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Behaviour and Information Technology 14

Editors:Tom Stewart
Publisher:Taylor & Francis, Ltd.
Standard No:ISSN 0144-929X
Links:Table of Contents
  1. BIT 1995 Volume 14 Issue 1
  2. BIT 1995 Volume 14 Issue 2
  3. BIT 1995 Volume 14 Issue 3
  4. BIT 1995 Volume 14 Issue 4
  5. BIT 1995 Volume 14 Issue 5
  6. BIT 1995 Volume 14 Issue 6

BIT 1995 Volume 14 Issue 1

Editorial BIB 1-2
  Tom Stewart

There's More to Text and Pictures than Meets the Eye

The Retrieval of Images from Image Databases: Trademarks BIBA 3-13
  Thomas Whalen; Eric S. Lee; Frank Safayeni
This paper focuses on the problem of information retrieval from databases containing images rather than text. We propose an error-tolerant alternative to menus and keywords -- the feature-matching approach -- in which users describe what they want to retrieve in response to a set of queries. The system matches the user's description with descriptions of images already in the database. Database images are then presented to the user in order of similarity to the user's description. The present paper serves four purposes: application of our feature-matching approach to a new image domain (trademarks); systematization of the process for developing these systems (articulation of five stages in the process of system development); specification of criteria for selecting features to maximize system performance; and introduction of concepts of power of discrimination and error tolerance to show how measures of these two factors can be used for evaluating system performance and optimizing system development. Evaluation of the system (including experiments on a small pilot database of trademarks and simulations of large databases) show the proposed set of 150 features would, without modification, be capable of handling expansion of the database to over 50000 trademarks while still retrieving the target within the first 10 items on average. Analysis suggested several changes that should further improve the feature set.
A Comparison of Mouse and Speech Input Control of a Text-Annotation System BIBA 14-22
  M. M. Bekker; F. L. Van Nes; J. F. Juola
An experiment was designed to determine whether speech input is a valuable alternative or addition to manual input. Subjects used both speech and mouse input for control purposes in a document-annotation system. Speech recognition was realized by a speaker-dependent speech-recognition board. In separate sessions, subjects used either a mouse or speech interface, and comparisons were made between the two media in performance speed, number of commands, and number of errors. In a third session, subjects were free to use either input medium, and measures included both objective (usage) and subjective (questionnaire) preferences for the two media. The main results were that: (1) 9 out of 24 subjects used speech more than the mouse when they were free to use both; (2) 21% of the subjects preferred speech control, because it allowed other devices to be operated manually; and (3) 37% of the subjects preferred to control the system with both input devices available. Speech can be a valuable addition to other input media enabling users to adapt their choice of media to specific task situations.

Not Everyone Loves their Computer

Occupational Differences in Computer-Related Anxiety: Implications for the Implementation of a Computerized Patient Management Information System BIBA 23-31
  R. D. Henderson; F. P. Deane; M. J. Ward
The present investigation was concerned with the implementation of an information system within a health care setting. A large number of staff required training on a new patient management information system (MIS). The aim of this study was to assess occupational differences on a number of psychological variables associated with MIS success. Computer anxiety was of primary concern due to its relationship to avoidance of computers. A total of 175 questionnaires were distributed, with 103 questionnaires being completed and returned for analysis (61.1%). It was found that clerical/administrative staff had significantly higher self-efficacy regarding computer use and more experience with computers. The nursing group experienced significantly more, computer anxiety, negative attitudes, and negative expectations than the clerical group. Self-efficacy was found to be the best predictor of computer related anxiety. The results have implications for MIS implementation strategies particularly in the areas of training and resource allocation.
Effect of Job Demands and Social Support on Worker Stress: A Study of VDT Users BIBA 32-40
  Chien-Lin Yang; Pascale Carayon
This study examined the effect of job demands (quantitative workload and computer-related problems) and social support (supervisor and co-worker support) on stress of VDT users. A survey questionnaire was administered to employees of three public service organizations. Two-hundred and sixty-two office workers participated in this study. Results showed that job demands (quantitative workload and computer-related problems) had a direct effect on psychological complaints of VDT users. On the other hand, co-worker support did not affect worker stress. Supervisor support was a buffer against worker stress both in the low and high job demands conditions. However, supervisor support did not have any interactive buffering effect on the relationship between job demands and worker stress.

Dialogue Design-Tools and Techniques

Dialogue Modelling of Graphical User Interfaces with a Production System BIBA 41-55
  Martin B. Curry; Andrew F. Monk
In systems development it is essential for a piece of software to be able effectively to incorporate the requirements of the particular task domain that it is intended to address. This paper describes an approach that uses dialogue modelling to carry the requirements derived from task analysis through to the implementation phase of development. A notation based on production systems is used to develop an abstract specification of user and system behaviour which can subsequently be used as the basis for the implementation. The requirements for a computer-based tool are also discussed, with particular attention being given to ways in which the communication and reasoning about such a dialogue design can be supported.
Programmable Applications: Exploring the Potential for Language/Interface Symbiosis BIBA 56-66
  Michael Eisenberg
Programmable applications are software systems that seek to combine the learnability and accessibility of direct manipulation interfaces with the expressive power and range of programming languages. In this paper we explore techniques for creatively integrating language and interface constructs within programmable applications. Using SchemePaint -- a programmable graphics application -- as a source of examples, we demonstrate how an interface and language can combine symbiotically and thereby provide powerful modes of expression within applications.

BIT 1995 Volume 14 Issue 2

Editorial BIB 67-68
  Tom Stewart

Context and Metaphors -- Gurus to the Rescue

Multiple Multimodal Mentors: Delivering Computer-Based Instruction via Specialized Anthropomorphic Advisors BIBA 69-79
  Sherman R. Alpert; Mark K. Singley; John M. Carroll
We describe the Smalltalk Gurus, components of the MoleHill intelligent tutoring system for Smalltalk programming. The Gurus offer help on plans for achieving goals in the Smalltalk environment, as well as remediation for students' incorrect and less-than-optimal plans. The Gurus' assistance is provided via the multimodal media of animation and voice-over audio. MoleHill employs multiple Gurus to deliver advice and instruction concerning disparate information domains, thus facilitating learners' cognitive organization and assimilation of new knowledge and information. We have labelled the approach instantiated by the Smalltalk Gurus the guru instructional model, one which is generally applicable to computer-based advisory systems.

Context or Contexts?

Breakdowns in Writing Intentions when Simultaneously Deploying SGML-Marked Texts in Hard Copy and Electronic Copy BIBA 80-92
  D. G. Hendry
Many writers of technical documentation must consider two different presentation media, namely traditional printed books and electronic forms. This appears to be a long-term situation, not a transitional phase: for some reading tasks, hard copy will be preferred, but for others, electronic copy will be preferred. In some settings, it is thus necessary to prepare material that is of high quality in both media, often with the constraint that a single source file be used. The problem is to specify the structure of a text so that whether it is printed or deployed electronically, neither version contains textual problems caused by its dual role. Several examples are presented to show how a writer's structuring intentions can be effective in hard copy but not in electronic copy. The difficulty of preserving structuring intentions in both media stems from declarative markup languages that are rhetorically impoverished. While standard markup languages can be used to specify what text elements comprise a text, they cannot be used to specify the intended roles of the text elements. To preserve structuring intentions, it is proposed that a rhetorical markup language is needed. Two potential advantages of such a language are improved media-transferability and improved visibility of text structure.
The Influence of Design Decisions on the Usability of Direct Manipulation User Interfaces BIBA 93-106
  Klaus Kunkel; Maria Bannert; Peter W. Fach
It is assumed that the usability of direct manipulation user interfaces is influenced by a number of design aspects. In this experimental study, the order of command specification and the type of function activation were manipulated in a 2 x 2 factorial design, in order to test hypotheses H1, that object-function specification contributes more to usability than function-object specification; and H2, that the type of function activation (clicking vs. dragging) will influence the usability of direct manipulation user interfaces. Sixty-four subjects, balanced by sex, without computer experience, were assigned randomly to the four experimental conditions. The dependent variables include performance data such as time, efficiency and error rates (logfile-recording), and subjective user rating of the user interface (questionnaire). Whereas H1 had to be rejected in this general form, a more elaborated analysis showed significant differences between the factor levels in terms of performance time and syntactically correct actions. Furthermore, the results of the study demonstrated evidence for H2.

The Downside of Context

Issues in Training Older Adults to Use Computers BIBA 107-120
  Catherine L. Kelley; Neil Charness
Given the aging of the workforce and the general population, it is important to determine how best to train older adults to use computers. Generally, research has shown that training takes significantly more time for older adults compared with younger learners, and that older adults commit more errors in post-training evaluations. This paper reviews research demonstrating age differences in learning to use a computer. We also explore the effects of attitudes, anxiety, and cognitive abilities on computer use, as well as research on training novices to use computers. Finally, we discuss designing the human computer interface for the advantage of older users.
Design and Validation of Knowledge Acquisition Tools in a Business Domain BIBA 121-131
  George Valiris; Lambros Laios
This paper presents an approach for the design and the validation of a prototype knowledge acquisition tool in the domain of business planning. Results from previous work in the area of problem-solving in business domain indicate that there are wide differences in both the ways problems are represented, and solution strategies are selected. These differences can have a significant effect on the suitability of knowledge acquisition techniques. The knowledge acquisition tool has been designed to accommodate these differences. Problem decomposition and simplification techniques are employed by the tool in order to elicit the appropriate information for managerial decision making. The prototype tool has been validated in the field with 35 managers using ten test scenarios. The results of the validation process are presented, and implications for the design of such tools in business domain are discussed.

BIT 1995 Volume 14 Issue 3

Editorial BIB 133-134
  Tom Stewart

Presentation -- Room for Improvement

A Comparison of Display Methods for Spatial Point Layout BIBA 135-142
  David Leiser; Yoella Bereby; Avraham Melkman
A series of six experiments compared several approaches to displaying 3D point information on a CRT screen. The methods used included perspective, motion, stereo, and numeric information, in various combinations. Measures included error rate and reaction times on three tasks, which all involved deciding whether a given configuration of dots exhibits a given property (collinearity, coplanarity, acute angle). Stereo proved to be the best method, being both faster and more accurate than the others. Simply presenting two perspective views is also effective, yet adding azimuthal motion under the subject's control is better on the most demanding task (coplanarity detection), while digital height information combined with a traditional top view (PPI) is slow, and especially inaccurate for coplanarity detection. Finally, the worst methods are the rotational interactive displays. Accuracy does not improve, whereas reaction times are considerably slower.

Consistency and Negotiation

Negotiability: A Metafunction to Tailor Access to Data in Groupware BIBA 143-151
  Volker Wulf
Functions which control access to data in groupware should be designed flexibly by offering different options to end users. However, conflicts might arise among different end users in the process of selecting one of these options. To support users in finding a consensual solution for these conflicts, we propose a metafunction called 'negotiability'. We propose to define and explore the concept of 'negotiability', and discuss its application to access control, concurrency control, and consistency control. We assume that negotiability can play an important role in tailoring these mechanisms and supporting a co-operative use of system's flexibility.

Matching Complex Tasks -- A Major Challenge

The Effect of a Database Feedback System on User Performance BIBA 152-162
  Hock Chuan Chan; Kwok Kee Wei; Keng Leng Siau
There are two main approaches to improving the effectiveness of database interfaces. One is to raise the level of abstraction for the content of the user-database interaction. The relational model belonging to the logical level has replaced the hierarchical and network models that belong to the lower physical level. It is likely that the relational model will eventually be replaced by models belonging to the even higher conceptual level, such as entity relationship models and object-oriented models. The second approach is to enhance the actual interaction process. This can be done by providing better feedback to the user. Feedback can be in the form of more comprehensible error messages, and the provision of a natural language interpretation of user's query. Such a feedback system was developed, and its effectiveness tested in an experiment. The results showed that the feedback system enhanced user performance greatly. Specifically, users who used the feedback system were 12.9% more accurate than those without the feedback system. They were also 41.2% more confident of their answers, and they took 29.0% less time than those without the feedback system.
A Structural Equation Model of Job Performance using a Computer-Based Order Entry System BIBA 163-173
  John W. Henry; Robert W. Stone
The research uses a structural equation model with latent variables to examine the role of computer self-efficacy and outcome expectancy in impacting job performance. Constructs measuring management support, ease of system use, and the previous computer experience of the user are used as antecedents to computer self-efficacy and outcome expectancy. The empirical results are generated using 524 responses to a questionnaire administered in a large hospital in the southeastern United States regarding its computer-based order entry system. These results provide empirical support for the theoretical role of computer self-efficacy and outcome expectancy positively impacting job performance. Further, the antecedents were found to have the expected positive impacts on computer self-efficacy and outcome expectancy.
Impact of Cognitive Abilities of Experts on the Effectiveness of Elicited Knowledge BIBA 174-182
  Chin-Jung Chao; Gavriel Salvendy
This paper addresses the possible relation of cognitive abilities of experts on the effectiveness of acquired knowledge for three different tasks (diagnosis, debugging and interpretation) and four different methods of knowledge elicitation (interview, protocol, induction and repertory grid). Based on task analysis and the analysis of method of knowledge elicitation, ten cognitive abilities have been identified. Experimental data indicate that the cognitive abilities of experts affect significantly the effectiveness of the elicited data and the percentage of total knowledge acquired.

Case Study

Network Politics in an Educational Organization BIBA 183-195
  Julie Ann Wambach
The electronic mail (EM) network in a large, multi-campus community college district was used by some employees to gain support for positions contrary to those of the leadership. The case study offered an opportunity to look at technology within an organizational setting. It raised questions about the loose coupling of the educational organization's technical and authority systems, about the strength of coupling among employee groups during the incident, about the boundaries of the EM political activists, and about the power manifested within educational organization's technical and authority systems. A variety of research methods (stages of event progression, fantasy types associated with consciousness-building, and evidence of user technical and rhetorical skills) were used to answer questions about the organization's loosely coupled systems during the EM political incident. Notes were taken of conversations and more formal interviews. From this the technical and authority systems of the institution were described and compared. Results indicated that (1) the loose coupling of the technical and the authority systems made the EM political incident possible; (2) employees were more tightly coupled on organizational goals and more loosely coupled on organizational means; (3) political activists did not make full use of the EM's political medium potential; and (4) when the college district's administration refused to limit anyone's use of the EM network, they reinforced the integrity of both the authority and the technical systems.
   Implications included: (1) the potential of some of the research methods for EM study, especially fantasy theme analysis; (2) a political interpretation of EM language, especially flaming; (3) the importance of technical and rhetorical skills for mature EM users; and (4) the role of the authority and technical systems in the debate about appropriate EM network use within an organization.

BIT 1995 Volume 14 Issue 4

Editorial BIB 197-198
  Tom Stewart

It's All about Choice

Appropriateness of Communications Media Use in Organizations: Situation Requirements and Media Characteristics BIBA 199-207
  Barrett S. Caldwell; Shiaw-Tsyr Uang; Lilas H. Taha
The purpose of this paper is to examine media use in organizations as affected by situation requirements and media characteristics. This paper discusses the strength of four existing models describing communications media use in individuals and organizations. The paper also presents research which evaluated interactions of multiple situation variables affecting communications media appropriateness in a survey population. Participants rated the acceptability of each of twelve communications media in each of eight hypothetical organizational situations. Situations varied based on high or low levels of three factors: message urgency, amount of message content, and distance between communicators. Results indicated (1) situations have unique and significant contributions to media appropriateness; (2) appropriateness of media usage depends on the match between situation requirements and media characteristics, and (3) situation effects are more salient in some 'situation-dependent' media. Another survey of 1072 voice mail users confirmed the validity and reliability of these results.
Graphical versus Character-Based Word Processors: An Analysis of User Performance BIBA 208-214
  Gery d'Ydewalle; Jurgen Leemans; Johan Van Rensbergen
The study investigates how experienced computer users take advantage of the availability of graphic user interfaces in a word processing task. Performance time and actions were compared in three groups of subjects working respectively with WordPerfect 5.1, WordPerfect for Windows, or WordPerfect V2.00 for the Macintosh. The three groups did not differ in efficiency: they performed the word processing task at the same speed. Very few WordPerfect 5.1 users worked with the pull-down menus; the great majority preferred using the function key shortcuts. No significant difference in menu use was noted between the two graphical user interface word processors (Windows and Macintosh). Windows users did not apply shortcuts to move text, but used menus or the button bar instead. There was no difference in the use of the mouse between the Windows and Macintosh groups. While better task satisfaction is often reported with the availability of graphical user interfaces, our findings are in agreement with other studies suggesting that experienced users don't perform more efficiently with such a computer environment.
Discretionary Use of Personal Computers by Knowledge Workers: Testing of a Social Psychology Theoretical Model BIBA 215-228
  Guy Pare; Joyce J. Elam
Understanding the discretionary use of computers by knowledge workers has been a central issue of information systems research. However, previous research has reflected a limited theoretical perspective and has overlooked important theories from other reference disciplines. This lack of theoretical foundation might provide a potential explanation for the mixed empirical support that has been found. To identify the factors which condition the discretionary use of computers, this research utilizes a well-accepted theoretical framework from the field of social psychology (Triandis 1971; 1977, 1980). Responses were obtained from 355 faculty members of a Southeastern US university, and data analysis was performed using bivariate as well as traditional and second generation multivariate techniques. The results obtained from this study confirm that Triandis' theory of behaviour should be applied for understanding and explaining computer usage behaviour in a voluntary environment. Interestingly, it was found that personal factors have a more important influence on behaviour than social or environmental factors in such context.
Anthropocentrism and Computers BIBA 229-238
  Clifford I. Nass; Matthew Lombard; Lisa Henriksen; Jonathan Steuer
This paper introduces the multi-dimensional concept of anthropocentrism with respect to computers, the tendency to believe that (1) computers do not possess human physical and psychological capabilities; and (2) it is not acceptable for computers to fill routinized (e.g., auto mechanic), interpretive (e.g., newspaper reporter), and personal (e.g., baby sitter) roles traditionally held only by people. A mail survey (n=133) of individuals in Northern California focuses on individual differences rather than differences between technologies. As suggested by the literature on ethnocentrism, experience with other cultures and education are strong predictors of the dimensions of anthropocentrism; surprisingly, experience with computers fails as a predictor.

Meaningful Metaphors

Spatial Metaphors and Disorientation in Hypertext Browsing BIBA 239-250
  Hanhwe Kim; Stephen C. Hirtle
The spatial metaphor can be used as a framework for explaining and designing tools that alleviate disorientation problems in hypertext systems. The approach based on this metaphor would involve developing tools analogous to navigational aids in physical environments and applying analogous concepts from research on human spatial processing and navigation in physical spaces. Research on hypertext browsing with respect to the spatial metaphor is reviewed and contrasted with the larger task context where users are trying to explore, learn, analyse, and summarize the contents of the hypertext space.
The Cockpit Metaphor BIBA 251-263
  Lynne Colgan; Robert Spence; Paul Rankin
Engineering design is increasingly being supported by automatic procedures capable of improving a design but which, nevertheless, require human guidance if they are to be successful. Such guidance requires an effective interface. One such interface, recently implemented within a complex engineering design tool, is based upon the Cockpit Metaphor which is the subject of this paper. The metaphor was invented by domain experts and a psychologist, not in response to a commission but as an innovative statement of a fruitful path which future engineering design tools might follow. This paper describes the context of the Cockpit Metaphor, the requirements influencing its incorporation in the Cockpit interface, the evaluations carried out, and the research issues raised.

BIT 1995 Volume 14 Issue 5

Editorial BIB 265-266
  Tom Stewart
Live, Audio-Visual Communication Systems for Distance Learning: Experience, Heuristics, and ISDN BIBA 267-288
  Martin Colhert; Catherine Voglimacci; Anthony Finkelstein
This paper collates some of the experience of managers, tutors, and learners who have used live, audio-visual communication systems for distance learning. Eight heuristics are abstracted from this experience and used to reason about how digital communications could make one such system more effective. The heuristics are: (i) encourage other (non-training) uses for the communications network; (ii) encourage the participation of otherwise unavailable experts; (iii) exploit visual images, both to communicate information and to support information presented verbally; (iv) avoid technology-induced, inequable opportunity for learning; (v) encourage analogies with face-to-face learning modes, rather than conventional television and home video; (vi) help users to find out about other participants and what they are able to see and hear; (vii) actively encourage interaction; and (viii) reassure tutors that the apparent intrusiveness of the technology is just an initial impression.
Excellent Software Professionals: Experience, Work Activities, and Perception by Peers BIBA 289-299
  Sabine Sonnentag
This paper reports findings of a field study examining expertise in 29 software development projects. Using a peer nomination method, 33 out of 200 subjects were characterized as excellent software professionals. Excellent software professionals are described as having high technical and computational knowledge, a high level of social skills, and as using a method-oriented working style. They have a broader, not longer professional experience than do their colleagues. Excellent and average software professionals do not differ with respect to time spent on typical software development activities such as design, coding, or testing, but excellent software professionals are more often engaged in review meetings and consultations than are other team members.
Response Effects and Computer-Administered Questionnaires: The Role of the Entry Task and Previous Computer Experience BIBA 300-312
  Gregory R. Bratton; Peter R. Newsted
In a field experiment at a tourist attraction, a between-subjects design was used to compare paper-and-pencil survey responses against those collected from two computer-administered questionnaire (CAQ) packages; one using a cursor movement answering protocol, and the second using number pad entry. Three response effects were identified for the groups completing computerized questionnaires: an increase in the range of responses to scale questions, a tendency to select only one choice in answering multiple response questions, and longer answers to open-ended questions. Response effects were shown to be as much a function of the specific computer entry task, as the computerized interviewing situation in general. This finding suggests that computer-collected data should not be compared with data from other methodologies or even different questionnaire software without qualification. Respondent's previous computer experience was shown to have a marginal effect on the size of response effects, and only for the cursor movement protocol. Those with more computer experience completed both computerized questionnaires slightly faster than those with less computer experience.
Age and Cognitive Ability as Predictors of Computerized Information Retrieval BIBA 313-326
  S. J. Westerman; D. R. Davies; A. I. Glendon; R. B. Stammers; G. Matthews
This paper presents an empirical investigation of age and cognitive ability as predictors of computerized information retrieval. Upon the basis of age-related changes in cognitive ability, hypotheses were generated relating to the effects of database structure (linear, hierarchical, or network) and node selection method (explicit or embedded menu). In keeping with previous research in other areas of human-computer interaction, there was a significant main effect of age, with older subjects performing more slowly. However, interactive effects of 'question block' indicated that older subjects were at a particular disadvantage in the early stages of task performance. Age differences in processing speed and/or psychomotor skill appeared to be a particularly important factor. Whilst the effects of cognitive ability were generally weak, spatial memory and logical reasoning scores were negatively correlated with information retrieval response times. Although interactions were not significant, trends in the data for all dependent measures suggested that older subjects may be at a disadvantage when using a network structure.

BIT 1995 Volume 14 Issue 6

Editorial BIB 327-328
  Tom Stewart
Individual and Organizational Influences on Voice Mail Use and Evaluation BIBA 329-341
  Ronald E. Rice; Joyce Tyler
This study develops and tests a simple model predicting influences on use of voice mail, and influences of voice mail use on later system evaluations. Data were collected in two organisations, using self-report and system-monitored usage measures. The study makes distinctions between individual and organizational innovativeness, communication-based and location-based group interdependence, overall and intentional voice mail usage, and generic and specific appropriateness of voice mail. Results were quite similar across the two organizations. Individual innovativeness had no influence, but organizational conservativeness had a positive influence on system usage, possibly for less innovative uses of voice mail as voice answering rather than as a voice messaging. Task analysability had a small positive influence on usage. Group location interdependency had perhaps the most consistent influence on voice mail usage. Greater intentional self-reported use of voice mail for voice messaging, rather than simple monitored and self-reported amount of usage, had somewhat of a greater influence on system evaluations. Individual and organizational variables had no significant influence system evaluations, controlling for the influence of usage. The discussion provides some suggestions for models of new organizational media use in organizations.
Comprehending User Behaviour Using Psycholinguistics BIBA 342-357
  Edwin Bos
This article explores the use of psycholinguistics in attempting to comprehend user behaviour. It aims at getting an idea of what cognitive processes underlie the generation and interpretation of interactions with computers. The key claim of the article is that the cognitive processes underlying artificial language processing in human computer interaction are analogous to the ones underlying natural language processing in inter-human communication. The article presents a tentative model of the user's cognitive processes. The model generates interesting hypotheses and provides possible explanations of interaction phenomena.
Private Camera Conversation: A New Method for Eliciting User Responses? BIBA 358-360
  Govert de Vries; Mark Hartevelt; Ron Oosterholt
This paper discusses a new method called Private Camera Conversation. This method can be used to elicit user opinions on various subjects like their use of products. Initial impressions of the method are given on the basis of three small studies in which the method was employed. The method has not yet been validated and compared with existing human factors methods. This study reports the first findings of the application of the method. With Private Camera Conversation people are invited to talk about a particular topic in private to a video camera. The participants themselves decide when they want to start and when they want to stop the recording session. Initial impressions are that the method has potential benefits for eliciting rich and useful responses even with respect to 'personal' issues. The Private Camera Conversation method seems particularly suitable for obtaining information about the social context in which products are used and about qualitative aspects of product use. The method is inviting and entertaining for participants and easy and effective to carry out. Optimal exploitation of the method has to be realized through further development. We hope this article will be a catalyst for further research.
The Singapore Government's Role in National Computerization Efforts BIBA 361-369
  James Ang; P. H. Soh
This paper examines the role of the Singapore Government in Singapore's computerization efforts. In restructuring Singapore's economy and sharpening its competitive edge, information technology (IT) is singled out as one of the economic boosting engines whose dynamic, innovative role will change the economic and social fabric of society leading to a better quality of life for Singaporeans. The government and its agencies have deliberately intervened in the IT diffusion process through proactive IT policies, effective regulations and implementation. The national computerization plans, namely, the National IT Plan and the IT2000 Report, contain a set of IT strategic initiatives. Although the socioeconomic conditions and the cultural factors do have a significant influence on the IT diffusion process, an understanding of roles different institutions play and the various institutional policies will provide a better assessment of the impacts of IT on Singapore's information economy.
Theoretical Upper and Lower Bounds on Typing Speed using a Stylus and a Soft Keyboard BIBA 370-379
  R. William Soukoreff; I. Scott MacKenzie
A theoretical model is presented to predict upper- and lower-bound text-entry rates using a stylus to tap on a soft QWERTY keyboard. The model is based on the Hick-Hyman law for choice reaction time, Fitts' law for rapid aimed movements, and linguistic tables for the relative frequencies of letter-pairs, or digrams, in common English. The model's importance lies not only in the predictions provided, but in its characterization of text-entry tasks using keyboards. Whereas previous studies only use frequency probabilities of the 26 x 26 digrams in the Roman alphabet, our model accommodates the space bar -- the most common character in typing tasks. Using a very large linguistic table that decomposes digrams by position-within-words, we established start-of-word (space-letter) and end-of-word (letter-space) probabilities and worked from a 27 x 27 digram table. The model predicts a typing rate of 8.9wpm for novices unfamiliar with the QWERTY keyboard, and 30.1 wpm for experts. Comparisons are drawn with empirical studies using a stylus and other forms of text entry.