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Human-Computer Interaction 7

Editors:Thomas P. Moran
Publisher:Lawrence Erlbaum Associates
Standard No:ISSN 0737-0024
Links:Table of Contents
  1. HCI 1992 Volume 7 Issue 1
  2. HCI 1992 Volume 7 Issue 2
  3. HCI 1992 Volume 7 Issue 3
  4. HCI 1992 Volume 7 Issue 4

HCI 1992 Volume 7 Issue 1


Temporal Aspects of Tasks in the User Action Notation BIBA 1-45
  H. Rex Hartson; Philip D. Gray
The need for communication among a multiplicity of cooperating roles in user interface development translates into the need for a common set of interface design representation techniques. The important difference between design of the interaction part of the interface and design of the interface software calls for representation techniques with a behavioral view -- a view that focuses on user interaction rather than on the software. The User Action Notation (UAN) is a user- and task-oriented notation that describes physical (and other) behavior of the user and interface as they perform a task together. The primary abstraction of the UAN is a user task.
   The work reported here addresses the need to identify temporal relationships within user task descriptions and to express explicitly and precisely how designers view temporal relationships among those tasks. Drawing on simple temporal concepts such as events in time and preceding and overlapping of time intervals, we identify basic temporal relationships among tasks; sequence, waiting, repeated disjunction, order independence, interruptibility, one-way interleavability, mutual interleavability, and concurrency. The UAN temporal relations, through the notion of modal logic, offer an explicit and precise representation of the specific kinds of temporal behavior that can occur in asynchronous user interaction without the need to detail all cases that might result.
Inferring Graphical Procedures: The Compleat Metamouse BIBA 47-89
  David L. Maulsby; Ian H. Witten; Kenneth A. Kittlitz; Valerio G. Franceschin
Metamouse is a demonstrational interface for graphical editing tasks within a drawing program. The user specifies a procedure by performing an example execution trace and creating graphical tools where necessary to help make constraints explicit. The system generalizes the user's action sequence, identifying key features of individual steps and disregarding coincidental events. It creates a program with loops and conditional branches as appropriate and predicts upcoming actions, thereby reducing the tedium of repetitive and precise graphical editing. It uses default reasoning about graphical constraints to make initial generalizations and enables the user to correct these hypotheses either by rejecting its predictions or by editing iconic descriptors it displays after each action.
Fitts' Law as a Research and Design Tool in Human-Computer Interaction BIBA 91-139
  I. Scott MacKenzie
According to Fitts' law, human movement can be modeled by analogy to the transmission of information. Fitts' popular model has been widely adopted in numerous research areas, including kinematics, human factors, and (recently) human-computer interaction (HCI). The present study provides a historical and theoretical context for the model, including an analysis of problems that have emerged through the systematic deviation of observations from predictions. Refinements to the model are described, including a formulation for the index of task difficulty that is claimed to be more theoretically sound than Fitts' original formulation. The model's utility in predicting the time to position a cursor and select a target is explored through a review of six Fitts' law studies employing devices such as the mouse, trackball, joystick, touchpad, helmet-mounted sight, and eye tracker. An analysis of the performance measures reveals tremendous inconsistencies, making across-study comparisons difficult. Sources of experimental variation are identified to reconcile these differences.

HCI 1992 Volume 7 Issue 2


The Prevention of Mode Errors Through Sensory Feedback BIBA 141-164
  Abigail J. Sellen; Gordon P. Kurtenbach; William A. S. Buxton
The use of different kinds of feedback in preventing mode errors was investigated. Two experiments examined the frequency of mode errors in a text-editing task where a mode error was defined as an attempt to issue navigational commands while in insert mode, or an attempt to insert text while in command mode. In Experiment 1, the effectiveness of kinesthetic versus visual feedback was compared in four different conditions: the use of keyboard versus foot pedal for changing mode (kinesthetic feedback), crossed with the presence or absence of visual feedback to indicate mode. The results showed both kinesthetic and visual feedback to be effective in reducing mode errors. However, kinesthetic was more effective than visual feedback both in terms of reducing errors and in terms of reducing the cognitive load associated with mode changes. Experiment 2 tested the hypothesis that the superiority of this kinesthetic feedback was due to the fact that the foot pedal required subjects actively to maintain insert mode. The results confirmed that the use of a nonlatching foot pedal for switching modes provided a more salient source of information on mode state than the use of a latching pedal. On the basis of these results, we argue that user-maintained mode states prevent mode errors more effectively than system-maintained mode states.
Human-Computer Collaboration BIBA 165-196
  Barry G. Silverman
This article offers a model of collaboration processes in which both parties are sharing the task work load at an equal level of cognitive difficulty. The model poses six collaboration factors as important in the man-machine collaboration. The six factors are cognitive orientation, deep knowledge, intention sharing, control plasticity, adaptivity, and experience or memory. The model predicts that two clusters of settings of the six factors exist: one for novices and one for experts. Four experiments are presented that support this prediction and that offer several new insights into what makes for effective collaborator design. Also many new questions arise.
An Assessment of Written/Interactive Dialogue in Information Retrieval Applications BIBA 197-249
  Hans Brunner; Greg Whittemore; Kathleen Ferrara; Jiamiene Hsu
For the foreseeable future, natural language access to databases and other information systems will require the exchange of written messages between the system and the user. Such written/interactive dialogue is unique, having the qualities of both written text and spoken discourse yet, also, differing significantly from both. In the present study, we used "Wizard of Oz" techniques to elicit written/interactive dialogue for information retrieval purposes. Our objectives in this were (a) to assess the general nature and prevalence of linguistic and dialogue phenomena within the written/interactive register and (b) to determine the impact of user interface shortcuts, such as prescanned messages and patterned output, on both the complexity of written/interactive dialogue and general measures of user satisfaction. Our findings indicate that written/interactive dialogue for information retrieval would be very feasible. In spite of slow system response times, subjective reactions from users were positive, the size of the lexicon used in the dialogues was small, the dialogues decomposed readily into hierarchical structures, and the number and distribution of anaphors were also rather reasonable. Two independent variables were also manipulated: (a) the degree of prefamiliarization given to participants about the base of travel information they would be accessing (i.e., the primer variable) and (b) the degree of constraint on the Wizard's ability to formulate natural language responses to the user (i.e., the natural language output variable). Failure to provide either a primer or a realistic, human natural language output made the dialogues more complex in a number of ways.

HCI 1992 Volume 7 Issue 3


Introduction to This Special Issue on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work BIB 251-256
  Gary M. Olson; Judith S. Olson; Robert E. Kraut

Special Issue on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work: Articles

An Assessment of the Experimental Literature on Electronic Support of Group Work: Results of a Meta-Analysis BIBA 257-280
  Poppy Lauretta McLeod
This study reports the results of a meta-analysis of experimental studies published between 1980 and 1990 that focused on the relationship between electronic group support systems (GSS) use and group process and outcomes. The study examines the following specific group process and outcome variables: degree of task focus, equality of participation, time to decision, decision quality, consensus, and member satisfaction. GSS was found to increase decision quality, time needed to reach decisions, equality of participation, and degree of task focus and to decrease consensus and satisfaction. Implications of the findings are discussed in terms of directions for future research and improvements in the reporting of research results.
Supporting Indirect Collaborative Design with Integrated Knowledge-Based Design Environments BIBA 281-314
  Gerhard Fischer; Jonathan Grudin; Andreas Lemke; Raymond McCall; Jonathan Ostwald; Brent Reeves; Frank Shipman
We are developing a conceptual framework and a demonstration system for collaboration among members of design teams when direct communication among these members is impossible or impractical. Our research focuses on the long-term, indirect communication needs of project teams rather than the short-term needs of face-to-face communication or electronic mail. We address these needs with integrated, domain-oriented design environments. Our conceptual framework and our system-building efforts address two major issues: (a) How does individual work blend into project work (especially in large projects that span great distances and time)? and (b) What role do the work objects play in the coordination? We use a specific domain-oriented design environment (NETWORK-HYDRA -- for the design of computer networks) to illustrate our approach, and we discuss HYDRA as the underlying domain-independent, multifaceted architecture for design environments.
Media Space and Communicative Asymmetries: Preliminary Observations of Video-Mediated Interaction BIBA 315-346
  Christian Heath; Paul Luff
Despite the growing interest in using audio-visual technologies to support communication and collaborative work among individuals in different locations, we still have relatively little understanding of the organization of video-mediated interaction. In the following article, we discuss some findings of recent research concerning interpersonal communication in a sophisticated multimedia office environment. Based on the detailed naturalistic analysis of individuals collaborating on various tasks during their day-to-day working lives, we explore the extent to which the media space provides a satisfactory means for interpersonal communication and ordinary sociability. In particular, the research suggests that audio-visual technology introduces certain asymmetries into interpersonal communication that can transform the impact of visual and vocal conduct. These communicative asymmetries may be consequential for the design and implementation of audio-visual infrastructures used to support informal sociability and collaborative work.

HCI 1992 Volume 7 Issue 4

Special Issue on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work: Articles

Small Group Design Meetings: An Analysis of Collaboration BIBA 347-374
  Gary M. Olson; Judith S. Olson; Mark R. Carter; Marianne Storrosten
The development of schemes to support group work, whether behavioral methods or new technologies like groupware, should be based on detailed knowledge about how groups work, what they do well, and what they have trouble with. Such data can be used to suggest what kinds of tools people might need as well as to provide a baseline for evaluating the effects of schemes for improvement. We present details of how real groups engage in a representative collaborative task -- early software design meetings -- to provide such knowledge. We studied 10 design meetings from four projects in two organizations. The meetings were videotaped, transcribed, and then analyzed using a coding scheme that looked at participants' problem solving and the activities they used to coordinate and manage themselves. We also analyzed the structure of their design arguments. We found, to our surprise, that although the meetings differed in how many issues were covered they were strikingly similar in both how people spent their time and in the sequential organization of that activity. Overall, only 40% of the time was spent in direct discussions of design, with many swift transitions between alternative ideas and their evaluation. The groups spent another 30% taking stock of their progress through walkthroughs and summaries. Pure coordination activities consumed about 20%, and clarification of ideas -- a cross-cutting classification -- took one third of the time, indicating how much time was spent in both orchestrating and sharing expertise among group members. The pattern of transitions revealed these activities were clustered into two general classes -- design and management. Although most issues had more than one alternative offered and discussed, there was rarely a wide set discussed, and one third of them were never explicitly evaluated. The results have implications for both the characterization of collaboration itself and for the way in which it might be supported through technology. Finally, the coding schemes developed may be useful for a wide range of problem-solving meetings other than design.
Task Requirements and Media Choice in Collaborative Writing BIBA 375-407
  Robert Kraut; Jolene Galegher; Robert Fish; Barbara Chalfonte
Modalities such as face-to-face meetings permit rich communication, which involves both expressiveness and interactivity. Modalities such as text annotation or electronic mail, however, limit both. Contingency theory, as applied to collaborative writing, says that as the equivocality of the writing task increases, communication modalities that support rich communication are more likely to be used. In addition, it says that if these modalities are used, equivocal tasks can be carried out with greater ease and better results. This article explores these hypotheses using multiple data sources: an interview study tracing the history of 55 published collaborative articles, two field experiments comparing the use of face-to-face communication and electronic mail as media for collaborative writing, and a laboratory experiment comparing voice and text as media for annotating documents. Taken together, the findings of these investigations are loosely consistent with a contingency theory of media use, but they suggest that careful measures of task characteristics are needed to obtain a detailed understanding of the effects of particular task/technology combinations. Further, they indicate that it may be important to consider the distinction between the interactivity and expressiveness components of media richness in making decisions about what technologies to buy or build.
Error as Opportunity: Learning in a Cooperative Task BIBA 409-435
  Colleen M. Seifert; Edwin L. Hutchins
In this article, we examine learning within a cooperative system. We focus on the role of learning from errors in a context where regular attrition of group members occurs. Specifically, the study involved observation of distributed activity in the team navigation of a large naval vessel. Analyses revealed frequent individual errors; however, successful detection and correction of errors also occurred. Thus, the cooperative system simultaneously allowed high component error and ensured low system output error. This robustness is an especially valuable feature for distributed systems because it provides for needed on-the-job learning while maintaining a high level of overall performance. Errors were observed to function as opportunities for instruction based on a novice's demonstrated "need to know." The distributed system was found to contain certain design tradeoffs that are exploited for their utility in learning (viz., distributing knowledge across the team and providing multiple perspectives for error detection). The results are applicable to the design of computer-supported cooperative tasks and provide guidelines for task organization that facilitates performance while incorporating the ability to learn from errors.