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IWC Tables of Contents: 01020304050607080910111213

Interacting with Computers 3

Editors:Dan Diaper
Standard No:ISSN 0953-5438
Links:Table of Contents
  1. IWC 1991 Volume 3 Issue 1
  2. IWC 1991 Volume 3 Issue 2
  3. IWC 1991 Volume 3 Issue 3

IWC 1991 Volume 3 Issue 1


Importance of Failure Analysis for Human-Computer Interface Design BIB 3-8
  Thomas T. Hewett


Direct Manipulation Interaction Tasks: A Macintosh-Based Analysis BIBAK 9-26
  C. H. E. Phillips; M. D. Apperley
Direct manipulation interfaces cover a range of interactions involving a variety of styles. An important first step in developing techniques for describing and implementing asynchronous interactive dialogues of the type found in direct manipulation environments is an understanding of the underlying interaction tasks viewed from a user perspective. This paper reviews previous attempts to classify interaction tasks, examines them in the context of the Macintosh environment and proposes a taxonomy of tasks. Particular attention is devoted to tasks involving repeated actions. It is shown that all tasks reduce to selection sub-tasks, which has implications for the types of tools and techniques needed to describe and implement direct manipulation interfaces. In particular it is suggested that the meneme model of Lean Cuisine (Apperley and Spence, 1989) which was developed in the context of menu systems, and is based on selectable representations of objects, could be extended to handle the other interactions of a direct manipulation interface.
Keywords: Direct manipulation, Interaction tasks, Macintosh interface, Design notations
Adaptive Predictive Text Generation and the Reactive Keyboard BIBAK 27-50
  John J. Darragh; Ian H. Witten
The paper explores the application of predictive text generation to the human-computer interface. Predictive techniques exploit the statistical redundancy of language to accelerate and amplify user inputs. Acceleration is achieved by making more likely language elements faster to select, while amplification is accomplished by selection of concatenated elements. The language models used are created adaptively, decoupling the prediction mechanism from the application domain and user's vocabulary, and conforming automatically to whatever kind of text is entered.
   A device called the 'reactive keyboard' is described along with two user interface implementations, one for keyboard entry and the other for a mouse/window environment. A clear separation is made between the system's user interface and the underlying model it employs, and the two versions share the same prediction technique and adaptive modelling mechanism. The basic idea is to order context-conditioned candidate strings, which are predicted by the model, according to frequency and display them for selection.
Keywords: Communication aid, Predictive text generation, Adaptive modelling, Disabled users, Typing aid, Human-computer interface, Command-line editing
Rapid Prototyping in Human-Computer Interface Development BIBAK 51-91
  H. Rex Hartson; Eric C. Smith
Some conventional approaches to interactive system development tend to force commitment to design detail without a means for visualizing the result until it is too late to make significant changes. Rapid prototyping and iterative system refinement, especially for the human interface, allow early observation of system behaviour and opportunities for refinement in response to user feedback. The role of rapid prototyping for evaluation of interface designs is set in the system development life-cycle. Advantages and pitfalls are weighed, and detailed examples are used to show the application of rapid prototyping in a real development project. Kinds of prototypes are classified according to how they can be used in the development process, and system development issues are presented. The future of rapid prototyping depends on solutions to technical problems that presently limit effectiveness of the technique in the context of present day software development environments.
Keywords: Rapid prototyping, Human-computer interaction, Prototyping, User interface, Development environment, Development methodology, Evaluation, Life-cycle, Software tools, User interface management
Teaching the Practitioners: Developing a Distance Learning Postgraduate HCI Course BIBAK 92-118
  Jenny Preece; Laurie Keller
This paper reports on HCI education and on issues in HCI needing resolution when developing a course in human-computer interaction.
   We also look at how HCI can be taught, particularly to professional engineers, scientists and managers, using distance teaching and predicated on students using their industrial base as a classroom and laboratory.
   The paper also draws a comparison between the practices of user-centred iterative software design and the way that our course was developed.
Keywords: Curriculum development, Multidisciplinary, Theory, Practice, Knowledge, Tools, Terminology, Distance learning, User-centred course development
Rogerian Psychology and Human-Computer Interaction BIBAK 119-128
  H. W. Killam
Psychology is an important part of human-computer interface design, and many schools of psychology have contributed to our understanding in this area. Humanistic psychology, particularly the work of Carl Rogers and his client-centred approach to therapy, is one area of psychology that has not been directly applied to human-computer interaction, yet it is being applied unknowingly. The paper presents an overview of the development of Rogerian psychology and attempts to show how its principles are currently being addressed in human-computer interface design. It is hoped that an understanding of the humanistic perspective will provide insight into why certain guidelines and applications elicit user acceptance while others do not. Particular areas of computer use and specific applications where this knowledge can be applied are discussed.
Keywords: Human-computer interaction, Psychology, Human factors

IWC 1991 Volume 3 Issue 2


IMAGES: A User Interface Development System BIBAK 131-154
  J. Alves Marques; Nuno Guimaraes; L. Pinto Simoes
The paper describes the user interface (UI) environment developed for the SOMIW (Secure Open Multimedia Integrated Workstation) project. The basic goals of the project were the definition of a comprehensive architecture handling all relevant UI concepts and the implementation of an interface generator integrated in the programming environment. Other goals were related to the specific requirements of a multimedia workstation (image, voice synthesis and recognition), distribution and integration with the operating system.
   The architecture of the user interface management system is based on a conceptual virtual environment defined by an object-oriented computational model, and visualization and input models. This environment is described in the initial sections, followed by an outline of the specification and generation tools. We conclude by describing the internal details of IMAGES, the implementation techniques in development and the target machines.
Keywords: User interface management systems, Object-oriented programming
Users, A Software Usability Model and Product Evaluation BIBAK 155-166
  Richard Holcomb; Alan L. Tharp
The paper advances an amalgamated model of software usability in conjunction with a method for improving the usability of commercial software products. The model organises the substantial amount of prior research on software usability into seven basic principles, their underlying attributes, and associated relative weights. This model of software usability for human-computer interaction has two primary goals: first, to allow software designers to make quantitative decisions about which usability attributes should be included in a design; and second, to provide a usability metric by which software designs can be consistently rated and compared. The paper focuses on the second goal.
   Since it is ultimately the users of a software system who decide its usability, the method proposed suggests that the users be made an integral part of the software design and development process. It recommends that the users of current and future software products be asked, through questionnaires, how well a product meets the principles and underlying attributes of usability as defined by the model. Only if the ultimate users of a product are pleased is a product likely to succeed.
   The paper reviews the model and its evaluation. It then illustrates the method by describing its use in evaluating a particular word-processing product, WordPerfect. In that evaluation, 988 questionnaires were sent to users of the product.
Keywords: Human-computer interaction, Usability, Software design, WordPerfect
Interactive Modelling in Decision Support Systems BIBAK 167-186
  Matthew R. Jones
In the past, the use of computer models in decision support has involved the interpretation of written reports derived from the output of the model. In recent years, however, the development of microcomputers and distributed computing systems has made it possible for decision-makers to be provided, not with a written report, but with a copy of the model itself. The new relationship between the user and the model, which this development establishes, has important implications for the way in which decision support systems (DSSs) are designed and used.
Keywords: Human-computer interaction, Decision support systems, Interfaces
Visual Simulation as an Aid to Understanding Computer Functions BIBAK 187-203
  Inger V. Eriksson; Annika E. Finnas; Pekka Reijonen
A help system with a visual simulation model is presented and evaluated. The simulation model allows the user to follow the transactions in a storage department on different hierarchical levels of detail; transaction flows between departments and units, detailed manipulation on the section level, and step-by-step progress of computer functions. The time dimension is taken into consideration, and the transactions can be followed forwards but may also be traced backwards. The backward trace is accomplished by two history files concerning data and actions taken. The model is designed to be used in two modes: simulation controlled by the system and simulation controlled by the user, controlled and interactive simulation, respectively. A prototype version of controlled simulation is presented as an example. Performed experiments show that the simulation model is useful as an aid in learning to understand computer functions.
Keywords: Simulation, Visualization, Help-system, Information system, End-user knowledge, Learning
Observations and Inventions: New Approaches to the Study of Human-Computer Interaction BIBAK 204-216
  Andrew F. Monk; P. C. Wright
Dissatisfaction with the traditional model of HCI research borrowed from experimental psychology has lead to a number of interesting new approaches. One is the so-called 'hermeneutic approach' based on field research methods. Another is to apply existing theory from cognitive psychology. This paper is mainly concerned with a third discernible approach based around a study of the artifacts or inventions built to facilitate human-computer interaction. The effectiveness of different system features is explained by reference to the user's task. The investigation of 'observation-invention pairs' is suggested as a way of providing generalisations about user behaviour consistent with this approach. The observation part is a statement about the behaviour of users with some specific generality. The invention serves to illustrate the observation's implications for design and provides a heuristic for further inventions. The paper relates observation-invention pairs to other analyses of artifacts and concludes that they have a place as general statements of knowledge for HCI design.
Keywords: Human-computer interaction, User behaviour, Observation-invention pairs
Visual Guidance for Information Navigation: A Computer-Human Interface Design Principle Derived from Cognitive Neuroscience BIBAK 217-231
  Gary W. Strong; Karen E. O'Neill Strong
Cognitive neuroscience describes the important function of the 'where' cortical processing system in directing attention to locations in space at which the 'what' cortical processing system identifies information. Spatial information detected by the 'where' system therefore indexes content information. Studies have shown that such spatial indexing can occur in recall as well as in the direction of perception within a stimulus array. Application of spatial indexing, as understood in cognitive neuroscience, to the design of computer interfaces would more closely couple computer applications to human information processing capabilities. A principle of computer-human interface design is offered which takes spatial indexing into account at both the screen and application levels. The principle states that designers should communicate via a spatial code in the range of possible behaviours available from each location within the application. In other words, the designer must define an information space and present it to users from each location-relative point of view as they navigate through the space rather than from an absolute, location-independent point of view as if they are looking down from above. The goal of this paper is to get computer-human interface designers to recognize that people are actually highly skilled navigators within three-dimensional space and that interfaces would improve if designers would take such skills into account.
Keywords: Human-computer interaction, Interface design, Spatial indexing
Report on the INTERACT'90 Workshop on Education in HCI: Transcending Disciplinary and National Boundaries BIB 232-240
  Marilyn Mantei; Thomas Hewett; Ken Eason; Jenny Preece

IWC 1991 Volume 3 Issue 3


Context and its Representation BIBAK 243-252
  Geoff Cooper
Recent work in HCI has argued that an adequate account of computer use and the user's understandings should pay attention to the contexts in which interactions take place. The paper reaffirms this claim and distinguishes some variants of it, but simultaneously argues that the specification of what is to count as 'context' is more problematic than is often supposed. Some empirical data in the form of a transcribed videotape of one interaction is discussed to illustrate the argument. Finally, some implications for HCI are briefly considered.
Keywords: Human-computer interaction, Context, Ethnomethodology, Practical reasoning, Representation
Improving Touchscreen Keyboards: Design Issues and a Comparison with Other Devices BIBAK 253-269
  Andrew Sears
The study explored touchscreen keyboards using high precision touchscreen strategies. Phase one evaluated three possible monitor positions: 30°, 45°, and 75° from horizontal. Results indicate that the 75° angle, approximately the standard monitor position, resulted in more fatigue and lower preference ratings. Phase two collected touch bias and key size data for the 30° angle. Subjects consistently touched below targets, and touched to the left of targets on either side of the screen. Using these data, a touchscreen keyboard was designed. Phase three compared this keyboard with a mouse-activated keyboard, and the standard QWERTY keyboard for typing relatively short strings of 6, 19, and 44 characters. Results indicate that users can type approximately 25 words/minute (wpm) with the touchscreen keyboard, compared to 17 wpm using the mouse, and 58 wpm when using the keyboard. Possible improvements to touchscreen keyboards are suggested.
Keywords: Human-computer interaction, Interaction devices, Touchscreens
Cognitive Assessment of Alternatives BIBAK 270-282
  Robert Spence; Maureen Parr
To support a wide range of cognitive tasks involving the relative assessment of alternative choices, the authors advocate consideration of the simultaneous presentation of those choices, each choice being represented by a multidimensional icon (a 'portrayal') whose features encode the attribute values of a particular choice. An experiment is reported which focused on the relative merits, for a decision-making task, of textual and graphical (iconic) descriptions of alternative choices. Significant effects of representation and choice population on time taken to reach a solution were found.
Keywords: Cognition, Decision-making, Choice-representation
The Challenge of Interface Design for Communication Theory: From Interaction Metaphor to Contexts of Discovery BIBAK 283-301
  Mary A. Keeler; Susan M. Denning
Those who study interface design still have not resolved the issue of whether the computer is a passive medium or a communicative participant with which we can hope to 'engage in conversation'. The authors think that this controversy reflects an inadequate philosophy of interface design, which cannot account for what purpose a medium serves in a human communication. In a short history of human-computer interface research, we trace the development of this philosophy through three generations of computer interface technology and find that its failure lies in the conceptual limitations of its driving concept of interaction.
   Just as the concept of interaction provided the transition from the past (command-line interface) to the present (desktop metaphor interface), perhaps, the concept of engagement can provide the transition from our present understanding of the 'interactive desktop' interface to multimedia's 'contexts of discovery'.
   The development of multimedia gives interface designers the ultimate challenge to develop interface technology that will simulate human-to-human communication. Should human communication theory be able to treat the conceptual deficiencies of interface design philosophy? The authors find fundamental challenges here and briefly indicate what Charles S. Peirce's semiotic might offer as an age-old remedy.
Keywords: Human-computer interaction, Interface design, Multimedia
Visual Development of Database Applications BIBAK 302-318
  Levent V. Orman
An exclusively visual approach to the development of database applications is introduced. Graphical tools and techniques are designed to represent all components of an application system, and all phases of the development process. Data, constraints, queries, transactions and programs are all expressed graphically. Analysis, design, maintenance, and even inference are carried out using graphical techniques. The visual approach is expected to be most appropriate for end users, and it is likely to encourage end-user participation in application development.
Keywords: Visual development, Database application, Application development, Visual language, Visual design
A Survey of CSCW Systems BIBAK 319-353
  Tom Rodden
Over the last decade, computer supported cooperative work (CSCW) has emerged as an identifiable research area that focuses on the role of the computer in group work. CSCW is a generic term which combines the understanding of the nature of group working with the enabling technologies of computer networking, systems support and applications. The paper examines the classes of system which have emerged to support cooperative working. A framework for characterising and describing CSCW systems is presented and four major classes of cooperative system identified. Each of these classes of cooperative system are examined highlighting their general characteristics and applicability to CSCW.
Keywords: Computer supported cooperative work, Message systems, Conference systems, Authoring systems