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Behaviour and Information Technology 12

Editors:Tom Stewart
Dates:1993
Volume:12
Publisher:Taylor & Francis, Ltd.
Standard No:ISSN 0144-929X
Papers:41
Links:Table of Contents
  1. BIT 1993 Volume 12 Issue 1
  2. BIT 1993 Volume 12 Issue 2
  3. BIT 1993 Volume 12 Issue 3
  4. BIT 1993 Volume 12 Issue 4
  5. BIT 1993 Volume 12 Issue 5
  6. BIT 1993 Volume 12 Issue 6

BIT 1993 Volume 12 Issue 1

Editorial BIB i-ii
  Tom Stewart
Simplifying Graphics-Based Data: Applying the Fisheye Lens Viewing Strategy BIBA 1-16
  Deborah Mitta; David Gunning
This paper applies an information presentation technique known as the 'fisheye lens' viewing strategy to the electronic presentation of maintenance data. Previous research efforts have focused on implementing this particular technique as a tool to aid in data base navigation, more specifically, as a means of facilitating the access and comprehension of computer-based information. In this paper, however, the technique serves as a mechanism for reducing the complexity of graphics-based aircraft maintenance data. Our complexity reduction procedure is described, and example views demonstrating the procedure are provided. A brief tutorial describing the fisheye lens viewing strategy is also included.
Investigating Touchscreen Typing: The Effect of Keyboard Size on Typing Speed BIBA 17-22
  Andrew Sears; Doreen Revis; Janet Swatski; Rob Crittenden; Ben Shneiderman
Two studies investigated the effect keyboard size has on typing speed and error rates for touchscreen keyboards using the lift-off strategy. A cursor appeared when users touched the screen and a key was selected when they lifted their finger from the screen. Four keyboard sizes were investigated ranging from 24.6cm to 6.8cm wide. Results indicate that novices can type approximately 10 words per minute (WPM) on the smallest keyboard and 20 WPM on the largest. Experienced users improved to 21 WPM on the smallest keyboard and 32 WPM on the largest. These results indicate that, although slower, small touchscreen keyboards can be used for limited data entry when the presence of a regular keyboard is not practical. Applications include portable pocket-sized or palmtop computers, messaging systems, and personal information resources. Results also suggest the increased importance of experience on these smaller keyboards. Research directions are suggested.
Status Conspicuity, Peripheral Vision, and Text Editing BIBA 23-31
  Derek Scott
This HCI study involved use of both an automated keystroke protocol analyser and eye movement monitoring equipment. Four levels of peripheral salience (conspicuity) of status information were employed. This increased the possibility of using peripheral vision whilst decreasing the probability of relying on eye movements. Superior performance was found in the condition with high conspicuity. It was suggested that this was accounted for by the relative lack of disruptive saccades, reading and relocating one's place. The main study was supported by a fine-grained eye movement analysis of the visual tasks involved. It was concluded that the peripheral presentation of text-editing status information is at present grossly underused, perhaps particularly so for novices.
The Effects of Feedback on Performance and Retention of Skill for a Natural Language Interface BIBA 32-47
  Ann M. Bisantz; Joseph Sharit
This study investigated the effectiveness of different types of on-line feedback following user errors for informing users of the information and functions available in a system with a natural language interface. Twenty-four individuals performed a task based on an industry cost savings program, in which they were given general goals to pursue with regard to the task. Three feedback levels which differed according to the type and amount of feedback provided, along with two levels of system complexity, were examined. In addition, subjects performed the task again after one week to determine the effects of feedback on retention. Results indicated that the subjects in the second level of feedback generally performed better with respect to accessing system functions and information than those in the first level. Although there was some performance improvement from the second to third level, it was not significant. However, the third level of feedback did significantly improve the efficiency with which subjects used information to complete the task during the return condition. Overall, feedback did not affect the errors made, though at certain more limited stages of the tasks this effect was observed.
Combining Natural Language with Direct Manipulation: The Conceptual Framework for a Hybrid Human-Computer Interface BIBAK 48-53
  Shinji Agou; Victor Raskin; Gavriel Salvendy
This paper describes the development of a conceptual model of an interaction system for future human-computer interaction. It is suggested that an integrated system is the most promising solution for diverse users and tasks. A 'hybrid interaction system' is considered, which tries to efficiently direct manipulation, menu selection, and natural language. The mechanism of the natural language interface module is described in more detail. Finally, the allocation of functionalities for generalized tasks on the conceptual model is considered from the taxonomic approach.
Keywords: Natural language processing, Human-computer interaction, User-friendly system
Electronic Point of Sale Scanning in Multiple Food Retailing: A Rebuttal to 'Scanning in the Supermarket: For Better or Worse?' BIB 54-64
  John Davison

BIT 1993 Volume 12 Issue 2

Editorial BIB i
  Tom Stewart

Special Issue: Human-Computer Interaction Research Agendas

Human-Computer Interaction Research Agendas BIB 67-68
  John Sibert; Gary Marchionini
Interaction Styles and Input/Output Devices BIB 69-79
  Robert J. K. Jacob; John J. Leggett; Brad A. Myers; Randy Pausch
Research Directions for User Interface Software Tools BIB 80-97
  Dan R., Jr. Olsen; James D. Foley; Scott E. Hudson; James Miller; Brad Myers
User Interface Development Processes and Methodologies BIB 98-114
  H. Rex Hartson; Deborah Boehm-Davis
Computer-Supported Co-Operative Work: Research Issues for the 90s BIB 115-129
  Judith S. Olson; Stuart K. Card; Thomas K. Landauer; Gary M. Olson; Thomas Malone; John Leggett
Building HCI Partnerships and Infrastructure BIBA 130-135
  Ben Shneiderman; Clayton Lewis
As policymakers and technology planners respond to the growing activity in human-computer interaction, a broad perspective may be helpful. This article offers a top-down view of current activities and suggests opportunities and challenges for the continued growth of HCI. Partnerships among universities, corporations, government agencies, and professional societies are proposed. Infrastructure needs to support this new discipline are outlined.

BIT 1993 Volume 12 Issue 3

Editorial BIB i-ii
  Tom Stewart

User Interface Evaluation Methods

Evaluation of User Interfaces: EVADIS II -- A Comprehensive Evaluation Approach BIBAK 137-148
  Harald Reiterer; Reinhard Oppermann
As a result of the importance of the usability approach in system development and the EC's 'Directive concerning the minimum safety and health requirements for VDT workers' (EWG 1990), there is an accepted need for practical evaluation methods for user interfaces. The usability approach and the EC Directive are not restricted to user interface design, as they include the design of appropriate hardware and software, as well as organization, job, and task design. Therefore system designers are faced with many, often conflicting, requirements and need to address the question, 'How can usability requirements comprehensively be considered and evaluated in system development?' Customers buying hardware and software and introducing them into their organization ask, 'How can I select easy-to-use hardware and software?' Both designers and customers need an evaluation procedure that covers all the organizational, user, hard- and software requirements. The evaluation method, EVADIS II, we present in this paper overcomes characteristic deficiencies of previous evaluation methods. In particular, it takes the tasks, the user, and the organizational context into consideration during the evaluation process, and provides computer support for the use of the evaluation procedure.
Keywords: Usability, System evaluation, User interface
Sleuthing in HyperHolmes: An Evaluation of Using Hypertext vs. a Book to Answer Questions BIBA 149-164
  Laura Marie Leventhal; Barbee Mynatt Teasley; Keith Instone; Diane Schertler Rohlman; John Farhat
Although hypertext offers exciting new ways of presenting and accessing information, there is little research which systematically compares the usability of hypertext against traditional media with an eye to improving the design of the hypertext. This paper presents the results of an experiment which examined the performance and navigation strategies of users engaged in a question-answering task using either a hypertext encyclopedia of Sherlock Holmes facts (the HyperHolmes system) or the traditional paper form. The results showed that, overall, the hypertext users were marginally more accurate in answering questions, and excelled at questions where the key information was embedded in a text entry. The book users were marginally faster overall, but excelled only in answering questions based on graphics. Hypertext users showed a preference for those tools which most closely mimicked use of a conventional book. They used a hierarchical structure to guide their navigation strategy in early trials, but soon learned to navigate in a non-hierarchical, flat way.
Computer Assistance in Design Engineering BIBA 165-173
  Yvonne Wærn; Karl-Gustaf Wærn
The design engineering process is analysed from a cognitive ergonomics point of view, relating it to models of problem-solving and cognitive skills. Observations from several Swedish studies are discussed in this framework. Results indicate that CAD systems require some re-thinking; in particular concepts related to the computer storage have to be incorporated in the problem space of design. As to heuristics, CAD systems seem to offer a wide variety of working. Cognitive skills related to CAD seem to be easily acquired, although the transition between different CAD systems will cause some initial problems. In general it is found that current CAD systems mainly support the detail design phase. Some ideas for future systems which would support the conceptual design phase in addition are discussed.

Review -- Visual Search

Visual Search in Modern Human-Computer Interfaces BIBAK 174-189
  Derek Scott
This article reviews aspects of visual search in relation to computer visual display units. Theoretical issues such as eye movements in visual search are discussed as well as practical examples such as the role of array shape, the benefits of cursor-presented status (insert vs overtype) information, conspicuity of peripherally presented information, and possible benefits of anti-aliased fonts. In association with the four experiments relating to these aspects, the respective follow-up eye movement monitoring studies are also described as these allowed quantification of what otherwise might only have been inferred. The review concludes with four major recommendations. First, much scope remains for exploring the optimization of status (e.g., cursor-presented) information. Second, it would be worth exploring whether icons, like verbal labels, are susceptible to an array shape effect. Third, further work is required (e.g. in the possible role of articulatory differences) in accounting for the ease of locatability of icons over words. Fourth, spatial frequency analysis seems likely to be a major research field over the next decade.
Keywords: Eye movement, Visual search, Visual display units

Viewpoint

Solutioneering in User Interface Design BIBA 190-193
  Harold Thimbleby; Will Thimbleby
The aim of this paper is to encourage more considered design by discussing one of the consequences of narrow problem solving. We discuss a way in which designers solve their own problems, rather than address broader issues of user-centred design. We use the term 'solutioneering' for this. Having available a word for an attitude helps it to be mastered consciously.
Can Information Technology Improve the Quality of Democracy? BIBA 194-195
  Edwin Bos
As the September 1991 issue of Scientific American shows, the large scale integration of computer networks within our society can produce important infrastructural changes. However, one major field of application is not addressed in that issue: politics. In this short paper, I call for an investigation of the impact that computer networks can have on political systems.

BIT 1993 Volume 12 Issue 4

Editorial BIB i-ii
  Tom Stewart

Computing for Older Users

Computer Communication as an Aid to Independence for Older Adults BIBA 197-207
  Sara J. Czaja; Jose H. Guerrier; Sankaran N. Nair; Thomas K. Landauer
Computer and communication technologies offer the potential of improving the quality of life for older people by providing them with links to information and services outside of the home. This study examined the feasibility of older people using an electronic text message system to perform routine communication tasks. In addition information was gathered to identify design parameters which facilitate the interactions of older people with such computer based systems. A specialized and simplified 'communication computer' was placed in the homes of 36 older women, aged 50-95 years. The system was provided with: a simple text-editor, basic electronic mail functions and access to news/ weather, movie reviews, and health information. Both performance data and user preference data were collected. Results indicated that the participants liked using the system, were able to use it with minimal difficulty, and that it provided a valuable means for social interaction and mental stimulation. The findings suggest that computer-based systems can be a valuable support tool for older adults if they are easy to use, and provide applications that are useful for them.
Sound Effects as an Interface Element for Older Users BIBAK 208-215
  Jakob Nielsen; Lynn Schaefer
Users who were between 70 and 75 years old with a mean age of 71.8 years were tested using a paint program that could generate a variety of sound effects to accompany and differentiate the paint tools. Even though the sound effects seemed enjoyable to several younger interface analysts, the older users testing the program with sound effects did not find the program more enjoyable than those testing it in a silent mode. Also, the older test users found the interface more difficult to use when they were exposed to the sounds, possibly because they were overwhelmed by the multimedia effects.
Keywords: Multimedia, Sound effects, Auditory icons, Paint programs, Creativity applications, Leisure use, Age, Elderly users

Supporting Executive Decisions

Executive Support Systems in Strategic Environmental Information Processing BIBA 216-227
  Pien Wang; Efraim Turban
Environmental scanning and interpretation (ES&I) provides crucial information upon which strategic decision-making is based. This paper introduces a model that discusses five information filters observable during information processing in ES&I. It also examines the attributes that may influence the performance of each filter. The paper then shows how an executive support system (ESS), especially when enhanced with artificial intelligence (AI) technologies, can be used to lessen the potential negative effects that may be created by the filters.
A Transaction Cost View of Decision Support Systems BIBAK 228-237
  Reima Suomi
Research and practice in decision support systems have often been said to focus too much on individual decision-making, when decisions actually are made by groups. Another shortfall of current research is the absence of any established theory or framework on which to base it. A third shortfall is the lack of connections between theory and actual implementation in terms of information technology. The first two problems in particular are addressed in this study. Decision-making is considered to be a group activity -- rather than an individual activity -- in which as a matter of fact a contract between the decision-makers is established. The contracts incur transaction costs, which may or may not be covered by the extra value gained by the contract. Transaction costs in the contract formulation phase should be eliminated, and information technology in its various forms is a principal means by which to achieve this end. Different kinds of technologies support different kinds of contracts. This is why decision-makers should understand the nature of their decision-making situation and select the information technology tools most suitable for the situation. The different factors causing transaction costs in decision-making -- contracting -- are identified, and the means to eliminate them by information technology are presented. This study is based on a transaction cost perspective of organizations. Information technology is seen as a primary means to lower transaction costs. Thus, the necessary theoretical framework so often missing in information technology research is provided. The results of the study stem from empirical research, the aim of which was to investigate and to understand information technology from the viewpoint of transaction costs.
Keywords: DSS, Group decision-making, Transaction cost approach
Decision-Making in Management Information Systems Research: The Utility of Policy Capturing Methodology BIBA 238-248
  Joseph J. Martocchio; Jane Webster; Charles R. Baker
Although decision-making represents a fundamental issue in management information systems (MIS), obtaining accurate assessments of the factors affecting employees' decisions may be difficult using traditional methods such as ratings and rankings. Policy capturing, a little-used method in MIS, represents a potentially important alternative to more traditional methods. After demonstrating that policy capturing has been underutilized in MIS, the paper illustrates the use of policy capturing in two decision-making contexts -- computer training and software selection. These two studies contrast policy capturing results with more traditional methods, and draw implications for research.

Assessing Visual Display Quality

An Instrument for the Measurement of the Visual Quality of Displays BIBA 249-260
  Gerd P. J. Spenkelink; Ko Besuijen; Jacco Brok
Three basic approaches towards the measurement of the visual quality of VDUs exist. These coincide with taking measures at the subject, description through display statistics, and obtaining user judgments. It is argued that the last has some specific advantages. Therefore a rating scale has been constructed for the measurement of the visual quality of alphanumeric displays. This Display Evaluation Scale (DES) is based on the notion that display quality is a multidimensional concept. The scale is intended for application in quite unrestrictive settings. The DES can be used as a design, evaluation or research tool. The DES, its development and software implementation are described. In the discussion of a number of experiments it is shown that a high reliability of the measurements can be achieved with a relatively small sample size. Preliminary results on the validity of the scale are presented briefly and implications for future research are indicated.

BIT 1993 Volume 12 Issue 5

Editorial BIB i-ii
  Tom Stewart

Social Aspects of Information Technology

Social Systems that Marginalize the Psychological and Organizational Aspects of Information Technology BIBA 261-266
  Chris W. Clegg
This polemical paper is concerned with identifying the factors which serve to marginalize the psychological and organizational aspects of the development, implementation and use of information technology. Five sets of factors are delineated, those associated with: end-users; suppliers, 'experts' and the development process; management and organizations; research and development; and education and understanding. The analysis points to the presence of a complex, mutually reinforcing set of social systems acting to marginalize psychological and organizational concerns, and helps explain the massive difficulties in achieving change. It also reveals that psychological and organizational expertise tends to be supply-pushed rather than demand-pulled into the community. This may help explain why many working in this field fail to practice the user-centred approaches that we preach.
Social and Psychological Aspects of Computer-Aided Design Systems BIBA 267-275
  Svante Hovmark; Margareta Norell
A study was performed among design employees in three large companies to investigate the psychosocial effects of computer-aided design (CAD) work. The study included all technical employees of the departments selected, of whom about two-thirds worked with CAD systems. The results demonstrate that 90% of the CAD users have a positive attitude to CAD-work. No significant differences were found between CAD users and non-CAD users in terms of work load, autonomy, social support, job satisfaction, personal development, or degree of co-operation. Within the group of CAD users, those spending a larger number of weekly working hours with the CAD system reported lower work complexity, lower autonomy of work methods, and less job satisfaction. CAD users with a relatively higher number of years of CAD experience reported a greater work load, fewer CAD difficulties, and lower autonomy of work methods. Among draftspersons and designers, there were no significant differences in work activities between CAD users and non-CAD users.
Social Isolation and Integration in Electronic Environments BIBA 276-283
  Lilas H. Taha; Barrett S. Caldwell
This paper examines the role of communications technology advances in affecting social interactions in groups and organizations. A discussion of the functions of communication and contact leads to the development of the concept of the 'electronic environment'. Past research identifies issues of a person's need for contact and the costs and benefits of contact in computer-mediated or other electronic communications media. In this paper, these issues focus on social isolation, integration, and feedback between group members as vital aspects of effective group interaction. Understanding of these aspects is presented as a key to appreciating the influence of communications media on organizational and social behaviour. Although the initial focus of this paper is on interactions between individuals within a group, applications are also discussed regarding interactions between groups, or between individuals and others outside the primary group. Examinations of the implications of the concept of electronic environments includes directions for future development and integration of research perspectives.

Users with 'Attitude'

Computer User Training and Attitudes: A Study of Business Undergraduates BIBAK 284-292
  Gholamreza Torkzadeh; Xenophon Koufteros
For many users, the first real encounter with a computer occurs when taking an introductory course to computers at a college. To the extent that these training courses impact user understanding and motivation, they are important determinants of the user attitudes towards computers and merit serious assessment. Using 327 business undergraduates at two universities in the US, this paper reports on the reactions of students to computers and computer-related tasks before and after an introductory course to computers. Responses to a 20-item scale were analyzed to examine the pattern of attitude change experienced by students in their training course. Factor analysis revealed five constructs for describing patterns of computer user attitude: negative reaction to computers; positive reaction to computers; reaction to computers for children education, reaction to computer-mediated services; and reaction to computer games. Four factors show significant change in mean scores after the training courses. The attitudes changed for males more than females, indicating improvement in attitudes. The respondents' attitude to computer-mediated services remained unchanged. While the directions of changes indicate an overall improvement in respondents' reactions, many attitudes did not change significantly after having taken the training courses. This may be due to the content or the format of these courses.
Keywords: Computer training, Computer user attitudes
Effects of Hedonic Components and User's Gender on the Acceptance of Screen-Based Information Services BIBA 293-303
  Norbert Mundorf; Stu Westin; Nikhilesh Dholakia
To compete successfully with other information media, screen-based information services would have to offer hedonic qualities that appeal to a wide range of users, men as well as women. To study effects of hedonic components of information services, a software simulation of an interactive service was designed. In an experiment, 59 female and 73 male subjects were exposed to this software simulation. Hedonic features (presence or absence of colour, graphics, and music) of the simulated information service were factorially varied to form eight unique treatment configurations. Music and colour were shown to affect level of enjoyment and intention to use the service. The effects varied according to gender: females showed greater intention to use the service than did males. Males showed greater preference for the colour version. These findings provide some basic design guidelines for information service marketers and point to the need for future research-based exploration of this area.
Expertise Transfer, Knowledge Elicitation, and Delayed Recall in a Design Context BIBAK 304-314
  Nathalie Bonnardel
This paper describes a new method for knowledge elicitation that may contribute to effective expertise transfer from human experts to knowledge-based systems. The method was applied to knowledge transfer in an aerospace design context. Knowledge was transferred directly from an expert designer to both expert and novice "receivers" of information. Transfer occurred in a natural way, without intervention from a knowledge engineer. To evaluate the process, the information receivers were required to recall the transmitted knowledge after a seven week delay. Results suggest that this method can be effective for expertise transfer and can indicate desirable characteristics for knowledge-based systems which aim to be adaptable to users' differing levels of competence.
Keywords: Knowledge elicitation, Expertise transfer, Delayed recall

BIT 1993 Volume 12 Issue 6

Editorial BIB i-ii
  Tom Stewart
The History and Future of Direct Manipulation BIBA 315-329
  David M. Frohlich
The earliest interactive computer systems were based on a conversational mode of interaction in which user and computer communicated through the exchange of linguistic utterances. Since the advent of 'direct manipulation' technology there has been a tendency to develop and promote an alternative mode of interaction, based on the user's manipulation of computer-displayed objects. This paper reviews recent developments in the implementation and understanding of direct manipulation interfaces. These point to various limitations in manipulative interaction which might be overcome through the selective reintroduction of conversational interaction. A new philosophy of graceful interaction is suggested to accommodate these developments in which directness is said to be a property of both action and language based systems. A number of practical guidelines are offered to reduce the incidence of clumsy manipulation.
Short Term Memory Demands in Processing Synthetic Speech by Old and Young Adults BIBA 330-335
  Janan Al-Awar Smither
This experiment investigated the demands synthetic speech places on short term memory by comparing performance of old and young adults on an ordinary short term memory task. Items presented were generated by a human speaker or by a computer based text-to-speech synthesizer. Results were consistent with the idea that the comprehension of synthetic speech imposes increased resource demands on the short term memory system. Older subjects performed significantly more poorly than younger subjects, and both groups performed more poorly with synthetic than with human speech. Findings suggest that short term memory demands imposed by the processing of synthetic speech should be investigated further, particularly regarding the implementation of voice response systems in devices for the elderly.
Future Assessment by Metaphors BIBA 336-345
  August Tepper
Technology assessment is confronted with a dilemma. On the one hand it needs a reliable basis for its predictions. Quite often this basis is delivered when prototypes of a new technology can be studied, but often technology assessment is started after a product has been placed on the market. At this time all the data are available, but very little can be changed and improved. Analyzing the paradigms and metaphors used as orientation in the early stages of research and development is one approach for dealing with this problem. Technology assessment can use the resulting analyses to derive certain properties of a new technology and for an evaluation of impacts.
Nine- to Fourteen-Year-Old Children's Conception of Computers Using Drawings BIBA 346-358
  Pearl Denham
This paper deals with one of several methods which were used to investigate the existence, nature and factors influencing a child's (9-14 years) conception of a computer system. Drawings by subjects as a method of data collection is introduced and discussed. Three empirical studies are described which examine the child's model in terms of its components, conduits and causal effect. The factors of age and experience are highlighted as is the discovery that task orientation led to the implication that no single mental model exists.
External Power Frequency Magnetic Field-Induced Jitter on Computer Monitors BIBAK 359-363
  Monica Sandstrom; Kjell Hansson Mild; Mattias Sandstrom; Andre Berglund
Power frequency magnetic fields with flux densities greater than 0.5 µT are not uncommon in offices. This level has been shown to induce jitter on VDT monitors. In the present project, these magnetic field-induced disturbances have been studied in the laboratory in order to establish a firm technical basis for future studies of the disturbance's influence on eye strain in VDT workers. Eight volunteers judged the occurrence of distortion when an applied external magnetic field was varied both in amplitude and frequency for 8 investigated VDT screens. The level of the external 50 Hz magnetic field when the distortion was detectable ranged from 0.6 to 1.1 µT. If the screen was viewed through a stereomicroscope (25 x magnification), the corresponding level was in the order of 0.2 µT. If the frequency difference between the external magnetic field and the refresh rate of the screen is only ±1-2 Hz, the disturbance is noticeable at even lower flux densities.
Keywords: Jitter, Magnetic field, VDT