of workers' needs in design of jobs. (v) Surveys of radiation emissions from VDTs indicate that levels of radiation are far below U.S. occupational exposure standards. Published data provide no evidence that cateracts are associated with VDT use. (vi) Standards should be based on research. Differing opinions on whether setting standards is useful and appropriate point to the need for caution in this area. Needs for further research were identified.
    Occupational Stress Factors in Visual Display Terminal (VDT) Operation: A Review of Empirical Research BIBA 141-176
      Marvin J. Dainoff
    A review of the literature involving empirical research (experimental and field investigations) on stressful aspects of visual display terminal (VDT) operation is presented. Studies reviewed included assessment of visual fatigue and/or performance, musculoskeletal symptoms and operator attitudes towards job demands and quality of working life. In addition, some investigation included discussions and evaluations of the physical attributes of VDT workplaces; including ergonomic factors (task lighting, glare conditions, anthropometric configuration of VDT and accompanying furniture), environmental factors (temperature, humidity, radiation) and psychosocial factors (job demand, work content, work-rest schedules).
       The literature reveals that levels of visual and musculoskeletal complaints among VDT operators are high. Moreover, ergonomic field assessment of VDT workplaces indicate that the majority of those examined were suboptimal with respect to existing recommendations regarding lighting, glare control and anthropometric dimensions of screen, keyboard, desk and chair. Nevertheless, evidence of causal linkages between specific ergonomic attributes of the workplace and specific patterns of symptomatology are lacking.
       Finally, work demand and task structure attributes of the VDT operation were demonstrated to have strong effects on incidences of reports of visual and postural symptoms as well as on psychosocial attitudinal indicators. Hence, i is argued that approaches toward stress reduction must include job contents as well as ergonomic factors.
    Patterns of Manuscript Revisions BIBA 177-184
      Robert B. Allen
    Revisions made by authors to their own manuscripts were studied in order to derive general principles of editing behavior and factors that might be useful in the design of text editors. Among the dependent variables were the amount of material in each edit and the frequency of different classes of edits. Edits of single words were found to be especially common and the most frequent class of edit was changes. Furthermore, edits were not randomly distributed throughout the papers but tended to be clustered.
    The Impact of a Computerized Conferencing System on the Productivity of Scientific Research Communities BIBA 185-195
      Starr Roxanne Hiltz
    This is a case study of five scientific research communities which used EIES (the Electronic Information Exchange System, a computerized conferencing system) for 2 years. Relying primarily upon the subjective reports of the participating scientists, it describes: (i) increases in 'connectivity' (the size and density of the communication networks in which the scientists are embedded); and (ii) qualitative changes in the ways in which the scientists think and work; and (iii) reported changes in such productivity-related factors as increases in the available 'stock of ideas' and in the availability of references and other information useful in their work.
    The Process of Introducing Information Technology BIBA 197-213
      K. D. Eason
    This paper outlines the strategies adopted by the psychologists and ergonomists of the HUSAT Research Group to help organizations learn about information technology and systematically review and plan its organizational ramifications. An essential point is that it is not enough to understand the technology; effective implementation demands the ability to establish organizational needs and to choose a form of technology which will meet them.
       The paper examines three ways of designing systems. Firstly, a technology-led approach which leads to 'fire fighting' when the negative organizational effects become apparent. A second method has tried to compensate for this by involving users in the design process. Unfortunately by the time the users have come to terms with their new task and are able to make a contribution, the system has usually been designed.
       The third method of design expressly seeks to give users the time and opportunity to learn how to contribute to design, by making the design process evolutionary; i.e. by building slowly from small systems to large ones and retaining the flexibility to change. Within this concept user learning and adaptation is promoted by pilot systems, user design exercises, user support and evaluation procedures. It is only by these methods that users can be given the confidence and knowledge to exploit the potential of the new technology.

    BIT 1982 Volume 1 Issue 3

    Editorial BIB 215-216
      Tom Stewart
    An Overview of Contemporary Office Automation Technology BIBA 217-236
      Amar Gupta
    Technological innovations have, until recently, had little impact on the office environment. The advent of the microelectronic revolution has generated devices and mechanisms that support a wide spectrum of administrative functions and increase both the efficiency and effectiveness of office workers. This paper presents a state-of-the-art perspective on the newer technological aids developed specifically for the office environment. The speed and versatility of these aids is a tribute to recent innovations in the field of computers and communications.
    The Future of Interactive Systems and the Emergence of Direct Manipulation BIBA 237-256
      Ben Shneiderman
    This paper suggests three motivations for the strongest interest in human factors' aspects of user interfaces and reviews five design issues: command language versus menu selection, response time and display rates, wording of system messages, on-line tutorials, explanations and help messages and hardware devices. Five methods and tools for system development are considered: participatory design, specification methods, software implementation tools, pilot studies and acceptance tests and evolutionary refinement based on user feedback.
       The final portion of the paper presents direct manipulation, an approach which promises to become widely used in interactive systems. Direct manipulation involves representation of the object of interest, rapid incremental reversible actions and physical action instead of complex syntax.
    Cognitive Factors in Human Interaction With Computers BIBA 257-278
      Robert B. Allen
    Designing computer interfaces to match human cognitive processes is increasingly important as computer systems become more sophisticated. This paper examines experimental results, models and research strategies relevant to cognitive processes in user interfaces for topics including query languages, command languages, programming, problem solving, editing and displays.
    Graphical Presentation of Boolean Expressions in a Database Query Language: Design Notes and an Ergonomic Evaluation BIBA 279-288
      A. Michard
    A new query language designed to improve ease-of-use and ease-of-learning for 'naive' users is presented. Its main interest is to avoid the explicit use of boolean operators for set operations by pointing on Venn diagrams. A human factors comparison with a more traditional design has been performed, using a query writing task. Results show that graphical representation of selected subsets allows less error-prone queries in a single relation database.
    A Laboratory Study on Preferred and Imposed Settings of a VDT Workstation BIBA 289-304
      E. Grandjean; K. Nishiyama; W. Hunting; M. Piderman
    Thirty trained female typists performed several consecutive 10 min typing tasks on an adjustable VDT workstation. The experiments were conducted with preferred as well as with imposed settings. The body postures were determined during the typing tasks and the subjects filled out questionnaires at the end of the tasks.
       The study discloses that the preferred workstation dimensions are associated with mainly 'relaxed' sensations, while imposed dimensions -- even if they are similar to the mean values of preferred settings -- cause an increased incidence of static load symptoms in the sense of increased tension or impairments in the neck-shoulder-arm-hand area. The preferred keyboard levels are mainly distinctly higher than those recommended in standards and brochures. A chair with a high backrest and a proper support to rest forearms and wrists are preconditions for the preferred postures at VDT workstations.
    Using Technical Intervention to Behavioural Advantage BIBA 305-320
      James A. Birrell; Patrick N. White
    In many fields of human endeavour the group discussion has become the standard forum for solving problems and making decisions. That individuals would and still do travel many miles at great personal inconvenience to attend such meetings is testimony to their importance. However, in the past decade psychologists have been producing evidence that the group, as a decision making entity, is flawed. This paper presents a short selective review of that evidence and reports on work which shows how the intervention of an electronic alternative to groups meeting face-to-face may be used to increase the decisionmaking effectiveness of working groups. One such alternative is video-teleconferencing.

    BIT 1982 Volume 1 Issue 4

    Editorial BIB 321
      Tom Stewart
    A Rose by Any Other Alphanumeric Designator Would Smell as Sweet BIB 323-325
      J. Thomas; M. Schneider
    Learning, Using and Designing Filenames and Command Paradigms BIBA 327-346
      John M. Carroll
    What are names for computer files and commands like? How do people go about naming them? How do the properties such names can have affect the ease with which they can be learned and used? This paper sketches a general view of names and naming in which the linguistic forms that names take are deliberately structured to reflect functional interrelations between their referents. This view is then applied to an analysis of personal filenames chosen by CMS users and to a series of experimental studies of command languages.
    Learning and Remembering Interactive Commands in a Text-Editing Task BIBA 347-358
      P. J. Barnard; N. V. Hammond; A. MacLean; J. Morton
    Users of interactive computer systems often experience difficulty in learning and remembering the command vocabulary needed to communicate with the system. This study investigates how task and vocabulary differences affect initial learning and subsequent memory for commands used in a simple editing task. Systems with semantically specific terms were learned no more quickly than systems with semantically general terms, but the nature of the command vocabulary induced different learning strategies. Users of the specific vocabulary made less use of help (provided in the form of a command menu and definitions of operations) than did users of the general command vocabulary. However, users of the specific vocabulary appeared to make more time actively considering options before deciding to consult HELP. These strategy differences were reflected in users' memory for the commands and the task operations 2 weeks later. In addition, the learning strategies adopted were dependent on users' predispositions as measured by individual difference questionnaires.
    An Experimental Evaluation of Abbreviation Schemes in Limited Lexicons BIBA 359-369
      K. Hirsh-Pasek; S. Nudelman; M. L. Schneider
    Five abbreviation schemes (simple truncation, vowel drop, minimum to distinguish, phonics and user defined) were analysed for learning, encoding and decoding. Forty subjects were each tested on two schemes, using two different 20 word lexicons. Simple truncation was the easiest to learn, based upon a trials to criteria experiment. Using a modified tachistoscopic display, simple truncation was the best for encodability. Either vowel drop or phonics was the best scheme for decoding. It appears that information content is important in decoding, but not in encoding.
    Evaluating the Suggestiveness of Command Names BIBA 371-400
      Jarrett K. Rosenberg
    Optimally naming commands involves maximizing the ability to convey an implicit model of system actions and relationships by choosing names which suggest those actions and relationships. Suggestiveness is hypothesized to be based upon the semantic similarity of the names and commands, which can be usefully formulated in terms of Tversky's model of featural similarity.
       To test this model of suggestiveness, three experiments were conducted. In the first experiment, 14 computer-naive subjects made semantic judgements about three sets of command names, and their responses were compared with judgements made by programmers about the corresponding set of editor commands. The judgements were used to create features to assign to each name and command. The suggestiveness of each name was then computed, using a simple context-free version of Tversky's similarity model. In the second experiment, another group of 12 computer-naive subjects was asked to pair the names from the first experiment with before-after pictures showing the actions of the editor commands. As expected, the frequency with which subjects picked the correct pictures was correlated with the suggestiveness of the names, with suggestiveness accounting for roughly half the variance in subjects' choices. In the third experiment, another group of 17 computer-naive subjects used an alternative method of obtaining features for the command names. Suggestiveness calculated from this second set of features produced similar correlations with accuracy.
       Inspection of the model's inaccuracies reveals that they are due to its lack of context sensitivity, and that simple context-sensitive versions of it will have even greater predictive power.
    Generation Effect, Structuring and Computer Commands BIBA 401-410
      Dominique L. Scapin
    Computer commands have been created from natural language words for a broad range of naive and occasional users. These command languages have been investigated for their ease-of-use according to different perspectives. The approach developed here concerns the design of commands by the users themselves. A number of methodological problems are highlighted. The experimental simulation that was run supports both evidence of a generation effect and the importance of structuring the commands.

    Conference Report

    Human Factors in Computing Systems, Gaithersburg, Maryland 15-17 March 1982 BIB 411-419
      David Whitfield

    Book Review

    "Man-Machine Dialogue Design," by A. L. Kidd BIB 421
      Stephen Payne