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Behaviour and Information Technology 19

Editors:Tom Stewart
Publisher:Taylor & Francis, Ltd.
Standard No:ISSN 0144-929X
Links:Table of Contents
  1. BIT 2000 Volume 19 Issue 1
  2. BIT 2000 Volume 19 Issue 2
  3. BIT 2000 Volume 19 Issue 3
  4. BIT 2000 Volume 19 Issue 4
  5. BIT 2000 Volume 19 Issue 5
  6. BIT 2000 Volume 19 Issue 6

BIT 2000 Volume 19 Issue 1

A Theoretical Framework and Empirical Examination of the Effects of Foreign and Translated Interface Language BIBA 1-13
  Noam Tractinsky
Given the increased globalization and popularization of computer applications, translating a system's human interface into the local language has become a major consideration for software vendors and distributors. In this paper, we suggest a theoretical framework for the study of user interface translation. The framework includes recognizing vendors' and users' costs of, and benefits from, software translation. An experiment was conducted, based on this framework, to test user performance and preferences regarding interface translations. The experiment manipulated the translation of two interface components: documentation language and manipulation language. The results indicate that users are sensitive to different combinations of interface translation in a way that is commensurate with the instruction-following process (Terwilliger and Polson 1997). Users performed best when a fully translated interface was used and worst when only the manipulation language was translated. Users' preferences were in line with their performance, indicating that a cost benefit approach can serve as a promising starting point to the study of interface translation.
Understanding the Roles of Signs and Norms in Organizations -- A Semiotic Approach to Information Systems Design BIBA 15-27
  Ronald Stamper; Kecheng Liu; Mark Hafkamp; Yasser Ades
To apply semiotics to organizational analysis and information systems design, it is essential to unite two basic concepts: the sign and the norm. A sign is anything that stands for something else for some community. A norm is a generalized disposition to the world shared by members of a community. When its condition is met, a norm generates a propositional attitude which may, but not necessarily will, affect the subject's behaviour. Norms reflect regularities in the behaviour of members in an organization, allowing them to coordinate their actions. Organized behaviour is norm-governed behaviour. Signs trigger the norms leading to more signs being produced. Both signs and norms lend themselves to empirical study. The focus in this paper is on the properties of norms since those for signs are relatively well known. The paper discusses a number of different taxonomies of norms: formal, informal, technical; evaluative, perceptual, behavioural, cognitive; structure, action; substantive, communication and control. A semiotic analysis of information systems is adduced in this paper from the social, pragmatic, semantic, syntactic, empiric and physical perspectives. The paper finally presents a semiotic approach to information systems design, by discussing the method of information modelling and systems architecture. This approach shows advantages over other traditional ones in a higher degree of separation of knowledge, and hence in the consistency, integrity and maintainability of systems.
Prioritizing Usability Problems: Data-Driven and Judgement-Driven Severity Estimates BIBA 29-42
  Marc Hassenzahl
Software-ergonomic system analysis often reveals numerous usability problems. Given that system design suffers from limited resources, the prioritization of usability problems seems inevitable. Surprisingly enough, prioritization is not in the focus of scientific interest. Within this paper, approaches to prioritization relying on severity estimates will be presented. Two of the approaches, namely priorities based on data about the impact of a problem (data-driven) and priorities based on judgements of interest group members (judgement-driven) will be further explored. In the data-driven approach total problem-handling time caused by a usability problem is presented as a measure of severity. The major disadvantage of the data-driven approach is its costs. A possible alternative are severity estimates based on judgements by members of involved interest groups. The first of two studies shows how to obtain judgement driven severity estimates and reveals a fundamental lack of correspondence between data-driven and judgement-driven severity estimates. The second study supports the notion that the lack of correspondence may stem from a difference between assumptions of the data-driven approach and the naive judgement model of interest group members in the judgement-driven approach. A hypothetical model for severity estimates by interest group members is presented.
Model Mismatch Analysis: Towards a Deeper Explanation of Users' Usability Problems BIBA 43-55
  Alistair Sutcliffe; Michele Ryan; Ann Doubleday; Mark Springett
An evaluation method is proposed based on walkthrough analysis coupled with a taxonomic analysis of observed problems and causes of usability error. The model mismatch method identifies usability design flaws and missing requirements from user errors. The method is tested with a comparative evaluation of two information retrieval products. Different profiles of usability and requirements problems were found for the two products, even though their overall performance was similar.
The Importance of Task Analysis in Usability Context Analysis -- Designing for Fitness for Purpose BIBA 57-68
  Stella Mills
Usability Context Analysis (UCA) suggests the use of task analysis in order to characterize the user's requirements of a product. This paper shows that a task analysis is a necessary (but not sufficient) part of a usability context analysis. Further, it is argued that it is necessary to carry out the task analysis to sufficient depth to establish fitness for purpose of the product under test. In addition, the analyst should have some knowledge of the application domain so that from various task sequences, that giving the best user-product task match can be used. The paper indicates by using an example of an echosounder that discrepancies of use can be highlighted through this task-based approach to usability context analysis.
An Exploratory Investigation of the Antecedents and Impact of Internet Usage: An Individual Perspective BIBA 69-85
  Murugan Anandarajan; Claire Simmers; Magid Igbaria
Internet usage in the US workplace is increasing at a phenomenal rate. This exploratory study examines factors influencing employee internet usage and individual perceptions of the consequences of such usage. Using the Theory of Reasoned Behaviour, a questionnaire was designed and circulated to part time MBA students in north-east United States. This preliminary study suggests that the personal factors of web skills and playfulness are associated with perceived internet usefulness, the degree of internet usage, and have both positive (enhanced job characteristics, job satisfaction) and negative (increased inefficiency) impacts. Neither the personal variables of age and gender nor any of the organizational variables are important antecedent variables. To those who perceive the internet as intimidating, there was, understandably, less internet usage. Perceived usefulness was positively related to increased time of use and internet impacts. In general, the findings indicate that extending the research on microcomputers to internet usage is a promising research focus. On the basis of this study, the leadership challenge is to harness the tremendous potential of the internet, working to control and improve inefficiencies while not discouraging internet usage.
Erratum BIB 86

BIT 2000 Volume 19 Issue 2

Productivity Prediction by Extrapolation: Using Workload Memory as a Predictor of Target Performance BIBA 87-96
  Gunilla Alsio; Mikael Goldstein
In order to assess if productivity based on extrapolated data is a good predictor of longer texts, an experimental study was conducted. Two full-sized text input devices for touch typing and two miniaturized for tapping were used, all featuring QWERTY layout, in a repeated measurement design. Twenty subjects were exposed to both a task within the limit of working memory (nine words) and four running memory tasks (approx. 275 words). For miniaturized tapping keyboards, extrapolated data significantly underestimated both entry speed (uncorrected wpm, up to 17%) and character error rate (up to 61%) whereas it significantly overestimated ratio of correct words (up to 62%) of running memory tasks. Further, error-corrected entry speed was significantly overestimated up to a factor of 2.7. Results based on extrapolated productivity metrics must therefore be interpreted with caution. Running memory tasks with text length of more than 32 words is needed to assess productivity of text input devices if tapping is used.
Interacting with Infotainment Applications: Navigation Patterns and Mental Models BIBA 97-106
  Joyce H. D. M. Westerink; Betty G. M. M. Majoor; Mili Docampo Rama
This article investigates the way users interact with typical multimedia infotainment applications. The focus is on the development over time of their navigation behaviours in the information structure and their mental models of it. The experiment involved a multimedia infotainment (CD-i) title with some 150 information items. Subjects were asked to perform a series of exploration, search and drawing tasks; sessions were concluded with an interview and a reconstruction task. Objective navigational data were compared with subjective results concerning the users' mental models, using the terminology of the navigational framework of Edwards and Hardman. It was found that, after 1 hour, only 25% of the information items had been explored. Subjects use the first 20-30 minutes of explorative interaction time to discover the (local) structures in the title. They then start to observe the presentations in a more content-related way. The development of the user's mental model appears to proceed relatively steadily. The perceived distance between information elements mainly depends on the number of steps to be taken.
Influences of General Computer Experience and Age on Library Database Search Performance BIBA 107-123
  Sherry E. Mead; Richard A. Sit; Wendy A. Rogers; Brian A. Jamieson; Gabriel K. Rousseau
Two experiments examined the effects of general computer experience and age on library system search performance among novice library system users. Twenty younger adults (10 with high and 10 with low computer experience) and 20 older adults (10 with low and 10 with no computer experience) performed 10 search tasks of varying difficulty. Search success, syntax errors, database field specifications, keyword specifications, and use of Boolean operators were examined. Among younger novices, high computer experience was associated with slightly better performance than low computer experience. Among older novices, having some computer experience was associated with much better performance than no computer experience. Older computer users showed lower overall success rates, made more syntax and field specification errors, and demonstrated poorer understanding of Boolean logic and keyword matching algorithms than younger adults with similar computer experience. Implications for interface design and training interventions for novice on-line library system users are discussed.
Positive and Negative Aspects of the Work of Information Technology Personnel: An Exploratory Analysis BIBA 125-138
  Catrien C. J. H. Bijleveld; Frank Andries; Jan L. A. Van Rijckevorsel
This paper re-analyses data gathered in a 1989 research among Dutch information technology personnel. Working from Karasek's job stress model, we use exploratory multiple correspondence analyses on the aggregated data matrix of occupations and work items. We employed two models: one that emphasised the negative evaluations of job aspects, and one that emphasised positive evaluations. The structuring of positive evaluations of job aspects proved most meaningful. Occupations could be distinguished into three groups. The first and largest group is characterised by a fairly balanced degree of autonomy and workload. A second group comprised of middle management occupations is characterised by unfavourable judgement on workload, matched by insufficient autonomy; as such, employees in these occupations appear at risk of overburdening. A third group of computer specialists report a workload that is too slight given their degree of autonomy; this group appears to be at risk of underburdening.
An Ergonomics Approach for Work in the Next Millennium in an IT World BIBA 139-148
  Toni Ivergard
This article begins by giving the background to different the approaches in trying to predict what the labour market will look like in the future. Ongoing changes in the labour market are then discussed, together with their consequences in the slightly longer term. We then look at various ways in which we can steer changes in the labour market into a direction desirable to both society and the workforce. Finally, the needs for new research are reviewed, followed by some concluding remarks.

BIT 2000 Volume 19 Issue 3

Guest Editorial BIBA 151-152
  Toni Ivergard; Tomas Berns
The extreme high speed of change in the area of information technology creates a new demand for a process of continues learning and relearning in the workplaces but also among the public as a whole. There is need for a deeper crossdisciplinary and interdisciplinary understanding of the effects of this extreme demand for learning and relearning, both on us as individuals, on public and private organization and on the society as a whole. Information technology provides to some extent possible solutions to the problems it creates. Consequently, web based learning is also expanding with an accelerating speed. But this new form of learning is not to the same extent backed up by a fast growing research, in areas like on-the job-learning, workplace pedagogics, 'competence ergonomics', etc. But there are a number of very good exceptions like the Knowledge Media Institute of the Open University, and also a number of newly established facilities like the network university in the north of Sweden, the Mid Sweden University. In this special issue these types of problems are discussed, including those where the emphasis lies in creating rational and effective methods for web-based training and learning. The following was put forward in the invitation to a particular target group for this special issue.
Knowledge Architecture for the Twenty-First Century BIBA 153-161
  Prasad Kaipa
This paper begins with defining data, information, knowledge, and wisdom and proposes an architecture for managing knowledge (which is different from managing information). This architecture helps us to develop different perspectives, not just patterns and relationships. An example is presented of a group that used this approach to build a sustainability framework. The twenty-first century is going to be about creating pathways to a sustainable future. Creating a shared understanding of what data, information, knowledge, and wisdom mean to us and how they interrelate enables us to define and move along those pathways. Applying our model of knowledge architecture from a position of values, principles, and beliefs will allow us to evolve a deeper understanding of what a sustainable future could mean to us and how we can pursue it. The framework presented contains essential ingredients to be explored in building our future: 'We struggle between the 1% of what we know, 1% of what we don't know but rarely come across the 98% of what we don't know that we don't know'. (Buckminster Fuller, full details not available)
Information Technology and Knowledge-Based Business Development BIBA 163-169
  Toni Ivergard
Information technology creates a very fast increase in the demand for new skills, competencies and knowledge in all types of organisations and in society as a whole. We know how important learning and knowledge development are, but we do not understand how we should bring it about in a rational and effective way. The objective of this analysis and review is to suggest methods and ideas about how to make optimal use of the intellectual capital in companies, regardless of whether it is carried by people or by information technology. Three models for management of change are presented: (1) allocation of functions, (2) business development, (3) web based learning. Finally the concept of competence ergonomics is introduced to decrease 'learning stress'. The ergonomic design of new technology and its related tasks fit the skill, competence and learning potential of the available personnel.
Integrating Working and Enrichment Approach Learning: A Document BIBA 171-180
  Paul Mulholland; Zdenek Zdrahal; John John Domingue; Marek Hatala
Integrating working and learning is seen as a desirable alternative to traditional training regimes. An integrated approach to working and learning is more gradual, contextual, problem oriented and cost effective. Knowledge technology aims to catalyze workplace learning, but requires the right organisational culture and brings additional costs regarding the articulation, representation and transmission of knowledge. Our approach reduces these costs by making articulation a natural part of collaborative working, designing for both informal and formal knowledge, and facilitating the transition of socially situated knowledge through enriched documents. To be successful, our approach has certain prequesites concerning organisational culture, and the nature of shared documents, organisational knowledge and work activities.
Learning at Work -- A Combination of Experience Based Learning and Theoretical Education BIBA 181-188
  Katarina Paulsson; Lisa Sundin
Training and learning at work is important as employees competence has to meet organisational requirements for flexibility. This study examines conditions and obstacles in integrating a web-based course at work in order to enhance employees level of competence. Employees view of working condition, competence and how they learn at work is also of importance. A selection of 35 people was made at a company which is part of a large business. The design was quantitative with complementary qualitative data. The employees had a positive attitude towards work despite increasing difficulties in work tasks and an increasing workload, which was the greatest barrier of integrating the web-based course at work. Competence development involved a certain degree of stress, but was outweighed by the fact that it was stimulating and led to the work feeling easier. To manage work, knowledge was obtained primarily by colleagues and company courses.
Sharing Engineering Design Knowledge in a Distributed Environment BIBA 189-200
  Zdenek Zdrahal; Paul Mulholland; John Domingue; Marek Hatala
Engineering design is a complex activity, relying heavily on know-how gained from personal experience. Competitive pressures and new technology are making further demands on the skills and experience of designers, as effective knowledge reuse in design is seen as increasingly vital, and the work of design teams is often a collaborative and distributed activity. University students with a thorough knowledge of the engineering domain can be ill prepared for professional practice, with its increasing reliance on skills and know-how as well as knowledge of theory. Our approach aims to better prepare students for professional practice, through hands-on experience of design reuse, participation in distributed collaboration, and the development of presentation and documentation skills. Our case-study in the domain of modelling engineering systems, in which the course materials themselves are evolving and distributed, has ramifications for the publication model of educational materials, and the way students should be prepared for working life.
Information Technology Levels, Competence Development and Performance in Swedish Small Business Enterprises BIBA 201-210
  Stig Vinberg; Gunnar Gelin; Karl Sandberg
This paper analyses relations between leaders' and co-workers' competence, IT-levels and organizational aspects within ten small business enterprises in Sweden. Data from questionnaires and semi-structured interviews were used for statistical data analyses organized in four steps. A result is that IT-levels and change competence go together with higher levels of educational investment, and that companies with high levels on these aspects also tend to have a proneness for joining change programs. Another finding is that the higher the rate of IT in a company, the lower the incidence of musculoskeletal problems among employees. The study shows that an increase in leader change competence, a flat organization, a higher leader than co-worker change competence, and an ongoing program contribute significantly to profit per capita at the company level. The analysis model seems to give a good integration of the results, but underlying mechanisms must be dealt with in future research.
Influences of the 'Social Contract', Technology and Restructuring, and Training on the Supply and Demand for Skilled Technology Workers BIBA 211-219
  Phillip W. Payton
This article is designed to trace the forces influencing the supply and demand for 'knowledge workers'. The effects of technology and restructuring are the most important from industry's standpoint in influencing demand because industry as a whole 'does not do enough' training to help in the supply, based on the comments of experts. The incentives provided by industry through the 'social contract' with workers, as discussed, are as essential as training in affecting the supply of these workers. But because industry does not want to train unless there is a condition of payback in its investment in training, such preparation is left to the high schools and colleges. Thus school-to-work transitions are needed as an important part of what high schools and colleges should offer.
Information Technology and Learning Strategies in Small Enterprises BIBA 221-227
  Karl Sandberg; Stig Vinberg
The aim of this paper is to define and explain information technology strategic dispositions and competence development within small enterprises. Small enterprises are a heterogeneous group of firms and for that reason, a universal explanation of strategic dispositions and learning strategies makes it advisable to draw upon a diverse range of methods, practices and approaches. 'Competence ergonomics' that fosters learning, empowerment and participation offers the flexibility within which to frame this strategy description. Introduction of information technology into small enterprises is treated as being of strategic importance to the future growth and survival of a firm. Methods and theories now being used in The Swedish National Institute of Working Life's (Arbetslivsinstitutet) Balanced Information Technology Project are those described. The Project is located in the area of Ostersund, Sweden where small industries have the need to adopt information technology as a means of promoting continuing competitiveness.
Competence via the Web BIBA 229-232
  Ulf Soderberg
With the rapid growth and technical development of the internet, the interest in distributing education over the web has increased greatly during recent years. Educational systems and industry see the possibilities for more flexible and cost efficient solutions. At the same time, the internet industry is sensing a new market. The challenge lies in producing competence for the individual student through good teaching, while at the same time using technical solutions to create added value via the net. This article gives a short background to the new possibilities in distributed education over the internet, and discusses various factors for success in competence development efforts. The discussion focuses on the different aspects of educational design of web-based educational material.

BIT 2000 Volume 19 Issue 4

Organizational and Social Issues in the Use of Computer Technology

Articulating Collaboration in a Learning Community BIBA 233-246
  George, Jr. Chin; John M. Carroll
A common computer-based collaborative learning approach is to simply introduce contemporary computermediated communication technology into the classroom to support prescribed learning activities. This approach assumes that all students collaborate in similar ways and that presentday technology is sufficient to accommodate all collaboration forms. This view is superficial and limiting. Students collaborate in different ways at different levels on different learning activities. A more detailed articulation of collaboration in learning is crucial to understanding and extending the pedagogical capabilities and usefulness of collaborative technologies. A model is presented for a more finely articulated form of analysis that enumerates types of collaborative learning activities and evaluates how these activities may be supported through different design options. The analysis is based on actual classroom scenarios and the collaboration requirements that emerge from them. The authors have successfully applied this analysis model in the design of a computer-based collaborative learning environment for science education.
Sociotechnical Issues in the Implementation of Imaging Technology BIBA 247-262
  Pascale Carayon; Ben-Tzion Karsh
This study examined the implementation of imaging technology into two public sector organizations in the Midwest in the USA. The aims of the study were to analyze the impact of imaging technology on job characteristics and quality of working life, and the influence of the technological change process on employees and organizations. Quantitative and qualitative data were collected using questionnaire surveys and structured and semi-structured interviews. Results showed that imaging users reported more problems with technology and less job satisfaction than employees who were still using their 'old' computer systems. In addition, imaging users in the organization that utilized end user participation in the implementation of their imaging system rated their imaging systems better and reported higher job satisfaction than imaging users in the organization that did not incorporate end user participation in the implementation of the system. The results are discussed in terms of the importance of the technology implementation/ change process, and future directions for research are provided.
The Artful Use of Groupware: An Ethnographic Study of How Lotus Notes is Used in Practice BIBA 263-273
  Barry Brown
This paper uses the results from an ethnographic study of a groupware system in use to argue against two accepted views on groupware systems. Firstly, this paper argues that groupware is useful in how it supports existing everyday organizational processes, rather than as an agent of radical organizational change. Discussing the use of Lotus Notes in a British oil company shows how groupware supports mundane processes such as tracking repairs to equipment or encouraging good ideas. In this case groupware is a useful, yet unradical, technology. This is contrasted with discussions of groupware as a technology of radical change. Secondly, this paper argues that rigidity-the inability to change how a system works-can be a positive feature of a groupware system, or indeed, a very requirement of that system. A Notes system is shown being used to support accountability, in that staff used the record kept within the system to make their actions seem orderly and sensible to others. In this case the rigidity of the system was needed to convince others that the record was not being altered or fabricated. This is contrasted with those who have argued that groupware systems should be highly customisable by their users. More generally, this study uncovers the 'artful use' of groupware systems, how they are inventively integrated into work processes by those who use them.
How Useful are Strategic Plans for Information Systems? BIBA 275-282
  Thompson S. H. Teo; James S. K. Ang
Although much research has been done in the area of strategic planning for information systems (IS), relatively less research has focused on the output of the IS planning process, namely, the IS plan. This paper examines the usefulness of IS plans through a field survey of 136 IS executives. Results indicate that IS plans are generally perceived to be useful for supporting business objectives, improving systems integration, exploiting information technology (IT) for competitive advantage, and prioritising IS development projects. Conversely, IS plans are perceived to be less useful for clarifying the role of IS, evaluating IS performance, anticipating surprises and crisis, and adapting to unanticipated situations. Implications of these results are discussed.

Individual Issues in the Use of Computers

Gender Differences in Internet Usage and Task Preferences BIBA 283-295
  Thompson S. H. Teo; Vivien K. G. Lim
Although there has been much publicity about the Internet, empirical research focusing on it is still relatively sparse. Much of the existent research on the internet has been predicated upon data collected in Europe and America. To date, there is a dearth of published studies on the internet in the Asian context. This study examines gender differences in internet usage in Singapore, a small island of 650 square kilometres in south-east Asia. Data were collected on internet users via a questionnaire survey placed on the World Wide Web. 1370 usable responses were received, of which 89% were males and 11% were females. Gender differences in terms of the demographic profile of internet users, usage patterns, task preferences and factors affecting an enjoyable Internet experience are examined.
Heart Period Variability as Mental Effort Monitor in Human Computer Interaction BIBA 297-306
  Lajos Izso; Eszter Lang
Elementary steps of Human Computer Interaction (HCI), like users' mental actions followed by a series of keystrokes and mouse-clicks, are the basic components of using information technological systems. This is why examination methods capable of assessing users' actual mental effort corresponding to these elementary steps during HCI in a scientifically sound way have great importance. It is known that under certain circumstances, Heart Period Variability (HPV) could be a measure of actual mental effort. This paper gives a short overview of applications of HPV in ergonomics in general and, based on empirical evidence intends to prove that this methodology, after a careful adaptation, could be powerful technique for monitoring mental effort in HCI. The paper outlines the main components of the INTERFACE testing workstation and the related methodology for investigatingamong others-users mental effort. A detailed application example is also provided.
Do Systems Development Methodologies and CASE Tools Decrease Stress Among Systems Analysts? BIBA 307-313
  Anthony C. Nelson; James T. C. Teng
This paper investigates whether computer-aided systems engineering tool and systems development methodology usage reduce or increase the amount of stress (i.e. ambiguity and conflict) experienced by analysts. Increased methodology usage was found to be associated with less role stress. Computer-aided systems engineering tool usage, however, did not have a statistically significant impact on role stress.

BIT 2000 Volume 19 Issue 5

Communication Issues

Knowledge Acquisition in Ecological Product Design: The Effects of Computer-Mediated Communication and Elicitation Method BIBA 315-327
  Jurgen Sauer; Simone Schramme; Bruno Ruttinger
This article presents a study that examines multiple effects of using different means of computer-mediated communication and knowledge elicitation methods during a product design process. The experimental task involved a typical scenario in product design, in which a knowledge engineer consults two experts to generate knowledge about a design issue. Employing a 3 x 2 between-subjects design, three conference types (face-to-face, computer, multimedia) and two knowledge elicitation methods (structured interview, network technique) were compared. One hundred and eight participants took part in the study. They were assigned to 36 groups of three. Quantitative and qualitative performance data were collected and the group processes with the IPA method analysed. The results showed that the computer conference group was generally more productive than the two other groups during the conference. However, participants were unable to maintain their higher performance levels in a later task where the conference results had to be edited before being fed into an expert system. As expected, the computer conference group showed the lowest socio-emotional content during interaction. The network technique was largely more productive than structured interviewing, though it was more time-consuming. Furthermore, the findings suggested that both the network technique and computer conferencing achieved their higher productivity in knowledge generation only at the cost of information processing depths, resulting in poorer performance for subsequent transfer activities. The results are discussed with regard to organizational choice in managing conferences of this kind.
An Experimental Investigation of the Impact of NSS and Proximity on Negotiation Outcomes BIBA 329-338
  John Lim
Negotiations are often not as rational as desired due to the cognitive difficulty of finding optimal agreements. With higher information-processing capacity and capability, negotiation support systems (NSS) are viewed as a viable solution to overcome this difficulty and help negotiators achieve integrative agreements. In addition, advances in network communication technology have enabled distributed meetings to be carried out easily. This in turn leads to the notion of conducting distributed negotiations by combining NSS and distributed communication technology. This study examined the impact of NSS in face-to-face and distributed settings. The results suggested that NSS led to higher and fairer outcomes for both face-to-face and distributed dyads. Another interesting finding from this study is that there were gains with respect to initial expectations of outcomes when NSS support was provided. As corporations expand globally, NSS will play a significant role in coordinating distributed negotiations, saving time and cost.
The Value of Video in Work at a Distance: Addition or Distraction? BIBA 339-348
  Giacinto Matarazzo; Abigail Sellen
This paper reports on a laboratory experiment aimed at exploring the importance of 'person' versus 'task' space in supporting work at a distance through Multimedia Desktop Systems (MDSs). 'Person space' refers to the ability to see and hear remote colleagues while 'task space' refers to the ability to share work-related artifacts. A 2 x 2 x 4 mixed factorial experimental design was used (n = 72) in which video quality (broad band vs narrow band) was varied for the display of remote colleagues, group size (point-to-point vs point-to multipoint), and task. Surprisingly, subjects not only rated the poor quality video conditions more highly than good quality video conditions, but they also completed their tasks faster. These findings are explained in terms of a 'distraction effect' imposed by the display of remote colleagues. This has practical implications for the design of MDSs.
Building a Perceptual Visualization Architecture BIBA 349-366
  Christopher G. Healey
Scientific datasets are often difficult to analyse or visualize, due to their large size and high dimensionality. A multistep approach to address this problem is proposed. Data management techniques are used to identify areas of interest within the dataset. This allows the reduction of a dataset's size and dimensionality, and the estimation of missing values or correction of erroneous entries. The results are displayed using visualization techniques based on perceptual rules. The visualization tools are designed to exploit the power of the low-level human visual system. The result is a set of displays that allow users to perform rapid and accurate exploratory data analysis. In order to demonstrate the techniques, an environmental dataset being used to model salmon growth and migration patterns was visualized. Data mining was used to identify significant attributes and to provide accurate estimates of plankton density. Colour and texture were used to visualize the significant attributes and estimated plankton densities for each month for the years 1956-1964. Experiments run in the laboratory showed that the chosen colours and textures support rapid and accurate element identification, boundary detection, region tracking and estimation. The result is a visualization tool that allows users to quickly locate specific plankton densities and the boundaries they form. Users can compare plankton densities to other environmental conditions like sea surface temperature and current strength. Finally, users can track changes in any of the dataset's attributes on a monthly or yearly basis.
Aesthetics and Preferences of Web Pages BIBA 367-377
  Bo N. Schenkman; Fredrik U. Jonsson
The first impressions of web pages presented to users was investigated by using 13 different web pages, three types of scales and 18 participants. Multidimensional analysis of similarity and preference judgements found four important dimensions: beauty, mostly illustrations versus mostly text, overview and structure. Category scales indicated the existence of two factors related to formal aspects and to appeal of the objects, respectively. The best predictor for the overall judgement of the category scales was beauty. Property vector fitting of the multidimensional solutions with the category scales further indicated the importance of beauty for the preference space. Aspects of usability, product design and aesthetics are discussed.
Discrimination Between Design Errors and User Errors by Binomial Test BIBA 379-384
  Lajos Izso
In laboratory usability studies, error collecting and analysis are frequently used methods of software evaluation and usually are capable of revealing the most conspicuous design deficiencies, if there are any. In certain cases, however, it is hard if not impossible to distinguish accidental user errors from systematic errors attributable to design failures without a careful statistical hypothesis testing. An appropriate, additional statistical analysis of the distribution of observed errors along the steps of the standard tasks could add further useful information to the obvious results of the study. For this purpose a simple binomial model is proposed, which proved to be applicable in a case study: by the help of this model it was possible to discover some further design failures in addition to the already obvious ones.
Exposure to Information Technology and its Relation to Burnout BIBA 385-392
  Marisa Salanova; Wilmar B. Schaufeli
This paper investigates -- in a sample of 202 Spanish employees -- the hypothesis that the impact of the exposure to technology on burnout is mediated by the appraisal of technology. In addition, the factorial validity of the Maslach Burnout Inventory-General Survey (MGI-GS) is studied. The hypothesized three-factor-model of the MBI-GS (i.e. exhaustion, cynicism and professional efficacy) was not replicated; instead a four-factor model (i.e. exhaustion, cynicism, selfconfidence and goal-attainment) fitted better to the data. Results from Structural Equation Modelling confirmed the hypothesis that the impact on burnout of the exposure to technology (in terms of time and frequency of use of computer aided technology) is mediated by the appraisal of technology. The higher the exposure, the more positive the appraisal and the lower the burnout levels (i.e. less cynicism, more selfconfidence and a greater sense of goal attainment). No such effect was demonstrated for exhaustion. Limitations of the study and future research directions are discussed.

BIT 2000 Volume 19 Issue 6

Facilitating Data Exploration with Query Previews: A Study of User Performance and Preference BIBA 393-403
  Egemen Tanin; Amnon Lotem; Ihab Haddadin; Ben Shneiderman; Catherine Plaisant; Laura Slaughter
Networked and local data exploration systems that use command languages, menus, or form fill-in interfaces rarely give users an indication of the distribution of data. This often leads users to waste time, posing queries that have zero-hit or mega-hit results. Query previews are a novel visual approach for browsing databases. Query previews supply users with data distribution information for selected attributes of the database, and give continuous feedback about the size of the result set as the query is being formed. Subsequent refinements might be necessary to narrow the search. As there is a risk that query previews are an additional step, leading to a more complex and slow search process, a within-subjects empirical study was ran with 12 subjects who used interfaces with and without query previews and with minimized network delays. Even with 12 subjects and minimized network delays statistically significant differences were found, showing that query previews could speed up performance 1.6 to 2.1 times and lead to higher user satisfaction.
Barriers and Facilitators to the Use of Knowledge Management Systems BIBA 405-413
  Leela Damodaran; Wendy Olphert
This paper reports a post-implementation review of usage and user experiences of an electronic information management system (EIM) in a multinational company. The implementation of this system was the first step in the company's programme to achieve effective knowledge management leading to innovative and integrated business solutions. In the context of low levels of usage, users were asked to identify barriers and facilitators to the use of EIM. The resultant list relates to a considerable array of human and organizational issues that the current implementation methodology has failed to address. This failure impedes progress towards effective knowledge management and realization of the associated business advantages. The findings suggest that a 'technology push' approach to knowledge management has serious limitations. The identification of the critical success factors for EIM provides the basis for a change management process that includes development of the knowledge sharing culture needed to enable effective knowledge management.
Evaluating the Usability of Virtual Reality User Interfaces BIBA 415-426
  A. G. Sutcliffe; K. Deol Kaur
A walkthrough method for evaluating virtual reality (VR) user interfaces is described and illustrated with a usability assessment of a virtual business park application. The method is based on a theory of interaction that extends Norman's model of action. A walkthrough analysis method uses three models derived from the theory. The first model describes goal-oriented task action, the second exploration and navigation in virtual worlds, while the third covers interaction in response to system initiative. Each stage of the model is associated with generic design properties that specify the necessary support from the system for successful interaction. The evaluation method consists of a checklist of questions using the properties and following the model cycle. Use of the method uncovered several usability problems. Approaches to evaluation of VR applications and future work are discussed.
The Effect of Network Delay and Media on User Perceptions of Web Resources BIBA 427-439
  Julie A. Jacko; Andrew Sears; Michael S. Borella
This research experimentally examines the effects of network delays, document type, and various user characteristics on the perceived usability of distributed documents on the internet. Six experimental conditions were analysed: text only documents and documents including text and graphics at three levels of delay. Users were undergraduate and graduate students who reported spending zero to 50 hours per week on the internet. Usability was assessed by analysing responses to questions about ease of locating information, information organization, information quality, and navigation problems. The results showed significant interactions of network delay and document type on subjects' perceptions of quality, organization, navigation, and several additional factors that are important to organizations providing information on the internet. Both the number of hours subjects reported spending using the internet and subjects' self-reported command of the English language were significantly correlated with perceptions of various aspects of the internet sites examined. While the results indicate that internet users may prefer highly graphical web sites, it appears that they are unwilling to tolerate substantial delays. As a result, users in the study preferred plain text documents as delays increased.
Effects of Dialogue Design on Automatic Teller Machine (ATM) Usability: Transaction Times and Card Loss BIBA 441-449
  Claus M. Zimmermann; Robert S. Bridger
Unobtrusive observation of automatic teller machine (ATM) use was carried out to compare the efficiency and error profiles of two ATM interfaces in current use. Transaction times for the same transaction differed by 39%. Frequency of forgetting cards in the ATM differed by 96-100%. The differences were attributed to the sequencing of sub tasks with respect to the goal state. The cost of a lack of ergonomics in the less efficient interface was estimated conservatively to be US$1.7 million due to task sequencing, and between US$2 million and US$4.5 million from forgetting cards in the ATM.
Designing Time at the User Interface BIBA 451-463
  John Fabre; Steve Howard; Ross Smith
This paper describes research that seeks to facilitate the capture, representation, and reasoning about, temporal information by usability engineers. The product, a method we call KAT-LITTER, is an extension of Johnson and Johnson's (1991) Knowledge Analysis of Tasks (KAT). An evaluation of KAT-LITTER showed that it influenced the design process in two significant ways: firstly, designers using KAT-LITTER spent more time reasoning about temporal issues than designers using KAT alone, and secondly these same designers considered a broader spectrum of temporal issues. Further developments of KAT-LITTER are briefly discussed.