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IWC Tables of Contents: 0102030405060708091011121314151617

Interacting with Computers 7

Editors:Dan Diaper
Standard No:ISSN 0953-5438
Links:Table of Contents
  1. IWC 1995 Volume 7 Issue 1
  2. IWC 1995 Volume 7 Issue 2
  3. IWC 1995 Volume 7 Issue 3
  4. IWC 1995 Volume 7 Issue 4

IWC 1995 Volume 7 Issue 1

Towards Modelling Exploratory Learning in the Context of Direct Manipulation Interfaces BIBAK 3-24
  Herre van Oostendorp; Benjamin J. Walbeehm
The characteristics of direct manipulation interfaces (DMIs) are examined. The main purpose of this examination is to provide ideas for future research on modelling exploratory learning in the context of using DMIs.
   Four topics are discussed: the perceptual characteristics of DMIs, exploratory learning and display-based problem-solving in general, modelling human-computer interaction in the context of DMIs, and the consequences of DMIs for modelling the interaction by means of a production system.
   Specifically, the questions that are discussed are: first, how do DMIs afford, encourage and support exploratory learning, and how can typical DMI characteristics such as the objects on the screen be included in models of user behaviour? Second, what are the characteristics of problem-solving and exploratory learning in the context of visual displays? Third, how is novice behaviour and, more generally, problem-solving modelled in the context of human-computer interaction?
   In the final section, suggestions are made based on the topics discussed, with the aim of presenting some steps towards developing a model consisting of production rules that can simulate human interaction with DMIs more adequately than has been the case thus far. Two important consequences of DMIs for modelling human interaction are discussed. First, the external display of DMIs allows recognition instead of recall. Consequently, production rules can be more recognition-based. Second, with regard to the structure of production systems, the mechanism of partial matching is proposed to account for errors during performance. Constraints and affordances can be accounted for by proposing production rules to fire context-dependently, and by assuming that production rules can be meaningfully grouped and actively scanned for a match.
Keywords: Human-computer interaction, Exploratory learning, Direct manipulation interface
Multi-Paradigm Query Interface to an Object-Oriented Database BIBAK 25-47
  Dac Khoa Doan; Norman W. Paton; Alistair C. Kilgour; Ghassan al-Qaimari
The object-oriented paradigm has a number of widely recognised strengths when applied to data management, but the increased complexity of actual systems compared with their relational predecessors often means that such databases are less readily accessible to non-programmers than relational systems. A number of proposals have been made for textual, form-based and graph-based query interfaces to object-oriented databases, but it is clear that a single approach cannot be considered to be the best, given the wide range of potential user groups, application domains and tasks. The paper presents a query interface to an object-oriented database which supports alternative user-level query paradigms in a fully integrated environment, thereby enabling different categories of user to select a preferred interface paradigm from a list of options. Furthermore, the interface enables users to examine queries written in one query interface using any of the other interface paradigms, which is useful for sharing queries in the multi-paradigm context, and for helping users familiar with one approach to learn another. The system has been prototyped using the ADAM object-oriented database system, and an experimental comparison of different interaction modes has been conducted.
Keywords: Human computer interaction, Object-oriented database, Query interface
Lean Cuisine+: An Executable Graphical Notation for Describing Direct Manipulation Interfaces BIBAK 49-71
  Chris Phillips
The paper describes an executable semi-formal graphical notation, Lean Cuisine+, for describing the underlying behaviour of event-based direct manipulation interfaces, and outlines a methodology for constructing Lean Cuisine+ specifications. Lean Cuisine+ is a multi-layered notation, and is a development of the meneme model of Lean Cuisine. A motivation of the research stems from the need for tools and techniques to facilitate high-level interface design. The research supports and brings together a number of views concerning the requirements of notations at this level. These are that a notation should be semi-formal, graphical, executable, and object-based, and that to be most effective it should be targeted at a specific category of interaction. The Lean Cuisine+ notation meets all these criteria, the underlying meneme model matching closely with the selection-based nature of direct manipulation interfaces.
Keywords: Human computer interaction, Interface design, Direct manipulation, Graphical dialogue notations
Experimental Comparison between Automatic and Manual Menu Interface Design Methods BIBAK 73-89
  Peretz Shoval
An experimental comparison between two methods of designing a menu-tree interface for an information system is described. The 'automatic' method is based on the ADISSA methodology (architectural design of information systems based on structured analysis) according to which the interface is derived automatically from dataflow diagrams (DFD) as a by-product of the system analysis stage. In the 'manual' ('conventional') method the designer constructs an appropriate interface by applying common principles of interface design. The objective of the experiment is to find out which design method yields a better initial interface, before it is given to users for further improvements. The user's viewpoint is adopted i.e., the interface was evaluated subjectively. The hypothesis is that menu-trees designed automatically are as good as those designed by people.
   The experiment included six information system development projects. One menu-tree interface was designed automatically for each system. Four others were designed manually by different designers who were assigned randomly to the systems. The five different interfaces of each system were given to 16 potential users for evaluation and comparison. Analysis of the results revealed no significant difference between the mean scores of the two types of interface. Noting that the automatic menus are obtained as a by-product of the system analysis stage, and that they can be improved by users during prototyping, it is concluded that the method provides a good start for the interface design.
Keywords: Human-computer interaction, System analysis, Interface design
Integrating Technologies to Support Action BIBAK 91-107
  Clive Holtham
As computer supported co-operative work (CSCW) becomes of increasing practical significance in business and public sector organisations, there is a need to develop a framework which can embed CSCW within the wider needs of the organisation. It is proposed here, based on specific study into the group working of executives, that such a framework needs to draw on the four domains of business drivers, information, human and social aspects, and technology. In much of the work to date for executives, there has been a preoccupation with their decision support needs. It is proposed that 'systems to support action' (SSA) should be given greater significance. The framework to underpin SSA could be based on one of the systems approaches, and that particularly examined here is managerial cybernetics, as developed by Stafford Beer.
Keywords: Human-computer interaction, Computer supported cooperative work, Systems to support action

IWC 1995 Volume 7 Issue 2

The Case for Supportive Evaluation During Design BIBAK 115-143
  Jon May; Philip Barnard
The relevance of human-computer interaction to industry is being questioned, and the emphasis is shifting away from providing generalised support to systematic evaluation methods, typified by cognitive walkthroughs (CW). The evidence suggests that CW has not proved as effective as hoped. This evidence is examined, and the authors argue that the problem lies not with CW or its underlying theory in particular, but with its limited scope and in the increasing dissociation of an evaluation method from its theoretical foundation. Evaluation methods retaining a theoretical element would provide the necessary conceptual support to enable designers to identify, comprehend and resolve usability problems, and would also be less limited than dissociated evaluation methods in their breadth and depth of application. A vision of a 'supportive evaluation' tool is presented and cognitive task analysis (CTA), the methodology upon which a proof-of-concept tool has been based is described. Three brief design scenarios are described to illustrate how CTA supports the identification and resolution of usability problems and the role of cognitive modelling in the context of design is discussed.
Keywords: Human computer interaction, User interface, Cognitive walkthrough, Cognitive task analysis

Australasian Special Issue (Part 1)

Harmony through Working Together: Editorial to the Australasian Special Issue BIB 145-149
  Steve Howard; Ying K. Leung
Colour in Map Displays: Issues for Task-Specific Display Design BIBAK 151-165
  Walter Smith; John Dunn; Kim Kirsner; Mark Randell
Colour is generally regarded as a desirable property of computer displays chiefly because it supports users' preattentive visual processes, such as texture segregation, which rapidly organize and structure screen information. This paper examines the use of colour in computerized map displays of the sort used by geographic information systems. In particular, it focuses on the perception of patterns formed by subclasses of map symbols, defined by colour or shape. Three experiments are reported which confirm the utility of colour, but which also identify two potential problems: interference of task-irrelevant colour and superficial processing of spatial configurations of colour-defined symbols. These findings support a general argument that colour should not be preferred automatically, but rather its utility depends on the cognitive demands of the task for which the display is designed.
Keywords: Geographic information systems, Map displays, Colour
Process Support: Inflexible Imposition or Chaotic Composition? BIBAK 167-180
  Geraldine Fitzpatrick; Jim Welsh
Current process support systems seek to impose a process structure which controls the work of participants in co-operative work activities. This structure is based on the false premise that the global order emergent from the chaotic dynamics of work processes can be used to prescribe local activity which is in fact situated and unpredictable. A spatial approach to the support of cooperative work processes is proposed. A space of work is defined, incorporating service, information, role and artefact objects, to capture the bounds and characteristics of the global order. The situated reality of work processes is supported by enabling participants to compose objects dynamically to form their own process path through the space.
Keywords: Human-computer interaction, Workflow, Groupware
Computer Anxiety: Correlates, Norms and Problem Definition in Health Care and Banking Employees using the Computer Attitude Scale BIBAK 181-193
  Ron Henderson; Frank Deane; Kate Barrelle; Doug Mahar
Computerised systems have become an integral part of modern business practice and it has become increasingly difficult to avoid daily interaction with computerised technology. With this expansion has come the modern day malaise of 'computer anxiety'. The paper reports normative data and correlates of computer anxiety in three separate samples (N = 255) using the Computer Attitude Scale (Loyd and Gressard, 1984). In an effort to estimate the impact of computer anxiety in the workforce, three non-academic samples from the health and banking sector were studied. Using a clinical reference group an attempt to estimate the potential range of problematic levels of computer anxiety was made. Prior relationships between age, sex, computer experience and computer anxiety previously found in student/teacher samples were replicated in the present study. The practical implications of computer anxiety and potential interventions aimed at reducing computer anxiety are discussed.
Keywords: Human-computer interaction, Computer anxiety, Computer Attitude Scale
Four Principles of Groupware Design BIBAK 195-210
  Andy Cockburn; Steve Jones
Groupware design is at a stage where identification, clarification and validation of best practice is critical if its potential is to be realised. The paper examines and records the major causes of groupware failure, and provides four groupware design principles that encapsulate the problems and guide design teams around them. The principles provide an extendable framework that is a synthesis of design lessons recorded in CSCW literature.
Keywords: Human-computer interaction, Groupware, Design, Principles, User-acceptance

IWC 1995 Volume 7 Issue 3

Australasian Special Issue (Part 2)

Functional Visual Programming Interface to Geographical Information Systems BIBAK 219-236
  Craig Standing; Geoffrey G. Roy
Geographical Information Systems (GIS) are now widely used for the manipulation of spatial data. Clear limitations in the design of GIS for the user are identified, notably the limited knowledge represented within the systems, the time and difficulty involved in becoming a competent user and, in many cases, the low-level nature of the commands. One of the principal requirements of a more knowledgable GIS involves the representation of knowledge related to a number of features: the data in the system; the operations that can be performed; the processing of requests; and the presentation of results. Many of the ideas presented can be generally applied to other query language driven systems.
   The approach taken to the design and implementation of a prototype high-level interface to GIS is based on the functional style of programming. Functional languages appear to offer some important properties, for example: the strong and polymorphic typing and the ease with which new types can be defined; the ability to order the knowledge base within functions; and the facility to create functional hierarchies composed of compound or higher-order functions which allow high-level operations to be manipulated as units. It is described how a functional solution to the problems can be represented by a command based approach and how this can be improved upon through the use of a graphical user interface with direct manipulation of objects/icons.
Keywords: Human-computer interaction, Functional programming, Visual programming
Video Support for Shared Work-Space Interaction: An Empirical Study BIBAK 237-253
  Masood Masoodian; Mark Apperley; Lesley Frederickson
A study has been carried out to identify the effects of different human-to-human communication modes on dyadic computer supported group work. A pilot study evaluated an available shared work-space software system, supplemented by face-to-face, telephone-based, and text-based communication modes between the two users. The findings from this study were then used to design an extensive experiment to explore the relative impact of face-to-face, full-motion video, slow-motion video, and audio-only communication modes when used in conjunction with this type of CSCW system. This paper describes the experiments, and examines the findings of this empirical study with the aim of establishing the importance of co-presence in CSCW, and the effectiveness of these various communication modes in achieving it.
Keywords: Human-computer interaction, Computer supported cooperative work, Group work, Video conferencing
Human Performance in Fault Diagnosis: Can Expert Systems Help? BIBAK 254-272
  Gitte Lindgaard
Two unrelated fields are compared within which fault diagnosis plays a significant role: medical and process control. It is argued that the diagnostic process may be seen to be very similar regardless of the domain of application, and that characteristics of human problem solving are common to all domains, including medicine and process control. However, it is shown that the kind of computer support needed to enhance diagnostic activities varies considerably between these domains. Judgemental biases and application of inappropriate heuristics are shown to be as prevalent among expert diagnosticians in both domains as among non-experts, and the complex concept of diagnosticity is apparently poorly understood. For that reason, medical experts need assistance in generating a wider range of hypotheses than they habitually consider and also in generating probabilistic information to supplement diagnostic performance. By contrast, multilevel displays that emphasize the relationship between critical variables in perceptually salient ways are needed to support process control operators.
Keywords: Human-computer interaction, Problem solving, Expert systems

Research Papers

Database Systems: Challenges and Opportunities for Graphical HCI BIBAK 273-303
  Peter Sawyer; John A. Mariani
Databases and their applications form one of the most important classes of computer systems yet they have received relatively little attention from the HCI community. They have nevertheless spawned some notably innovative user interfaces and it is interesting to examine these in the light of contemporary HCI issues. The paper addresses the relationship between HCI and database systems, reviews some of the major themes running through existing database user interfaces and postulates some issues which are likely to be important to database usability in the future. The underlying argument is that databases are sufficiently different from other classes of application to necessitate a raft of user interface techniques specifically for the needs of database users which would reward increased attention by the HCI community.
Keywords: Human-computer interaction, Graphical user interfaces, Databases
Modelling of Menu Design in Computerized Work BIBAK 304-330
  Julie A. Jacko; Gavriel Salvendy; Richard J. Koubek
The objective of the research was to propose and validate a theoretically meaningful link between three constructs of hierarchical menu design: menu dimension, task complexity, and user knowledge structure. Twenty-four subjects participated in a nested factorial experiment. The subjects performed a menu retrieval task using a hierarchical menu system constructed for use in the domain of utility boiler control. The dependent variables were time to respond and accuracy. The independent variables were menu dimension, task complexity and user knowledge structure. Four hypotheses were tested. The foundation of the hypotheses was based upon the premise that when task complexity is low, the short-term memory requirements of the menu retrieval task are low. Thus, the user's knowledge structure will not affect performance because it is not required for the chunking of visual information. The objectives of this research were met and are presented in the context of an information processing model for psychomotor tasks.
Keywords: Human-computer interaction, Menu design, Task complexity

IWC 1995 Volume 7 Issue 4

PETRA: Participatory Evaluation Through Redesign and Analysis BIBAK 335-360
  Susi Ross; Magnus Ramage; Yvonne Rogers
Compared with single user-computer interactions, evaluating multiuser-computer interactions is much more complex. We argue for multiplicity -- of theory, method and perspective -- in the evaluation of computer-supported collaborative work (CSCW). This allows us to address both theoretical concerns and practical design issues, and to incorporate the expertise and experiences of both researchers and participants. We propose the PETRA framework, incorporating a theoretically-driven evaluators' perspective to investigate the collaborative activity, and a design-based, user-focused participants' perspective to evaluate the supporting tool. Our study investigated collaborative writing, both in a face-to-face context, and supported by a computer-based group editor. In our instantiation of the PETRA framework, we used distributed cognition and a form of breakdown analysis to investigate the development of shared understanding in the two different mediating settings; and devised a rapid prototyping session (inspired by participatory design) to elicit participant reactions to and redesigns of the tool interface. Our findings show that computer-supported shared understanding develops technologically, using social coordination as a repair mechanism; and that the collaborative tool must be particularly sensitive to issues of awareness, communication, focus and ownership.
Keywords: Human-computer interaction, CSCW evaluation, Collaborative writing
Field Evaluation of a Prototype Laser Safety Decision Support System BIBAK 361-382
  Anthony Clarke; Basil Soufi; Luise Vassie; John Tyrer
A field evaluation of a decision support system prototype is described. The system is designed to aid the decision making of laser safety hazard assessors and laser manufacturers. The aims of the evaluation were to establish the usefulness and usability of the system, and to indicate where design changes might be needed. Three complementary methods namely observation evaluation, expert evaluation, and survey evaluation were used. Fifteen laser safety hazard assessors took part in the evaluation as subjects. Objective and subjective data were analysed and areas of user difficulty with the system were identified. The system was well-received although some pointers to modification for the eventual delivery system were identified. It is concluded that the aims of the evaluation were successfully met.
Keywords: Human-computer interaction, Decision support system, Usability
Menu -- What Menu? BIBAK 383-394
  Lynne E. Hall; Xavi Bescos
In recent years information system interface design has become increasingly dominated by the use of menus, with the majority of systems relying on static menus as their main dialogue structure. Alternatives to this interface style are explored, and through the discussion of an application developed in banking a number of alternative styles which can be used are detailed. The usability and utility of this application is evaluated with positive results. It is suggested that while menus are a viable and useful interface design design technique, the use of other techniques should also be encouraged, and that small-scale innovations in interface design will improve the variety, usability and acceptability of information systems.
Keywords: Human-computer interaction, Menus, Interfaces
Theoretical Examination of the Effects of Anxiety and Electronic Performance Monitoring on Behavioural Biometric Security Systems BIBAK 395-411
  Frank Deane; Ron Henderson; Doug Mahar; Anthony Saliba
Computerised biometric systems are automated methods of verifying or recognising the identity of a user on the basis of some physiological characteristic, like a fingerprint or some aspects of behaviour such as keystroke patterns. Behaviourally based biometric systems include signature, speaker and keystroke verification. The investigation of psychological factors which might impact on the efficiency of a behavioural biometric computer security monitoring system has to our knowledge not been conducted. Of particular concern in the present paper are the potential effects of state anxiety on individual's physiological and performance responses. It is suggested that in a behaviourally based biometric computer security monitoring system, state anxiety may have sufficient effects to alter typical physiological and performance responses, resulting in an increased risk of security challenges, interruption of work-flow and resultant poor performance. It is also proposed that behaviourally based biometric systems may have the potential to be used as electronic performance monitoring systems, and typical responses to such systems need to be examined when developing and implementing any behaviourally based biometric security system.
Keywords: Anxiety, Computer security, Electronic performance monitoring
An Examination of Four User-Based Software Evaluation Methods BIBAK 412-432
  Ron Henderson; John Podd; Mike Smith; Hugo Varela-Alvarez
Usability has become an important factor in the design of interactive software. In the quest to develop usable software, user participation in the design and evaluation process has been advocated. Four methods; logged data, questionnaires, interviews, and verbal protocol analyses have been the prominent base evaluation methods used, sometimes being combined in an attempt to provide a comprehensive evaluation. However, little is known about the strengths and weaknesses of these methods. In this study, these four methods were used to evaluate three different software types (spreadsheet, word processor, and database) with 148 subjects participating. The data obtained enabled a number of conclusions to be drawn regarding the usefulness of the methods when used individually and in combination.
Keywords: Human-computer interaction, Software evaluation, Usability