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IWC Tables of Contents: 010203040506070809101112

Interacting with Computers 2

Editors:Dan Diaper
Standard No:ISSN 0953-5438
Links:Table of Contents
  1. IWC 1990 Volume 2 Issue 1
  2. IWC 1990 Volume 2 Issue 2
  3. IWC 1990 Volume 2 Issue 3

IWC 1990 Volume 2 Issue 1


The Contribution of Practitioner Case Studies to Human-Computer Interaction Science BIB 3-7
  Ruven Brooks


You're Right About the Cure: Don't Do That BIBAK 8-25
  Harold Thimbleby
A major factor of system usability is whether the system works at all. This paper discusses bugs and the social environment that allows and encourages them to exist. Many bugs are known about and accepted when software is released to users. They could have been corrected if there had been any motivation to do so. Although individual programmers are often responsible for bugs, various forces within the computing industry, including mistrust of users, drive software manufacturers to strategies that exacerbate the problems. Such methods as software manufacturers adopt 'in defence' not only work against users but also undermine scientific work, which in turn retards the advancement of HCI generally.
Keywords: Human-computer interaction, Bugs, Software reliability


Redefining Software: A Comment on Thimbleby's Paper BIBAK 26-32
  Paul A. Booth
The aim of this commentary is not to examine Thimbleby's criticisms of the general state of software, but to question his suggested solutions to this problem. Thimbleby proposes two remedies: that software manufacturers be made legally and financially responsible for any loss or damage that arises as a result of any dysfunction of their software, and that these manufacturers employ formal methods as a means of ensuring the consistency and quality of their products. Although these proposals might appear eminently reasonable, it is suggested that these issues are more complex than they first appear, and that the remedies proposed by Thimbleby have a number of shortcomings.
Keywords: Software, Formal methods, Human-computer interaction, Field trials


A Methodology for the Design of Computerised Qualitative Research Tools BIBAK 33-58
  John Read Davies
To produce a design specification for tools to aid the ethnographic researcher in the task of qualitative data analysis, close collaboration is required between ethnographer and system designer. A collaborative design methodology is proposed which includes: interviews, graphical models of the analysis process, verbal protocols, a task-theoretic analytic model, and two successive prototype systems. The issues involved in putting the methodology into practice are reported together with the results at each stage. The project was successful in producing a specification for a system with which potential users were very satisfied. An implementation of the system needs much testing 'in the field' before a conclusion can be reached on its general suitability for ethnography.
Keywords: Human-computer interaction, Data analysis, Design methodology
Using a Touchscreen for Simple Tasks BIBAK 59-74
  John D. Gould; Sharon L. Greene; Stephen J. Boies; Antonia Meluson; Marwan Rasamny
This work was done in the context of an interdisciplinary project (called ITS) aimed at producing new tools for computer application development. One motivation is to provide designers with a computer-based toolkit from which they can select human-computer interaction techniques appropriate to various contexts and conditions. These experiments extend our work to touchscreens, and provide a basis of comparison with keyboards and arrow keys. Three human-computer interaction methods, including basic entry and autocompletion, were studied in two simple laboratory scenarios: participants specified dates and airlines reservations. Autocompletion was preferred over, and was faster than, basic entry. The a priori countable, minimum number of touches required to use a particular interaction method is a good predictor of how much time people will need to use that interaction method on a particular task. Similar results were found previously with keyboards and arrow keys.
Keywords: Human-computer interaction, Input devices, Touchscreens, Autocompletion
The Predictability of Commands in a Spreadsheet Program BIBAK 75-82
  Norman S. Guadagno; David M. Lane; Richard R. Batsell; H. Albert Napier
The ability to predict users' commands in Lotus 1-2-3 was investigated. Keystroke data was collected from subjects in their normal work environment, with over 2700 commands being analysed. The data was used to construct transitional probability matrices that were then used to predict commands based on their immediate predecessors. Approximately half of the users' commands were correctly predicted in this manner. Also of interest was how often the users' commands would be either the most likely or the second most likely command given the previous commands. When the previous two commands were used to derive two predictions, the probability that the users' next command would be one of the two predicted commands was 0.81. The average probability of command repetition was 0.33. It was concluded that users appear to be extremely predictable in the Lotus 1-2-3 environment, and this predictability could serve as the foundation for an interface that aids the user by providing easy access to the next most likely command to be issued and by adapting the probabilities of command use over time.
Keywords: User interfaces, Command predictability, Spreadsheet programs
An Overview of Knowledge Acquisition Methods BIBAK 83-91
  Margaret Welbank
An introduction to the different knowledge elicitation methods in common use is given in this article. First, the considerations that are most important in determining the choice of knowledge elicitation method in practical business contexts are discussed. This is followed by a list of methods, described in terms of these considerations. The paper concludes with a brief discussion of the practical application of the methods.
Keywords: Knowledge-based systems, Knowledge acquisition
USTM: A New Approach to Requirements Specification BIBAK 92-118
  Linda Macaulay; Chris Fowler; Mark Kirby; Andrew Hutt
The problem of inadequate requirements specification is well known. It is argued here that many of the problems stem from an insufficient user orientation on the part of the specifiers. A number of current approaches to requirements specification are reviewed and the need for a methodological approach to requirements capture and specification is discussed. The criteria for the design of a good methodology are deduced from the literature and a novel approach to requirements specification is described: this is the User Skills and Task Match (USTM) methodology. USTM is assessed against other current approaches and the specified criteria. The aim of the USTM methodology is to provide a user-centred approach to requirements specification. Attention is focused on users and their environment at the earliest stage of development in order to facilitate production of software that provides appropriate functionality and that clearly supports users in carrying out their roles at work, i.e. supports the users' cognitive, social and organisational needs. USTM involves generating data about users and their environment and then following a structured procedure in order to derive functional and nonfunctional requirements. The methodology is designed for use by groups of people, typically from marketing, product design, document design and user organisations, who are concerned with the specification of requirements for 'generic' systems. A 'generic' system is one that is designed to satisfy the needs of many different customers/markets (e.g. a point-of-sale system or personnel system).
Keywords: Design methodologies, Requirements specification, User-centred approaches, Cooperative requirements capture, Group working support methods, Marketing to design

Author's Reply

Human-Centered Expert Systems: A Response to Taylorism and the Scientific Paradigm BIBAK 119-128
  Peter Holden
Taylorism cannot be rationalised at the individual perspective to the exclusion of the business, technical and political perspectives. Nor can Taylorism be discussed as a historian might. Taylorism is a real and visible dimension of a wider scientific paradigm which pervades British Industry. Expert systems and advanced information technology are especially prone to this paradigm. A failing is that the UK, unlike Japan and some European countries, has yet to recognise this.
Keywords: Taylorism, Expert systems, Machine-centred, Human-centred

IWC 1990 Volume 2 Issue 2


What Philosophy Can Offer to Information Science: The Example of Medical Expert Systems BIBAK 131-146
  Jacques N. Catudal
The objective of this article is to begin recovering an account of knowledge organisation that is based on the cumulative contributions philosophers have made to this topic throughout history, and to provide an account that is immediately useful to information scientists who face the problems of information organisation. For the purpose of this exercise, I treat the terms 'knowledge' and 'information' as synonyms; both 'knowledge organisation' and 'information organisation' are understood in this special sense to entail the activity of organising concepts. Accordingly, I argue that hierarchical concept organisations are most usefully conceived of as dynamic and open-ended systems; I also detail the difference the argument makes to the construction and management of concept organisations for use in medical expert systems.
Keywords: Knowledge organisation, Medical expert systems, Philosophy
A Meta-model for Interacting with Computers BIBAK 147-160
  Jakob Nielsen
A large number of models and definitions of the term 'model' are used in the field of human-computer interaction. A taxonomy of the relevant models together with a proposed set of names for the most commonly used types of models is presented. This framework offers a more systematic approach to the use of HCI models than the patchwork of different definitions currently used.
   Further, a notation is introduced to classify the different kinds of models in a systematic and readable way.
   The basis for this taxonomy is the definition of the actors of interest in building the models: the user, the designer, the computer system, the researcher, the task domain, the world, and the manual. Each model has one subject (owner) which is one of these actors. Each model also has an object which may be either an actor, a combination of actors, or another model. For example, a metaphor may be considered as a model of the user's actual conceptual model of the computer system (i.e. a class UUC-model: a user's model of a user's model of a computer)
Keywords: Models, Terminology, Taxonomies, Notation, Metaphors, Conceptual models
Expanding Human-Computer Interaction by Computer-Aided Creativity BIBAK 161-174
  Tapani Savolainen
The paper suggests that human-computer interaction should be enhanced by embedding computer-aided creativity (CAC) features into systems to use a larger portion of human skills and to include some motivational and emotional aspects into systems thus making them easier to accept. The paper is a revised work based on the author's previous papers about computer-aided creativity (Savolainen, 1988; 1989). The research is still in the idea-definition phase, but there is already some evidence deduced from existing phenomena and early CAC experiments that a special CAC viewpoint to interface design might be appropriate. The reason for early publishing is the need for interdisciplinary discussion and development of ideas in the rather new area of CAC.
Keywords: Human-computer interaction, Computer aided creativity, Representation
Human Aspects of Interactive Multimedia Communication BIBAK 175-189
  Stephen Gale
The aim of the VISION project was to determine the value added to an office system by incorporating audio and video. The performance, feelings and perceptions of work groups were measured while they carried out cooperative tasks in a controlled environment using an experimental video communication system. The results showed no significant differences in the quality of the output, or the time taken to complete the tasks, under three conditions: data sharing; data sharing plus audio; data sharing plus audio and video. The results suggest that high bandwidth communication is particularly effective for social, informal communication. Finally, some of the implications and issues for HCI community are discussed.
Keywords: Multimedia, Interpersonal communication, Office systems, Computer supported cooperative work, Group interfaces
Historical Analysis: A Method for Evaluating Requirement Capture Methodologies BIBAK 190-204
  C. J. H. Fowler; M. A. R. Kirby; L. A. Macaulay
Historical analysis is a new method for evaluating requirement capture methodologies. The method consists of three components. First there is the application of a specification analysis technique. This technique is applied to the requirement specification of an existing software product, and is used to predict performance of a product built to that specification. The second component involves surveying actual use of the product. The third component allows a comparison to be made between the predicted and actual product performance. A valid requirements capture methodology should successfully anticipate a significant number of the actual performance problems. The method was used to evaluate the user skills and task match (USTM) methodology. Two case studies were undertaken. The results from the case-work confirm the value of USTM, and demonstrate the power of the historical analysis method as an evaluation tool.
Keywords: Requirements capture methodologies, Evaluation product dysfunction, Stakeholder analysis


Lean Cuisine: No Sauces, No Courses! BIBAK 205-216
  Gilbert Cockton
Apperley and Spence's Lean Cuisine is presented as a notation for early menu design, based on idealised definition of a meneme. This presentation is misleading. Rather, Lean Cuisine addresses one part of the design on the intended conceptual model for a system. Lean Cuisine is unnecessarily constrained by the arbitrary narrowing of what a meneme can be. The meneme and menu rationale behind Lean Cuisine is examined, and rejected in favour of an empirical requirements-bases approach. An architectural context is used to re-present the Lean Cuisine technique as an application modelling abstraction.
Keywords: Menu design, Design notations, Application modelling, Abstraction


An Interface Prototyping System Based on Lean Cuisine BIBAK 217-226
  P. S. Anderson; M. D. Apperley
Lean Cuisine, an interface design notation derived from a study of the behaviour of menu systems is examined as the basis for a prototyping environment for direct manipulation interfaces. By using the Seeheim model for user interface management systems to categorize the model information that can be extracted from a Lean Cuisine specification, it is shown that a description of both the action and control layers can be derived. The direct implementation of these layers from a Lean Cuisine specification is described.
Keywords: Interface design tools, Interface design techniques, Rapid simulation, Prototyping
Enhancing the Efficiency of Multiparty Interaction Through Computer Mediation BIBAK 227-246
  David G. Novick; Jonathan Walpole
People use various techniques to reduce the complexity of realtime multiparty conversational interaction. These techniques -- formal meetings, for example -- generally restrict the format of the interaction in an attempt to reduce the amount of control information which must be processed by each conversant. This allows the conversants to concentrate more on domain specific information but severely reduces the efficiency of interaction. Previous approaches to the design of computer-mediated interaction (CMI) systems have largely attempted to automate such mechanisms.
   This paper examines the current state of research in the area of CMI systems and suggests a new direction for research in this area based on the utilisation of control information to increase communicative efficiency. To demonstrate the practical application of these ideas, an initial design for a CMI system which uses the concept of virtual conversants is presented. The CMI system assumes the burden of processing control information and presents to each conversant:
  • a two party interaction model for control information
  • a multiparty interaction model for domain information.
    Keywords: Computer-mediated interaction, Multiparty interaction, Communication
  • Commentary

    Further Discussion on Increasing the Efficiency of Multiparty Interaction BIB 247-252
      Tom Boyle

    IWC 1990 Volume 2 Issue 3


    3M: A User Modelling Interface of an Expert System for X-Ray Topographic Image Interpretation BIBAK 259-278
      Tardi Tjahjadi; D. Keith Bowen; Jeffrey R. Bevan
    This paper discusses user modelling techniques and presents the design and implementation of the 3M user modelling interface of INTEREX. INTEREX is an expert system for X-ray topographic image interpretation which assists its users in identifying and analysing a number of defects that can occur in high-quality crystals. 3M consists of a monitor, a model and a modifier. It is used to adapt the consultation route and the explanations provided by INTEREX to three categories of users. It demonstrates the use of an implicit, individual, dynamic and long-term user model to enable an expert system to accommodate users with different levels of expertise.
    Keywords: User interface, User modelling techniques, User models, Expert systems, X-ray topography
    HCI 'Intraface Model' for System Design BIBAK 279-296
      Michael Forrester; David Reason
    We outline an alternative model of the interface in HCI, the 'intraface', in response to design issues arising from navigational and learning problems in hypertext domains. Ours is a model of general application to computer systems. It is composed of four key elements, identifiable within a dynamic interconnected context. These are the user; his/her interests; the tools employed and the 'ensemble' of representations brought to bear. In this paper we sketch the present shortcomings of HCI design before outlining the background for the model which draws upon two themes in contemporary psychology, conversational analysis and 'affordance' realist theories in perception. This framework allows for the development of principles of cooperation, user engagement and learning in HCI environments.
    Keywords: Intraface, HCI design, Conversational analysis, The 'affording' intraface
    Monitoring Hypertext Users BIBAK 297-312
      Cathy Taylor; John Self
    This paper reports a study to investigate the feasibility of using techniques of learner modelling from intelligent tutoring systems to support users of hypertext systems. The problems of disorientation experienced by hypertext users may be less significant in educationally realistic settings that suggested by previous studies. As a result of our study we conclude that (1) users are rather good at monitoring their own use of a hypertext system and (2) provided that the user's goals and expert paths through the database are both known, then the system, by the overlay modelling technique, may successfully monitor the user's actions.
    Keywords: Learner models, User models, Hypertext, Intelligent tutoring, Browsing
    Planning Procedural Advice BIBAK 313-329
      G. Nigel Gilbert; Marina Jirotka
    A planner which generates advice about the procedures which should be carried out by a human agent in order to achieve a goal is described. The fact that the agent is a person, not a robot, makes it possible to develop plans cooperatively with the user in the course of a dialogue, but imposes special requirements on the planner. The planner should be capable of taking advantage of the user's knowledge and abilities; of providing partial plans; of planning even in the absence of complete knowledge about the user's current state; of re-planning when the execution does not succeed or the situation changes; and of providing explanations of its advice. The paper considers the implications of these requirements on the design of such an advisory planner, implemented as part of the 'Advice System', a knowledge-based system for advising members of the public about welfare benefits.
    Keywords: Planning, Cooperative systems, Advice, Procedures
    Reflexive CSCW: Supporting Long-Term Personal Work BIBAK 330-336
      Harold Thimbleby; Stuart Anderson; Ian H. Witten
    CSCW (computer-supported cooperative work) is an active research area with many promising applications and benefits. We argue that the plight of the individual user can also be viewed as a CSCW problem, for the individual frequently acts as multiple persona: performing many independent tasks, perhaps in several places. We propose reflexive CSCW to address such issues. Solutions in the reflexive case will of course be of benefit to users even if they are working in a conventional multi-user CSCW context; proposed solutions in CSCW can be re-presented for individual users.
    Keywords: Reflexive CSCW, Personal interfaces, Project management
    Incremental Maintenance of Semantic Links in Dynamically Changing Hypertext Systems BIBAK 337-366
      Simon M. Kaplan; Yoelle S. Maarek
    One purported advantage of hypertext systems is the ability to move between semantically related parts of a document (or family of documents). If the document is undergoing frequent modification (for example while an author is writing a book or while a software design stored in the hypertext system is evolving) the question arises as to how to incrementally maintain semantic interconnections in the face of the modifications.
       The paper presents an optimal technique for the incremental maintenance of such interconnections as a document evolves. The technique, based on theories of information retrieval based on lexical affinities and theories of incremental computation, updates semantic interconnections as nodes are checked into the hypertext system (either new or as a result of an edit). Because we use the semantic weight of lexical affinities to determine which affinities are meaningful in the global context of the document, introducing a new affinity or changing the weight of an existing affinity can potentially have an effect on any node in the system. The challenge met by our algorithm is to guarantee that despite this potentially arbitrary impact, we still update link information optimally.
       Once established the semantic interconnections are used to allow the user to move from node to node based not on rigid connections but instead on dynamically determined semantic interrelationships among the nodes.
    Keywords: Incremental maintenance, Semantic links, Hypertext systems
    Datenbank-DIALOG: How to Communicate with Your Database in German (and Enjoy It) BIBAK 367-381
      Harald Trost; Ernst Buchberger
    The paper discusses the requirements for practical natural language interfaces (NLIs), claiming that acceptance is not only based on the linguistic capabilities of a system but on other features as well, particularly portability and ease of handling. It is shown how these features have been realised in Datenbank-DIALOG, a German language interface to relational databases. After a brief look at the linguistic capabilities of Datenbank-DIALOG we demonstrate our approach towards a portable and easy-to-handle system. We also show the dependability of the solutions on the design of the core system. The aspects mentioned have rarely been treated in the technical literature, furthermore it is their combination and interaction that makes Datenbank-DIALOG a suitable device for casual users of databases.
    Keywords: Natural language processing, Database interface, Artificial intelligence