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HCI Tables of Contents: 0102030405060708091011121314

Human-Computer Interaction 4

Editors:Thomas P. Moran
Publisher:Lawrence Erlbaum Associates
Standard No:ISSN 0737-0024
Links:Table of Contents
  1. HCI 1989 Volume 4 Issue 1
  2. HCI 1989 Volume 4 Issue 2
  3. HCI 1989 Volume 4 Issue 3
  4. HCI 1989 Volume 4 Issue 4

HCI 1989 Volume 4 Issue 1


Introduction to this Special Issue on Nonspeech Audio BIB 1-9
  William Buxton


Earcons and Icons: Their Structure and Common Design Principles BIBA 11-44
  Meera M. Blattner; Denise A. Sumikawa; Robert M. Greenberg
In this article we examine earcons, which are audio messages used in the user-computer interface to provide information and feedback to the user about computer entities. (Earcons include messages and functions, as well as states and labels.) We identify some design principles that are common to both visual symbols and auditory messages, and discuss the use of representational and abstract icons and earcons. We give some examples of audio patterns that may be used to design modules for earcons, which then may be assembled into larger groupings called families. The modules are single pitches or rhythmicized sequences of pitches called motives. The families are constructed about related motives that serve to identify a family of related messages. Issues concerned with learning and remembering earcons are discussed.
Soundtrack: An Auditory Interface for Blind Users BIBA 45-66
  Alistair D. N. Edwards
Throughout the history of human-computer interface development, one aspect has remained constant: output from computers has been almost entirely visual. A continued and increasing reliance on visual communication has had a disadvantageous effect on users who have visual disabilities. A visual interface is of no use to a user who is completely blind; communication must use one of the other senses, and hearing is an obvious candidate.
   A number of human-computer interfaces have been developed and adapted into an auditory form, based on the use of synthetic speech. However, for modern interfaces that use more complex displays, synthetic speech is not sufficient. One attempt to adapt such a mouse-based interface into an auditory form, based on musical tones and synthetic speech is described. This project involved the development of a word processor, called Soundtrack, with an auditory interface. Evaluation of this application suggests that the approach is viable, but that it is difficult to use and there are significant research questions still to be addressed.
The Sonic Finder: An Interface that Uses Auditory Icons BIBA 67-94
  William W. Gaver
The appropriate use of non-speech sounds has the potential to add a great deal to the functionality of computer interfaces. Sound is a largely unexploited medium of output, even though it plays an integral role in our everyday encounters with the world, a role that is complementary to vision. Sound should be used in computers as it is in the world, where it conveys information about the nature of sound-producing events. Such a strategy leads to auditory icons, which are everyday sounds meant to convey information about computer events by analogy with everyday events. Auditory icons are an intuitively accessible way to use sound to provide multidimensional, organized information to users.
   These ideas are instantiated in the SonicFinder, which is an auditory interface I developed at Apple Computer, Inc. In this interface, information is conveyed using auditory icons as well as standard graphical feedback. I discuss how events are mapped to auditory icons in the SonicFinder and illustrate how sound is used by describing a typical interaction with this interface.
   Two major gains are associated with using sound in this interface: an increase in direct engagement with the model world of the computer and an added flexibility for users in getting information about that world. These advantages seem to be due to the iconic nature of the mappings used between sound and the information it is to convey. I discuss sound effects and source metaphors as methods of extending auditory icons beyond the limitations implied by literal mappings, and I speculate on future directions for such interfaces.

HCI 1989 Volume 4 Issue 2


Testing the Principle of Orthogonality in Language Design BIBA 95-120
  Edward M. Bowden; Sarah A. Douglas; Cathryn A. Stanford
Research has shown that organization plays an important role in memory. This study applies these findings to the design of a command language. The concept of orthogonality was used to maximize the internal organization of a text-editing command language. In Experiments 1 and 2, this orthogonal language was compared to an organized, but nonorthogonal, and an antiorganized language on measures of predictability, recall, and performance. Subjects in the orthogonal language condition performed better than subjects in the other conditions on all measures. In a third experiment, steps were taken to eliminate possible confounding effects of mnemonics. The orthogonal language was compared to the organized language on measures of recall and performance. Even without the aid of mnemonics, subjects in the orthogonal language condition performed better on the recall test than subjects in the organized language condition. In addition, analysis of keystroke data revealed that subjects using the orthogonal language required less time to think of appropriate commands to accomplish their tasks. General steps necessary to design an orthogonal language are discussed.
Some Lessons from an Exercise in Specification BIBA 121-147
  David M. Frohlich; Paul Luff
Formulating precise descriptions of human-computer interactions is a prerequisite for the principled design, implementation, and evaluation of interactive systems. This article reports an exercise in interaction specification using Foley and Van Dam's (1982) multilayered method of documenting the design of a user-computer interface. The specification was used to communicate the intended behaviour of a Forms Helper system from a design team to an implementation team. The ease with which the interaction could be represented at each of Foley and Van Dam's four levels of abstraction is discussed, and recommendations are made for improving the method in places where its guidance was unclear or inadequate. The value of the method is examined prior to a discussion of the potential role of such specifications in the design and development cycle.
Does the Medium Make a Difference? Two Studies of Writing with Pen and Paper and with Computers BIBA 149-169
  Christina Haas
This article reports two studies examining how the use of computer technology affects writers' processes and resulting written products. The first experiment, a partial replication of Gould's (1981) study, compared the efficiency and quality of 15 experienced writers' persuasive letters written in three counterbalanced conditions: pen and paper, standard personal computer, and advanced workstation. Analyses of time to compose and length of the resulting letters showed that when composing with the advanced workstations, writers wrote for longer periods of time and composed longer letters than when composing with pen and paper. Rate of composition (words per min) was similar in all three conditions. Scores for content quality, mechanics quality, and total quality were also collected and analyzed. Letters composed with the personal computer were poorer in content quality and total quality. There were no differences in mechanics quality. In the second experiment, 8 of the original 15 writers revised two of their letters in the medium with which they were composed. Think-aloud protocols collected while the writers revised their letters were collected and analyzed. When revising with pen and paper, writers planned more than when revising on-line; they also planned more before beginning their revisions. However, when revising in the computer conditions, writers reread their texts more and paid more attention to the medium than when revising on paper.

HCI 1989 Volume 4 Issue 3


A Human Activity Approach to User Interfaces BIBA 171-195
  Susanne Bødker
How can we understand why a bank teller has different needs for a user interface than those of casual users of a machine teller, or why a graphic designer needs a different user interface than a secretary? This article presents a framework for the design of user interfaces that originates from the work situations in which computer-based artifacts are used: The framework deals with the role of the user interface in purposeful human work. Human activity theory is used in this analysis. The purpose of this article is to make the reader curious and hopefully open his or her eyes to a somewhat different way of thinking about the user interface. The article applies examples of real-life interfaces to support this process, but it does not include a systematic presentation of empirical results.
   I focus on the role of the computer application in use. Thus, it is necessary to consider human-computer interaction and other related work conditions. I deal with human experience and competence as being rooted in the practice of the group that conducts the specific work activity.
   The main conclusion are: The user interface cannot be seen independently of the use activity, (i.e., the professional, socially organized practice of the users and the material conditions for the activity, including the object of the activity). The standard view in these situations is to deduce an ultimate set of operations from an abstract use activity and apply these to design and analysis. This article argues that the user interface fully reveals itself to us only when in use. What is a good user interface for those with a certain degree of competence may not be efficient for those with different levels of competence. I give certain general recommendations for the user interface, but I have no guarantee that such recommendations are applicable to the specific case wherein these concerns may be overruled by specific social or material concerns.
Individual Differences and Conceptual Models in Training Novice Users BIBA 197-229
  Maung K. Sein; Robert P. Bostrom
Although there is a strong theoretical basis for concluding that conceptual models are effective in aiding users to build mental models of computer systems, very little empirical evidence exists to support such a conclusion. Frequently, the effect has been weak. Subjects trained with a conceptual model often perform better than control group subjects in learning tests, but seldom at a statistically significant level. One possible reason for this is the influence of individual differences such as basic cognitive abilities. This study examined the influence of two cognitive variables -- visual ability and learning mode -- in the mental model formation process of novice users of an electronic mail filing system. We compared the effectiveness of two types of conceptual models -- analogical and abstract. It was found that high-visual subjects performed significantly better than low-visual subjects. Abstract learners also performed better than concrete learners.
   More important, interaction effects were observed. Low-visual subjects were severely hampered by abstract models but performed as well as high-visual subjects when provided with analogical models. Abstract learners benefited from the abstract model but were hampered by the analogical model. On the other hand, concrete learners performed better with the analogical models compared to abstract models. The findings indicate that there is a need to consider individual differences, such as visual ability and learning mode, in research on mental models and on human-computer interaction in general.
Finding Information on a Menu: Linking Menu Organization to the User's Goals BIBA 231-251
  Brad Mehlenbacher; Thomas M. Duffy; James Palmer
Design paradigms often ignore the diverse goals users bring to the computer interface. Any human-computer interaction can be viewed as a marriage of two systems: The user begins the interaction by formulating an information goal, and the computer software meets that goal with a sometimes complex list of potential topic areas. The user then accesses that topic list through the computer interface. Part of the act of accessing the topic list is selecting a potential topic, and this action is often supported by a menu interface. Although research is pervasive on how best to organize menu items to facilitate learning, search speed, and reduced selection errors, little has been done to examine the impact of different types of user goals or cues on a menu's effectiveness. In a study using three distinct cues -- direct match, synonym, and iconic -- and two menu organizations -- alphabetical and functional -- data suggest that (a) the functional menu is more effective than the alphabetical menu for the synonym and iconic cues, (b) learning occurs with both menu designs (i.e., selection speed increases rapidly across the five trial blocks), and (c) users make fewer errors with the functionally organized menu. The results, in general, encourage more rigorous investigation of the interaction between the tasks users bring to menu interfaces and the optimal design of those menus.

HCI 1989 Volume 4 Issue 4


Out of Scandinavia: Alternative Approaches to Software Design and System Development BIBA 253-350
  Christiane Floyd; Wolf-Michael Mehl; Fanny-Michaela Reisin; Gerhard Schmidt; Gregor Wolf
This study set out to delineate the Scandinavian Approach to the development of computer-based systems. We aimed to help derive new ideas for human-oriented technology design in other countries. The study is based on the relevant literature, scientific contacts, and two field trips, and covers work in Denmark, Norway, and Sweden.
   The study focuses on methodological questions and their theoretical foundations, on explicit strategies for social implementation, and on innovative design illustrated by reference to concrete projects. Though it makes no claim to present a sociopolitical analysis of Scandinavian technology design, the sociocultural background is given due consideration.
   There is no general agreement among Scandinavians as to whether or not there is a well-defined Scandinavian Approach. We have come to identify such an approach in certain common features shared by the different schools of thought. These include efforts toward humanization and democratization as overriding design goals, in keeping with the aim of building an egalitarian society.
   The theoretical foundations for the development of computer-based systems draw on computer science, organization theory and the humanities. Specifically Scandinavian traditions in computer science provide the technical basis for discussions on work design. The most important schools in Scandinavia are the sociotechnical and the union-oriented collective resource approach, each associated with a distinct strategy for societal implementation.
   The Scandinavian Approach can be seen as a challenge to other countries, combining as it does technical sophistication with the explicit concern for using computers for the benefit of human beings.