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IWC Tables of Contents: 0102030405060708091011

Interacting with Computers 1

Editors:Dan Diaper
Standard No:ISSN 0953-5438
Links:Table of Contents
  1. IWC 1989 Volume 1 Issue 1
  2. IWC 1989 Volume 1 Issue 2
  3. IWC 1989 Volume 1 Issue 3

IWC 1989 Volume 1 Issue 1


The Discipline of HCI BIB 3-5
  Dan Diaper


Task Analysis, Systems Analysis and Design: Symbiosis or Synthesis? BIBAK 6-12
  Alistair Sutcliffe
The relationship between methods for systems development that have originated from work in human-computer interaction (HCI) and in software engineering are examined using a classificatory framework of the system life cycle and the development issues are addressed. Software engineering methods tackle few HCI issues and would benefit from the addition of HCI principles and techniques. It is contended that two groups of HCI methods can be identified, task/organisation and cognitive task analysis; both of which should be integrated with structured system development methods to improve system usability. To encourage their practice, HCI methods need to be integrated with software engineering and to offer more prescriptive design advice.
Keywords: Task analysis, Structured design, Integrated methods, Organisation analysis, Cognitive analysis
Embedded User Models - Where Next? BIBAK 13-30
  Rod Rivers
User models can be embedded into a wide range of computer applications to enhance the quality of the user interface. The development of embedded user models (EUMs) draws on research in cognitive science and systems engineering and should be of interest to designers of user interfaces and researchers in human-computer interaction. This paper consolidates ideas about EUMs formed in the course of four projects funded under the British Government's Alvey Programme on advanced information technology. It discusses the relationship between user models, knowledge representation, human inference and instructional strategies, and presents views about the current state of the art in precompetitive research systems, its limitations and possible future directions for work.
Keywords: User models, Intelligent interfaces, Intelligent tutoring systems, Knowledge representation, Computer-based training, Cognitive modelling
People Interact Through Computers Not With Them BIBAK 31-38
  T. J. M. Bench-Capon; A. M. McEnery
A view of human-human interaction is presented and its implications for human-computer interaction discussed. Two propositions are advanced. The first is that interaction with computer systems is properly seen as mediated discourse, more akin to reading books and notices than interpersonal dialogues. The second proposition is a consequence of this, namely that unconstrained natural language is unlikely to provide an ideal form of interface.
Keywords: Natural language, Human-computer interaction, User models, Pragmatics


Interacting WITH Computers BIBAK 39-42
  Judith Barlow; Roy Rada; Dan Diaper
In contrast with the claims of Bench-Capon and McEnery (1989), this paper argues that users of computer systems will find it more profitable to model the computer system than to model its programmers. However, Bench-Capon and McEnery's views about the limitations of natural language for interacting with computers are supported.
Keywords: User models, Human-computer interaction, Natural Language


Lean Cuisine: A Low-Fat Notation for Menus BIBAK 43-68
  M. D. Apperley; R. Spence
The specification, design, implementation and control of highly interactive direct manipulation dialogues is of increasing interest. However, existing techniques fall well short of the goal of isolating the design of the dialogue from the detail of its implementation. This paper closely analyses the structural characteristics of menu systems, a major component of such dialogues, and arising from this analysis proposes a new diagrammatic approach to their description. This approach is shown to be able to completely specify the details and behaviour of a system of menus from an external point of view. The parallels between this notation and the recently defined class of automata, Event-Response Systems, are discussed, demonstrating the potential for a direct implementation of an interface from this description. Further, it is suggested that the notation could be extended to cover all aspects of direct manipulation interaction.
Keywords: Dialogue design, Design notation, Menu dialogues, Menu syntax, Dialogue control
Explanatory Dialogues BIBAK 69-92
  Alison Cawsey
Explanations are important in many areas of human-computer interaction. In help systems, tutoring systems and within expert system, lengthy explanations of some topic or justifications of some reasoning process may be required. If a long explanation is given, there is good chance that at some point the user will 'lose track', and fail to grasp the main content of the explanation. There has therefore been recent emphasis on generating explanations and textual descriptions that are tailored to the knowledge and goals of the particular user. However, there is no guarantee that such a model will be accurate. By allowing interactions with the user within the explanation this no longer becomes crucial. Then, if users are confused in the middle of an explanation they can interrupt and seek clarification, and the system may provide explicit checks on the user's understanding.
   Therefore this paper presents an approach to explanation generation based on the assumption that explanations must both use and track a model of what the user knows, and also involve interactions with the user. The framework is based on sociolinguistic studies of human-human interaction as well as artificial intelligence work on explanation, text planning, tutoring and user modelling. It has been implemented and used for generating tutorial explanatory dialogues in electronics.
Keywords: Explanation, Dialogue, Artificial intelligence, Intelligent tutoring systems, Help systems, Discourse structure
Moral Judgements in Designing Better Systems BIBAK 93-104
  David J. Pullinger
A framework is presented for considering the areas in which computing and ethics relate. The framework examines five areas: the ethics of conduct and practice among computer professionals; the consequences of computerisation that may lead to acts which may be considered subjects of ethical enquiry; moral problems that are highlighted by computing, but are not particular to it; aspects of computing that lead to moral questions; and ways in which computing changes the practice of ethics itself. This provides a basis both for examining why it is difficult for members of the professional computer societies to engage in ethics and for arguing the particular role that HCI could have in engaging in ethical enquiry.
Keywords: Ethics, Morals, Human-computer interaction, Social implications, Social responsibility
Icons at the Interface: Their Usefulness BIBAK 105-117
  Yvonne Rogers
Iconic interfacing is now widespread. Increasing aspects of the system functionality -- including objects, options, operations, states and messages -- are being represented at the interface in this pictorial form. Against this zeitgeist, this paper sets out to discuss how useful icons really are and whether they live up to their expectations. A classification of the function and form of icons is outlined together with a proposal of the way in which a simple grammar of icon forms which maps onto the underlying system structure can be developed. Finally theoretical issues are discussed in the way in which information from icon-based displays is used when performing a task at the interface.
Keywords: User interface design, Icons, Pictorial representation, Symbol systems, Visual memory
Who's Joking? The Information System at Play BIBAK 118-128
  Jacqueline G. Ord
While studying cultural aspects of the installation of a computerized messaging system, at least one terminal was seen to be used mainly for playful purposes during the first three months after installation. The convivial messages produced comprise an unusual kind of data, since until the advent of electronic systems, such exchanges were rarely presented in writing (publicly, at least). They are explored within a framework which distinguishes between formal and convivial types of exchange on the one hand, and written and spoken exchanges on the other. The messages arise spontaneously out of people experimenting with a new medium. Their existence raises questions about the relations between electronic technology and formal and convivial modes of organisation, and it is suggested that serious attention should be paid to convivial modes of organisation in designing and implementing electronic messaging systems.
Keywords: Culture, Electronic messaging, Organisation, Play

IWC 1989 Volume 1 Issue 2


A Formal Structure for Automatic Icons BIBAK 131-140
  Kim Fairchild; Greg Meredith; Alan Wexelblat
The paper presents a formal structure for describing icons and their relations to objects. Icons are mappings from icon space, which deals with representational properties, to object space, which deals with computational objects. The nature of this mapping is formally described. An extension called automatic icons is proposed. The automatic-icon model subsumes currently-used static and animated icons and gives powerful and flexible new tools we call automatic icons. Some applications of automatic icons, and a tool built by the authors to help system designers create automatic icons, are described. The processes outlined in this paper are the subject of a pending patent.
Keywords: User interface design, Icons, Automatic icons, Formal structure
Human Factors in Expert System Design: Can Lessons in the Promotion of Methods be Learned from Commercial DP? BIBAK 141-158
  Clive Bright; Ann Innman; Rob Stammers
The way that human factors methods and information are presented to designers of expert systems is extremely important if such methods are to be widely adopted. The nature of human factors knowledge makes such presentation problematic. The problems are somewhat analogous to those encountered in the promotion of 'structured development standards' within the commercial data processing environment. In commercial DP, structured development standards are promoted on the basis that increased development costs incurred at an early stage can be offset by reduced maintenance and enhancement costs later on. Within human factors, the user-centred design approach to expert system development is promoted on the basis that it will increase the likelihood of producing 'useful' and 'usable' systems. In neither DP nor human factors, can tangible benefits of adopting more rigorous methods be provided. Both, however, appeal, to some extent, to the 'common sense' of the system developers. By comparing the two fields the paper assesses whether human factors specialists might learn from their DP counterparts when attempting to promote the adoption of appropriate methods. One feature of DP structured development standards which is pertinent to human factors is that of 'tailorability'. The paper discusses the suggestion that the adoption of the human factors methods will largely depend on the way that such methods can be tailored to meet the requirements of expert system development in industrial and commercial environments. An analysis of these requirements, through a series of case studies, is being conducted, and this work is briefly described.
Keywords: Human factors, Expert systems, User-centred design, Commercial DP, Development standards, Structured methods
Inductive Analysis Applied to the Evaluation of a CAL Tutorial BIBAK 159-170
  A. Brooks; P. Vezza
A human-computer interaction experiment is reported in which subjects used a CAL (computer-aided learning) tutorial to solve four problems about housing benefit regulations. The results are analysed inductively, with the analysis expedited by the use of inductive rule learning techniques. The results of the inductive analysis were unavailable at the time. Traditional statistics were used in the comparative evaluation of the CAL tutorial. Consequently a useful insight into the advantages of inductive analysis was provided and it is suggested that such an analysis might be of use for any HCI experiment. By way of a benchmark test, the result of applying inductive rule learning to Fisher's data is presented.
Keywords: Rule induction, Experiment, CAL, StrathTutor, Housing benefit regulations
Computer Technology and Knowledge Workers: A Pilot Study of Job Impact BIBAK 171-182
  Kathleen Foley Curley
There is general agreement that the rapid spread of computing technology to 'end-users' across a variety of occupations will have profound impact on the future working life of almost every individual. There is however much disagreement on what the nature of that impact will be. During a pilot study on end-user computing we conducted in-depth interviews with 12 'knowledge workers' about the impact of computer technology on their jobs and their working life. One objective of the research was to get a clearer understanding of how people individually feel about their jobs and their use of computers. From their experiences and drawing on the research of others, the author identifies four job impacts. These are not meant to be an exhaustive list, but rather frame the range and quality of impact as the people who work with the technology have described it. Two of these impacts seem to be unique to information or 'intellectual technologies' that support knowledge workers, while two appear to be more universal themes of technological change. Identifying these dominant impacts provides a more focused picture of how individuals are currently coping with the infusion of computer technology and at the same time what they speculate about the future of working life in an information-intensive age.
Keywords: Computer technology, Jobs, Job demands, Job influences
Human Factors of Journal Usage and Design of Electronic Texts BIBAK 183-189
  Andrew Dillon; John Richardson; Cliff McKnight
The paper reports on a study of journal usage amongst human factors researchers. The aim of the study was to shed light on how journals are used with a view of making recommendations about the development of a full-text, searchable database that would support such usage. The results indicate that levels of usage vary over time, the range of journals covered is small and readers overlook a large proportion of the contents of articles. Furthermore, three reading strategies are observed which indicate that the presentation of journal articles is not ideally suited to their uses. The implications of these findings for developing suitable computer-based applications are discussed.
Keywords: Electronic text, Journal usage, Hypertext, Reading from screens and paper, Text manipulation, Reading strategies
The Personal Browser: A Tool for Directed Navigation in Hypertext Systems BIBAK 190-196
  Andrew Monk
In most hypertext applications there will be occasions where the user knows the location of the information being sought because that location has been visited regularly in the past. This directed navigation can be distinguished from exploratory navigation where the user cannot specify precisely where the information might be within the hypertext system. Directed navigation can be facilitated by providing a personal browser which lists and gives direct access to frequently visited locations selected by the user.
   Different ways in which this could be implemented are discussed including facilities for automating the addition of new buttons to the personal browser. An appendix provides the code needed to program a demonstration withing HyperCard. This monitors the number of times each card in the stack is visited and asks whether a button should be added after a card has been visited some criterion number of times.
Keywords: Hypertext, Browsing, Navigation
'Working-to-Rules': A Case of Taylor-Made Expert Systems BIBAK 197-219
  Peter Holden
Taylorism popularised the view that through the fragmentation of manual tasks into specialised, repeatable constituent activities, and the removal of tacit knowledge and discernment from the shopfloor worker, there would be significant increases in productivity. Where Taylorism mechanised and downgraded manual tasks, this paper argues that a similar 'machine-centred' approach towards the development of expert systems will degrade the characteristics of human knowledge through an emphasis upon the automation of expertise. In order to move away from an automation focus, it is necessary to move towards systems which augment rather than replace the qualities of human tacit knowledge. Problem identification is a critical first stage in the development lifecycle because it is here where the decision to enhance or replace expertise is made. It is a process of understanding the problem from a number of perspectives; however, the emphasis under Taylorism is upon the technical dimension, with a disregard for organisational and human factors which are the central factors in the identification process. The multiple-perspective concept embraces the technical, organisational and personal perspectives in a wider framework of enquiry. It should help those responsible for introducing expert systems into an organisation to recognise the limitations of a purely technical perspective and to choose the right combination of elements to match the specific needs of the organisation.
Keywords: Taylorism, Expert systems, Development framework, Scientific management, Technical perspective, Multiple-perspective

Author's Reply

Modelling Devices and Modelling Speakers BIBAK 220-224
  T. J. M. Bench-Capon; A. M. McEnery
The roles played in an illocutionary act by models of the means of communication and the communicator are distinguished, and qualitative differences between the models appropriate in the two cases identified. Applied to human-computer interaction, that means that a user must have models of the computer both as a communications device and a communications medium, and of the system author as interlocutor.
Keywords: Speech acts, Illocutionary acts, User models, Human-computer interaction

IWC 1989 Volume 1 Issue 3


Shaping User Input: A Strategy for Natural Language Dialogue Design BIBAK 227-244
  Martin D. Ringle; Richard Halstead-Nussloch
Traditional approaches to natural language dialogue interface design have adopted ordinary human-human conversation as the model for online human-computer interaction. The attempt to deal with all the subtleties of natural dialogues, such as topic focus, coherence, ellipsis, pronominal reference, etc. has resulted in prototype systems that are enormously complex and computationally expensive.
   In a series of experiments, we explored ways of minimizing the processing burden of a dialogue system by channeling user input towards a more tractable, though still natural, form of English-language questions. Through linking a pair of terminals, we presented subjects with two different dialogue styles as a framework for online help in the domain of word-processing. The first dialogue style involved ordinary conversational format. The second style involved a simulation of an automated dialogue system, including apparent processing restrictions and 'system process messages' to inform the subject of the steps taken by the system during query analysis. In both cases human tutors played the role of the help system. After each dialogue session, subjects were interviewed to determine their assessments of the naturalness and usability of the dialogue interface.
   We found that user input became more tractable to parsing and query analysis as the dialogue style became more formalized, yet the subjective assessment of naturalness and usability remained fairly constant. This suggests that techniques for channeling user input in a dialogue system may be effectively employed to reduce processing demands without compromising the benefits of a natural language interface. Theoretically, this data lends support to the hypothesis that unrestricted human-human conversation is not the most appropriate model for the design of human-computer dialogue interfaces.
Keywords: User interfaces, Dialogues, Natural language
A Knowledge-Based System with Audio-Visual Aids BIBAK 245-258
  Koichi Tabata; Shigeo Sugimoto
A Knowledge-based System with Audio-Visual Aids (KS/AV) is presented. KS/AV is a knowledge-based system that has multiple types of knowledge represented not only in symbols but in audio-visual (AV) images, and it provides an environment for human-machine communication through AV media. We define a predicate logic based on objects for knowledge representation in KS/AV. It is a first order predicate logic in which every individual is regarded as an object. All of the individuals including AV images are regarded as objects. Their definitions are based on the class concepts of Smalltalk-80. AV image objects presented in this paper include not only simple video and graphic images, but also composite images that consist of several component images. This paper presents the KS/AV system developed on a small computer system with various AV equipment. As a case study, we developed a reading advisory system for children on KS/AV, which communicates with children through AV images and gives their favourite picture books.
Keywords: Knowledge-based system, Predicate logic based on objects, Logic oriented knowledge representation, Object oriented knowledge representation, Audio-visual images, Image-based human-machine communication
Interacting with Electronic Mail Can be a Dream or a Nightmare: A User's Point View BIBAK 259-272
  Nava Pliskin
Diffusion of electronic mail (e-mail) is not yet universal. So far, e-mail has been implemented successfully within organisations, but its implementation for communications between organisations has been rather limited. This situation is surprising, given the great potential of e-mail for interorganisational communication. E-mail encounters from a user's point of view, reviewed in this paper, suggest that users of BITNET, one of the predominant e-mail networks in the academic world, face difficulties while interacting with e-mail. These include addressing difficulties, unreliability issues, medium limitations, and interface problems. BITNET is just one of many interorganisational networks and may not be representative. Still, e-mail technology is unlikely to survive if human engineering and reliability are not uniformly satisfactory across all e-mail systems. Poorly engineered e-mail systems frustrate not only their users, but also users of other networks because of gateways between the networks. Therefore, e-mail users might resort to other communication media like facsimile or the telephone, and abandon e-mail altogether.
   For e-mail to be competitive in the communication arena, an interdisciplinary effort should be directed toward standardisation of features like better addressing conventions, international user directories, uniform user interfaces, and sophisticated management of e-mail messages.
Keywords: E-mail, User interface, Reliability, Communication media
The Application of Metaphor, Analogy, and Conceptual Models in Computer Systems BIBAK 273-283
  Lucy Anne Wozny
People using computer systems naturally relate what they are experiencing to what they already know. This general cognitive process can be classified into metaphoric, analogical, and modelling processes. Metaphor, a term applied often to today's computer systems, is the process of representing the computer system with objects and events from a noncomputer domain, such as the popular desktop metaphor. Analogy is a comparison between objects or events that serve the same purpose but have different representations. Models are representations of the abstract conceptual structure of a computer system. This paper outlines the differences between these three processes and applies them to the computer domain. Implications for computer systems design are also discussed.
Keywords: Cognitive science, Computer models, Metaphors, Analogies, Conceptual models
Exploiting Convergence to Improve Natural Language Understanding BIBAK 284-298
  R. G. Leiser
Convergence is the phenomenon in human dialogue whereby participants adopt characteristics of each other's speech. Communicants are unaware of this occurring. If it were possible to invoke such a phenomenon in a natural language interface it would provide a means of keeping user inputs within the range of lexical and syntactic coverage of the system, while keeping the dialogue 'natural' in the sense of requiring no more conscious effort in observing conventions of format than human-human dialogue.
   A 'Wizard of Oz' study was conducted to test the feasibility of this technique. Subjects were required to type queries into what they thought was a natural language database querying system. On completion of input the system presented a paraphrase for confirmation by subjects before presenting the answer. The paraphrases were constructed using particular terms and syntactic structures. Subjects began to use these terms and structures spontaneously in subsequent queries.
   Observation of convergence in human-computer dialogue suggests that the technique can be incorporated in user interfaces to improve communication. The implementation issues for natural language dialogue are discussed, and other applications of the technique in HCI are outlined.
Keywords: Natural language, Dialogues, User interfaces, Convergence
The User Interface in a Hypertext, Multiwindow Program Browser BIBAK 299-337
  Richard H. C. Seabrook; Ben Shneiderman
The program browsing problem is discused, with particular emphasis on a multiple-window user interface and its implications for recording acquired knowledge, navigation, and attention-tracking. Hypertext systems are considered as an implementation of browsing techniques for nonprogram text. A classification scheme for text-viewing systems is offered, and then browsing is discussed as a nonintrusive, static technique for program study.
   Multiple techniques are synthesised into a coherent plan for a multiwindow program study tool, based on theories of program browsing and the use of hypertext. A text system, HYBROW, emerged from the plan for studying the application of several hypertext multiple-window techniques to program browsing, especially window replacement. HYBROW is a hypertext, multiple-window program browser. This generic tool is applicable to any source language, although certain aspects of the preprocessing and the hierarchical browser presentation are specific to the C language. The tool permits opening an arbitrary number of text windows into an arbitrary number of files, rapid window switching, multiple-window search, placemarking, automatic screen organisation, and services for the creation, maintenance and production of study notes. An informal usability study was conducted.
Keywords: User interfaces, Windowing systems, Hypertext, Browsing systems


The Individual 'Working-to-Rules': Reducing Determinism in Taylor-Made Expert Systems BIBAK 338-342
  J. A. Shelton
Holden (1989) suggested that Taylorist scientific management principles, based upon machine-like models of man, may influence the development and application of expert systems. While Holden's work is a major contribution to the debate on the effects of technology on employment, it is argued that a similar deterministic and mechanistic image of the users of expert systems is implicit in his paper. In addition, this commentary also addresses some of the related issues concerning autonomous expert systems.
Keywords: Taylorism, Expert systems, Scientific management