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HCI Tables of Contents: 010203040506070809101112

Human-Computer Interaction 2

Editors:Thomas P. Moran
Publisher:Lawrence Erlbaum Associates
Standard No:ISSN 0737-0024
Links:Table of Contents
  1. HCI 1986 Volume 2 Issue 1
  2. HCI 1986 Volume 2 Issue 2
  3. HCI 1986 Volume 2 Issue 3
  4. HCI 1986 Volume 2 Issue 4

HCI 1986 Volume 2 Issue 1


Learning to Use a Text Editor: Some Learner Characteristics That Predict Success BIBA 1-23
  Louis M. Gomez; Dennis E. Egan; Cheryl Bowers
Why do some people have much more difficulty than others in learning a computer-based skill? To answer this question, we observed first-time users of computers as they learned to use a computer text editor. In two experiments, older people had more trouble than younger people and those who scored low on a standard test of spatial memory had greater difficulty than high scorers. These correlations were stable over several hours of practice and did not vary as a function of the type of terminal used or specific editing problems attempted. Correlations involving age and spatial memory could not be explained by other characteristics such as amount of education, reasoning ability, or associative memory ability. Results like these that relate learning difficulty to specific characteristics of people ultimately may suggest ways to change computer interface design or training to accommodate a wider range of users.
A Cognitively Based Functional Taxonomy of Decision Support Techniques BIBA 25-63
  Wayne Zachary
The Decision Support Systems (DSS) field has grown rapidly drawing technology from many disciplines and pursuing applications in a variety of domains but developing little underlying theoretical structure, and poor linkage between research and practice. This article presents a classification scheme for DSS techniques that provides a common theoretical framework for DSS research and also structures and simplifies the process of designing application systems. The classification system is functional, grouping DSS techniques according to their ability to provide similar kinds of support (i.e., functions) to a human decision maker. It is also cognitively based, defining the kinds of support that decision makers need in terms of architectural features and procedural aspects of human cognition. The classification is expressed as a taxonomy, encompassing six primary classes of decision support techniques representing the six general kinds of cognitive support that human decision makers need. The six classes are process models, which assist in projecting the future course of complex processes; choice models, which support integration of decision criteria across aspects and/or alternatives; information control techniques, which help in storage, retrieval, organization, and integration of data and knowledge; analysis and reasoning techniques, which support application of problem-specific expert reasoning procedures; representation aids, which assist in expression and manipulation of a specific representation of a decision problem; and judgement amplification/refinement techniques, which help in quantification and debiasing of heuristic judgements. Additional distinctions are provided to distinguish the individual techniques in each of these primary categories. The taxonomy also has practical use as a design aid for decision support systems. The kinds of decision support needs represented by the taxonomy are general and can be used to guide the analysis and decomposition of a given decision prior to decision aid design. Specific needs for assistance can then be tied to specific computational techniques in the taxonomy. Methodological suggestions for using the taxonomy as a design aid are given.
The Influence of Color and Graphical Information Presentation in a Managerial Decision Simulation BIBA 65-92
  Izak Benbasat; Albert S. Dexter; Peter Todd
A laboratory experiment was conducted to assess the influence of graphical and color-enhanced information presentation on information use and decision quality in a simulation setting. This is the third in a series of studies examining the effects of colors and graphics in a managerial decision-making task. The findings reported in this article indicate that graphical presentations are more useful when evaluating information in order to determine promising directions in the search for an optimal solution, but when the task requires the determination of exact data values for computational purposes, graphical reports are less useful than tabular ones. Benefits of color include taking fewer iterations to complete the task. However, these benefits are associated more strongly with the graphical report as indicated by the significantly higher use of color-enhanced graphical reports over monochromatic ones. The benefits of color are also restricted to the early stages in the decision task, with color graphic report usage dropping sharply over time.

HCI 1986 Volume 2 Issue 2


Task-Action Grammars: A Model of the Mental Representation of Task Languages BIBA 93-133
  Stephen J. Payne; T. R. G. Green
A formal model of the mental representation of task languages is presented. The model is a metalanguage for defining task-action grammars (TAG): generative grammars that rewrite simple tasks into action specifications. Important features of the model are (a) Identification of the "simple-tasks" that users can perform routinely and which require no control structure; (b) Representation of simple-tasks by collections of semantic components reflecting a categorization of the task world; (c) Marking of tokens in rewrite rules with the semantic features of the task world to supply selection restrictions on the rewriting of simple-tasks into action specifications. This device allows the representation of family resemblances between individual task-action mappings. Simple complexity metrics over task-action grammars make predictions about the relative learnability of different task language designs. Some empirical support for these predictions is derived from the existing empirical literature on command language learning, and from two unreported experiments. Task-action grammars also provide designers with an analytic tool for exposing the configural properties of task languages.
Learning Flow of Control: Recursive and Iterative Procedures BIBA 135-166
  Claudius M. Kessler; John R. Anderson
Two experiments were performed to study students' ability to write recursive and iterative programs and transfer between these two skills. Subjects wrote functions to accumulate instances into a list. Problems varied in terms of whether they were recursive or iterative, whether they operated on lists or numbers, whether they accumulated results in forward or backward manner, whether they accumulated on success or failure, and whether they simply skipped or ejected on failure to accumulate. Subjects had real difficulty only with the dimensions concerned with flow of control, namely, recursive versus iterative, and skip versus eject. We found positive transfer from writing iterative functions to writing recursive functions, but not vice versa. A subsequent protocol study revealed subjects had such a poor mental model of recursion that they developed poor learning strategies which hindered their understanding of iteration. It is argued that having an adequate model of the functionality of programming is prerequisite to learning to program, and that it is sensible pedagogical practice to base understanding of recursive flow of control on understanding iterative flow of control.


Auditory Icons: Using Sound in Computer Interfaces BIBA 167-177
  William W. Gaver
There is growing interest in the use of sound to convey information in computer interfaces. The strategies employed thus far have been based on an understanding of sound that leads to either an arbitrary or metaphorical relation between the sounds used and the data to be represented. In this article, an alternative approach to the use of sound in computer interfaces is outlined, one that emphasizes the role of sound in conveying information about the world to the listener. According to this approach, auditory icons, caricatures of naturally occurring sounds, could be used to provide information about sources of data. Auditory icons provide a natural way to represent dimensional data as well as conceptual objects in a computer system. They allow categorization of data into distinct families, using a single sound. Perhaps the most important advantage of this strategy is that it is based on the way people listen to the world in their everyday lives.

HCI 1986 Volume 2 Issue 3


Graphic Representation of Judgmental Information BIBA 179-200
  Donald MacGregor; Paul Slovic
Graphic displays of information are an important link in the design of user/machine interfaces. However, research on general effectiveness of graphic displays as information organizing formats for judgment and decision making has produced mixed results; graphic formats appear to facilitate judgmental performance in some contexts, but not in others. The two studies reported here examine the relative efficacy of a set of basic graphic display formats, such as might be used to summarize data in an information system, in the context of a task calling for individuals to integrate a set of information cues into an overall judgment. A "lens model" is used as a decompositional framework for representing the relationship between the elements of the information displays and the psychological properties of the multicue judgment task. Combined results from the two studies suggest that judgmental performance is markedly enhanced or degraded by the degree to which the display format provides the user with an organizing structure that facilitates a matching between the relative importance of information and the psychological salience of the display's graphic features.
Structure and Development of Plans in Computer Text Editing BIBA 201-226
  Scott P. Robertson; John B. Black
When people learn such a complex skill as computer text editing they are learning a set of goals and the plans for accomplishing those goals. In this experiment we examined the structure and development of simple text-editing goals and plans. Long interkeystroke times were found to be associated with plan boundaries. The longest times were found between keystrokes separating superordinate goals, whereas less significant time increases appeared between keystrokes at subgoal boundaries. Changes in the patterns of interkeystroke times showed plan restructuring with experience.

Reply Articles

Softening Up Hard Science: Reply to Newell and Card BIBA 227-249
  John M. Carroll; Robert L. Campbell
A source of intellectual overhead periodically encountered by scientists is the call to be "hard," to insure good science by imposing severe methodological strictures. Newell and Card (1985) have undertaken to impose such strictures on the psychology of human-computer interaction. Although their discussion contributes to theoretical debate in human-computer interaction by setting a reference point, their specific argument fails. Their program is unmotivated, is severely limited, and suffers from these limitations in principle. A top priority for the psychology of human-computer interaction should be the articulation of an alternative explanatory program, one that takes as its starting point the need to understand the real problems involved in providing better computer tools for people to use.
Straightening Out Softening Up: Response to Carroll and Campbell BIBA 251-267
  Allen Newell; Stuart K. Card
Carroll and Campbell have exercised themselves over a straw man not subscribed to by us. In the process, our position has not been accurately represented. In reply, we restate as clearly as we can the position for which we actually did and do argue. The underlying issue seems to concern the advantages of using technical psychological theories to identify underlying mechanisms in human-computer interaction. We argue that such theories are an important part of a science of human-computer interaction. We argue further that technical theories must be considered in the context of the uses to which they are put. The use of a theory helps to determine what is a good approximation, the degree of formalization that is justified, and the appropriate commingling of qualitative and quantitative techniques. Technical theories encourage cumulative progress by abetting the classical scientific heuristic of divide and conquer.

HCI 1986 Volume 2 Issue 4


Graphically Defining New Building Blocks in ThingLab BIBA 269-295
  Alan Borning
ThingLab is a constraint-oriented, interactive graphical system for building simulations. A typical problem in ThingLab (and in systems like it) is that, to define an object with a new kind of constraint, the user must leave the graphical domain and write code in the underlying implementation language. This makes it difficult for less experienced users to add new kinds of constraints or to modify existing ones. As a step toward solving this problem, the system described here allows the graphical definition of objects that include new kinds of constraints. This is supported by an interface in which a user can open two views on an object being defined, a use view and a construction view. The use view shows the object's normal appearance; the construction view contains additional objects and constraints, which serve to graphically specify the new constraints on the defined object.
Designing Interactive Tutorials for Computer Users BIBA 297-317
  Davida H. Charney; Lynne M. Reder
The aim of this article is to find the optimal combination of written instruction and on-line practice for learning a new computer application. Subjects in the experiment learned commands for an electronic spreadsheet by reading brief user-manual descriptions and working training problems on-line. The form of the training problems was varied in a within-subjects design to control how much independent problem solving subjects engaged in while learning any given command. There were three forms of practice: (a) pure guided practice, in which subjects were told exactly what keystrokes to type to solve the problems; (b) pure problem-solving practice, in which subjects solved problems without guidance; and (c) mixed practice, in which the first problem for a command was presented in guided practice form and two others in problem-solving form. The spacing of the training problems was also manipulated; the problems pertaining to a given command were either massed (i.e., presented consecutively) or distributed (i.e., separated by other instructional material). After a 2-day delay, subjects solved new problems on the computer without referring to the instructional materials. The results indicate that problem solving was a more difficult form of training than guided practice, but it produced the best performance at test. Distributing the spacing of training problems during training also improved performance at test. The results have clear pragmatic implications for the design of interactive tutorial manuals as well as implications for cognitive models of skill acquisition.
A Cognitive Model and Computer Tutor for Programming Recursion BIBA 319-355
  Peter Pirolli
This article discusses cognitive models of learning to program recursion and their relation to lessons on recursion in an intelligent computer tutor for LISP programming (the LISP Tutor). The cognitive models are implemented as production systems in which programming skill is characterized as the decomposition of programming goals into subgoals and elementary actions via the application of programming plans. Two sets of learning mechanisms are used in the cognitive models. Analogical problem-solving mechanisms use declarative knowledge of example program solutions to overcome problem-solving impasses. Knowledge compilation mechanisms summarize problem solutions into efficient problem-solving skill. Analyses and simulations of novice and expert programming were used to develop ideal models of the programming knowledge to confer upon students and bugs that characterize common misconceptions. The LISP Tutor uses the ideal models and bugs to guide its interactions with students. Experimental evaluations of the LISP Tutor indicate that it is more efficient and effective than classroom instruction.