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Interacting with Computers 9

Editors:Dan Diaper
Publisher:Elsevier Science
Standard No:ISSN 0953-5438
Links:Table of Contents
  1. IWC 1997 Volume 9 Issue 1
  2. IWC 1997 Volume 9 Issue 2
  3. IWC 1998 Volume 9 Issue 3
  4. IWC 1998 Volume 9 Issue 4

IWC 1997 Volume 9 Issue 1

Multimodal Messages: The Pen and Voice Opportunity BIBAK 1-25
  Owen Daly-Jones; Andrew Monk; David Frohlich; Erik Geelhoed; Steve Loughran
Analyses of the costs and benefits of asynchronous communication, and the complementary properties of writing and speech, are used to predict that messages containing both writing and speech will be more communicative than either medium alone. Two experimental studies of asynchronous messaging are presented. Both experiments examine the use of pen-and-voice messages, that is voice messages attached to 'scribbled', i.e., uninterpreted text. The control conditions were voice messages alone, equivalent to an answerphone, and scribbled messages alone, equivalent to a fax. In Experiment 1 the visual component of the pen-and-voice messages was static, in Experiment 2 users could record short 'movies' including speech and pen movements over a document surface. Users showed a significant preference for the pen-and-voice messages in both experiments. In Experiment 2 half the number of pen-and-voice messages were required to achieve the same task performance as in the control conditions. It is concluded that dynamic pen-and-voice messages have considerable potential advantages over current single medium asynchronous communication facilities such as fax, answerphone, voicemail and e-mail.
Keywords: Human-computer interaction, Communication, Messaging
The Computer Science Education Crisis: Fact or Illusion? BIBAK 27-45
  Hyacinth S. Nwana
Some contemporary or relatively recent articles, studied together, seem to suggest that computer science education is in a state of crisis. But, is it? This article examines the arguments. My preliminary findings are that if you examine the arguments from a positivist stance, you may well infer that there is a crisis, but if you view them from a constructivist perspective, the crisis becomes an illusion. The article concludes by setting a research question, the outcome of which may establish more conclusively if the crisis is indeed true or illusory.
Keywords: Computer science, Positivism, Constructivism, Computer science education
Assessing the Cognitive Consequences of the Object-Oriented Approach: A Survey of Empirical Research on Object-Oriented Design by Individuals and Teams BIBAK 47-72
  Francoise Detienne
This paper presents a state-of-the-art review of empirical research on object-oriented (OO) design. Many claims about the cognitive benefits of the OO paradigm have been made by its advocates. These claims concern the ease of designing and reusing software at the individual level as well as the benefits of this paradigm at the team level. Since these claims are cognitive in nature, it seems important to assess them empirically. After a brief presentation of the main concepts of the OO paradigm, the claims about the superiority of OO design are outlined.
   The core of this paper consists of a review of empirical studies of OO design (OOD). We first discuss results concerning OOD by individuals. On the basis of empirical work, we (1) analyse the design activity of novice OO designers, (2) compare OOD with procedural design and (3) discuss a typology of problems relevant for the OO approach. Then we assess the claims about naturalness and ease of OOD. The next part discusses results on OO software reuse. On the basis of empirical work, we (1) compare reuse in the OO versus the procedural paradigm, (2) discuss the potential for OO software reuse and (3) analyse reuse activity in the OO paradigm. Then we assess claims on reusability. The final part reviews empirical work on OOD by teams. We present results on communication, coordination, knowledge discrimination and interactions with clients. Then we assess claims about OOD at the software design team level.
   In a general conclusion, we discuss the limitations of these studies and give some directions for future research.
Keywords: OO Design, OO Reuse, Design strategies, Design organization, Typology of problems, Psychology of programming
Supporting User-Adapted Interface Design: The USE-IT System BIBAK 73-104
  D. Akoumianakis; C. Stephanidis
This paper describes USE-IT, a knowledge-based tool for automating the design of interactions at the physical level, so as to ensure accessibility of the target user interface by different user groups, including people with disabilities. To achieve this, USE-IT elicits, manipulates and interprets representations of design knowledge in order to reason about, select and decide upon lexical adaptation constituents of a user interface. Adaptation constituents are attributes of abstract interaction object classes. USE-IT generates a collection of adaptation rules (i.e. a lexical specification scenario), based on design constraints generated from three basic knowledge sources: (a) the user model, (b) the task schema, and (c) a set of platform constraints (i.e. interaction objects, attributes, device availability, etc.). A data structure called the adaptability model tree has been designed to (i) facilitate the development of plausible semantics of adaptation at the lexical level of interaction, (ii) allow unification of design constraints, and (iii) enable selection of maximally preferred design options. The output of USE-IT can be subsequently interpreted by the run-time libraries of a high-level user interface development toolkit, which provides the required implementation support for realizing the user-adapted interface on a target platform.
Keywords: User interface adaptation, Design representation, Design assistance

IWC 1997 Volume 9 Issue 2

Special Issue: Formal Aspects of Human Computer Interaction

Editorial Formality, Its Role in Bridging the Communication Gap between Humans and Computers BIB 105-110
  Jawed Siddiqi; Chris Roast
Human-Formalism Interaction: Studies in Communication through Formalism BIBAK 111-128
  Keith Stenning; Corin Gurr
A recurrent theme in studying the interaction between human and formalism is the understanding of how people interact with representations in reasoning and communication. In contrast to the best known theories, which approach the question of the impact of representation upon reasoning through explanations in terms of human computational architecture, we present here a more fundamental approach. This approach separates the problem into two parts -- issues about computational complexity arising from the nature of the semantic interpretation (issues which are abstract with regard to architecture); and issues about how human computational architecture in particular can be brought to bear on different representations. On this view, for example, diagrams are often logically inexpressive and this is why they lead to efficient inference.
   This paper presents experiences in applying this semantic approach to the empirical study of modality assignment in three disparate domains: logic teaching, safety critical software engineering and the teaching of formality. We show how, in each of these cases, an account of the semantics of representations in simple formal terms permits the analysis and modelling of what would otherwise be incomprehensibly complicated behavioural phenomena. The results of these apparently diverse studies indicate that individual differences in what might be termed cognitive styles have a significant effect upon a humans use and understanding of various formalisms. This, we argue, is evidence that HCI researchers require a more analytical means to relate the cognitive and social sides of HCI than has previously been available. Furthermore, we also take the studies presented here as evidence that our approach is a substantial step towards providing such a means of analysis.
Keywords: Cognitive science, HCI, Representation and reasoning, Teaching and learning, Formal methods
Synergistic Modelling of Tasks, Users and Systems using Formal Specification Techniques BIBAK 129-153
  Philippe Palanque; Remi Bastide
This paper aims at clarifying the articulation between the task models and system models encountered in CHI design practices. We demonstrate how the use of a formal task model may enhance the design of interactive systems, by providing quantitative results on which designers may base their decisions. We also demonstrate that it is possible to describe both task and system models within the same formal framework. This enables us firstly to formally prove that task and system models comply with each other, and secondly to perform quantitative analysis on the combination of task and system models. The approach is illustrated by a toy example which, despite its small size, allows us to develop both task and device models, and to perform several iterations of the design process. The device and tasks are modelled using the Interactive Cooperative Objects (ICO) formalism, which is based on Petri nets and on the object-oriented approach. The formality of Petri nets allows for axiomatic validation of isolated and interacting subsystems.
Keywords: Interactive systems design, Task modelling, Performance evaluation, Formal specification, Petri nets
Using the Template Model to Analyse Directory Visualisation BIBAK 155-172
  Chris Roast; Jawed Siddiqi
This article describes the template framework, a conceptual abstraction that enables both system and user properties to be combined. The intended purpose of the framework is illustrated through an example of applying it in the assessment of a commercially available interface for visualising and managing a directory service. The template framework is one technique for promoting the recognition of human factors within formal system modelling. The framework encourages the recognition and formalisation of system features that are relevant to effective use. Through examining interaction and interface designs in this way, assumptions about intended use, system design and user tasks can be made explicit.
   An informal description along with a partial formal development of the directory service and its interface is given, as well as an outline of the sort of tasks it may be expected to support. An analysis of the interface in terms of the adherence between its 'system provided view' and the 'user expected view' is carried out which is investigated in terms of a generic notion within the template model known as output correctness. The investigation focuses on determining the specification constraints required to satisfy output correctness and explores the implications of these constraints upon interface design.
Keywords: Formal modelling, Usability requirements, Visualisation, Directory service
Formal Reasoning about Dialogue Properties with Automatic Support BIBAK 173-196
  Fabio Paterno
One of the advantages of using formal methods in the design of human-computer interfaces is the possibility to reason about user interface properties. Model checking techniques provide a useful support to this end. This paper discusses the possibilities of verifying the properties of user interfaces and related problems, such as when the dialogue specification has an infinite number of states. We provide an example of a set of general user interfaces properties, and we show how these properties can be tailored for specific cases and thus be used as a framework to evaluate the design of the interactive application considered.
Keywords: User Interface properties, Formal methods for HCI, Dialogue model checking
Composition and Synthesis with a Formal Interactor Model BIBAK 197-223
  Panos Markopoulos; Jon Rowson; Peter Johnson
This paper discusses the formal specification of interactors, which are primitive abstractions of user interface software, and focuses on the formal aspects of their composition. The composition of interactors is discussed formally in the framework of the Abstraction-Display-Controller (ADC) interactor model. The ADC model has been defined as a LOTOS specification template tailored for specifying user interface software. LOTOS behaviour expressions combining instances of this template specify the composition of interactors to model complex user interfaces. Synthesis is defined as a transformation of these behaviour expressions which supports the generic structure of the ADC model while preserving the meaning of the specified behaviour. Further, the notion of abstract views of interactors is introduced. It is shown how abstract views are themselves primitives for specifying complex interface architectures.
Keywords: User interface software, Formal specification, Interactors, Composition, Transformations

IWC 1998 Volume 9 Issue 3

Regular Papers

Integrating Information -- A Task-Orientated Approach BIBAKPDF 225-240
  Stella Mills
To date, there have been few attempts at integrating the increasing amounts of information that are available to users of computer systems. Using published literature, this paper collates some relevant principles (or heuristics) for integrating information based on task orientation. These are then applied to the electronic fishing aids in an in-shore fishing vessel's wheelhouse with the purpose of reducing the number of screens used therein. However, the application raises some issues; in particular that of the designer's knowledge of the tasks so that unique information is not lost.
Keywords: Information integration, Task analysis, Heuristics, Electronic fishing aids, Fishing vessel's wheelhouse design
Moneypenny: Lessons from the Messy Desk BIBAKPDF 241-267
  Adrian Williamson
In the context of personal information systems in the work place, a study of the owners of messy desks identifies weaknesses in user's semantic memory skills as the likely cause of this disorganisation. This results in working patterns where material is stored in a disorganised fashion, and the subsequent retrieval of items is therefore extremely difficult. Related problems with forming plans are also identified. The universal browser is proposed as a solution to the problem of retrieval for desktop computer technology. This universal browser should allow the rapid examination of item contents within the computer storage system, and consequently the need for user file names is questioned. For planning, a general conceptual technique is proposed and one implementation considered. The Systems investigation into desk usage and the requirements elicitation for a personal information system is described and the Moneypenny prototype used to elicit and evaluate worker needs is presented. It is proposed that in producing interfaces to workplace computer technology that a range of memory skills should be supported, and suitable categories are suggested. The Online Journal is introduced as a solution to the requirements identified in the study, offering benefits for organised and disorganised workers alike.
Keywords: Messy desk, Personal organisers, Piles, Heaps, Human-computer interaction, Information retrieval, Browser, Planning, Mind maps, Online Journal

Special Issue: The Role of Culture in the Globalisation of Human-Computer Systems

Editorial: Shared Values and Shared Interfaces: The Role of Culture in the Globalisation of Human-Computer Systems BIBPDF 269-274
  D. L. Day
The Role of Cultural Fitness in User Resistance to Information Technology Tools BIBAKPDF 275-285
  Renzo Gobbin
Human interactions with IT tools reproduce organizational cultural patterns in evolutionary terms which are similar to those seen in the evolution of human tools and language. This paper proposes that user adoption or rejection of new IT tools is derived from the cultural fitness of the tools in the organizational context rather than being close to the user's operational adaptation. The hypothesis proposed here requires an understanding of the correlation between language and tool use and an analysis of recent multi-disciplinary research in tool-mediated activity, language and cognition. Concepts of tool-mediated activity in a cultural context and their theoretical implications for HCI are examined by using the fields of anthropology, cognitive sciences and information technology. A comparative analysis of empirical data using cultural parameters is performed showing the effects of cultural fitness on the discretionary use of a new collaborative IT tool in an organizational context.
Keywords: Activity theory, Adaptive interfaces, System design, Culture, Adaptation
Meaning, The Central Issue in Cross-Cultural HCI Design BIBAKPDF 287-309
  Paula Bourges-Waldegg; Stephen A. R. Scrivener
In this paper, we focus on the design of systems intended to be shared by culturally heterogeneous users (e.g., users of Computer-Supported Co-operative Work (CSCW) and Internet applications). We discuss the limitations of current approaches to designing interfaces for culturally diverse users -- such as internationalisation and localisation -- before describing a study conducted to elicit and understand culturally determined usability problems, in which a World-Wide Web (WWW) system was evaluated.
   It is concluded that culturally determined usability problems converge in the understanding of representations the meanings of which are rooted in culturally specific contexts. We explain why existing approaches are inadequate for dealing with this issue. In conclusion, we outline an HCI approach, called Meaning in Mediated Action (MMA), designed to tackle this problem.
Keywords: Culturalisation, Understanding, Representations, Meaning, Context
A Knowledge-Based Methodology for Supporting Multilingual and User-Tailored Interfaces BIBAKPDF 311-333
  Evangelos A. Karkaletsis; Constantine D. Spyropoulos; George A. Vouros
The need for multilingual and user-tailored interfaces imposes new requirements upon the software industry: software applications must "speak" the language of users. Language engineering and knowledge engineering can assist the development of such interfaces. This paper presents a methodology for the creation of a language-independent knowledge base (KB), which can be used for the development of multilingual and user-tailored interfaces. This KB contains knowledge about the user interface components and functions and its creation is part of a software internationalisation process. The methodology aims at reducing the cost of setting up and managing this KB, by exploiting the benefits of controlled language use in technical writing. A case study for the dynamic generation of multilingual and user-tailored diagnostic messages is presented. Finally, the paper discusses related approaches in the area of multilinguality as well as in the area of software internationalisation and localisation, summarises the main results, and presents our plans for further exploitation of the methodology.
Keywords: Knowledge bases, Software internationalisation, Software localisation, Multilingual interfaces, User tailored interfaces, Natural language generation, Message generation
Using the LUCID Method to Optimize the Acceptability of Shared Interfaces BIBAKPDF 335-345
  Andy Smith; Lynne Dunckley
The Logical User Centred Interface Design (LUCID) method has been shown to provide a development approach which is both user-centred and which, with respect to selected usability criteria, leads to the identification of the optimum interface. Previously published evidence has focused on factors internal to the design of the interface itself. In this paper, the authors show how Taguchi techniques for total quality management, which are integrated within the method, can be extended to analyse external factors such as diversity within the user groups of shared interfaces. Application of the method to global, international and local interfaces is discussed.
Keywords: Interface design, Total quality management, Shared interfaces, Taguchi

IWC 1998 Volume 9 Issue 4

Regular Papers

The Use of the Internet as a Research Tool: The Nature and Characteristics of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) amongst a Population of Users BIBAKPDF 349-365
  Erin E. Michalak
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a cyclical syndrome characterized by recurrent episodes of autumn or winter depression and atypical depressive symptoms. This paper describes the characteristics of an international sample of 425 Internet users who responded to newsgroup advertisements seeking people who experienced seasonal changes in mood and behaviour, and completed a modified version of the Seasonal Patterns Assessment Questionnaire. The relationship between SAD and latitude and the relatively novel use of the Internet as a means of data collection are discussed, with emphasis upon the theoretical, methodological and ethical issues encountered during such research.
Keywords: Internet, Research, Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
The Role of Task Analysis in Capturing Requirements for Interface Design BIBAKPDF 367-384
  Juliet Richardson; Thomas C. Ormerod; Andrew Shepherd
Recently, the role of task analysis in design has been brought into question. It has been argued, for example, that task analysis leads to the non-creative redesign of existing artefacts. In this paper, we offer a view of task analysis that resolves this problem. In particular, we argue that by focusing upon the analysis of user/operator goals rather than an existing task implementation, task analysis encourages novel and apt design. A reformulation of hierarchical task analysis is offered, based on the sub-goal template (SGT) scheme. The SGT scheme provides a notation for goal-oriented task analysis and defines an appropriate level at which task analyses can inform the design process without constraining it to existing task implementations. The SGT scheme is compared with the systems analysis-based design methodology SSADM and the advantages of each approach are reviewed.
Keywords: Analysis and design, Hierarchical task analysis, Process control, Requirements specification, Interface design the SGT scheme, Systems
Investigation of Decision Making Process: A Hypermedia Approach BIBAKPDF 385-396
  Manouchehr Tabatabai
Research in decision making has concentrated mainly on the decision outcome (choice) rather than on the process of the decision making. This pattern is primarily due to the lack of an acceptable unobtrusive tool for investigation of the decision process. Further, the lack of a consistent decision aid in empirical works has hindered the comparison of results. The purpose of this paper is to present a flexible and adaptable computer-based system for empirical examination of information processing. The main thrust of the proposed system is to provide guidelines to the restrictive/channeling approach to system design. This system can be easily modified to suit different experimental research requirements. It should support more realistic decision tasks, which often are criticized in decision experiments. Furthermore, availability of this system should encourage more research work on the process of decision making. The nature of this support system is linked to the literature, and specifications and components of the system are provided.
Keywords: Information processing, Process tracing methods, Interface design, Information display, Data collection, Decision support systems

Special Issue: The Role of Culture in the Globalisation of Human-Computer Systems

Editorial: Shared Values and Shared Interfaces 2: Preview and Current Research BIB 397-400
  Donald L. Day
An Abstract Framework for Globalising Interactive Systems BIBAKPDF 401-416
  Kostas Stathis; Marek Sergot
We present an abstract framework for designing and developing globalised interactive systems from simple components viewed as games [1] (K. Stathis, M.J. Sergot, Games as a Metaphor for Interactive Systems, in: M.A. Sasse, R.J. Cunningham, R.L. Winder (Eds.), People and Computers XI (Proceedings of HCI'96), August 1996, London, UK, BCS Conference Series, Springer-Varlag, pp. 19-33). We identify a set of concepts required to specify and implement interactions, in such a way whereby instantiating the specifications and implementations of games we obtain components that correspond to localised instances of an interactive system. Localisation is also obtained by either customising the specification or the implementation of the interactive system, or both. The framework also caters for complex interactive systems which are interpreted as compound games built-up from sub-games. In this case, coordination of sub-games is the main issue that we must address at the global level. This is resolved by specifying and implementing sub-games as active components of the more complex games, and, as a result, we localise the coordination of components in the interactive system. The framework lends itself towards a methodology that is suitable for globalising the development of interactive systems.
Keywords: Games, Interactive systems, Globalisation, Localisation, Coordination
Design of Icons for Use by Chinese in Mainland China BIBAKPDF 417-430
  Yee-Yin Choong; Gavriel Salvendy
The objective of this study was to investigate the impacts of cultural differences in cognitive abilities between the American and Chinese users on their performance with icon displays. The goal was to provide insight for software developers whose products might have potential Chinese users. The key factor in this study was the presentation mode of icon displays, which could be alphanumeric elements only, pictorial elements only, or a combined mode (both elements). An experiment was conducted with 30 American and 30 Chinese subjects. The subjects performed recognition tasks using different presentation modes. Results indicate that for the American subjects there were advantages to alphanumeric and combined modes, compared to the pictorial mode, in terms of performance time and errors. For Chinese subjects, there were advantages to pictorial and combined modes, compared with alphanumeric mode; their initial error rate also was lower using a combined mode than when using an alphanumeric one.
Keywords: Internationalization, HCI, GUI, Icon design, Chinese users
Cross-Cultural and Cognitive Issues in the Implementation of New Technology: Focus on Group Support Systems and Bulgaria BIBAKPDF 431-447
  Terri L. Griffith
Over 40 per cent of technology implementation attempts in the United States (US) fail. These failures often are the result of human (rather than technological) problems. The consequences of implementers installing in one country equipment designed in another should be even more problematic and ubiquitous, as technology designers continue to move into international markets. A cognitive model of cross-cultural implementation is tested, using a US-designed group support system (GSS) and groups of Bulgarian and US university students. Bulgarians were expected to be less critical of the technology due to cultural responses to power and authority (i.e., less likely to challenge authority) and therefore less successful in adapting to the technology. However, results suggest that the Bulgarian students may in fact be more likely to challenge authority than their US counterparts. As hypothesized, Power Distance mediates some of the effects between culture and satisfaction with the GSS.
Keywords: Bulgaria, United States, Cross-cultural, Group support systems, Technology implementation, Power distance
Creating Global Software: A Conspectus and Review BIBAKPDF 449-465
  Jane M. Carey
Ten books on the development of international software are reviewed and used to develop a framework for the globalization of software. Most of the books are written or edited by practitioners of global software development and therefore are filled with practical knowledge and methodologies which can guide the novice or even the experienced developer to first internationalize and then localize software. The books span a six year time span, during which the resources available to support the global software development effort have expanded and standards have been established, resulting in reduced effort. This conspectus starts with an introduction that includes several definitions, spells out the issues of translation from one language to another, localization, organization, culture, interface design, documentation, and quality assurance, recommends approaches for development of micro-based software for Macintosh and Windows environments, and ends with a unifying summary.
Keywords: Internationalization, Culture, Software, Global, Localization