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Interacting with Computers 10

Editors:Dan Diaper
Publisher:Elsevier Science
Standard No:ISSN 0953-5438
Links:Table of Contents
  1. IWC 1998 Volume 10 Issue 1
  2. IWC 1998 Volume 10 Issue 2
  3. IWC 1998 Volume 10 Issue 3
  4. IWC 1998 Volume 10 Issue 4

IWC 1998 Volume 10 Issue 1

Designing Towards Emotional Usability in Customer Interfaces -- Trustworthiness of Cyber-Banking System Interfaces BIBAKPDF 1-29
  Jinwoo Kim; Jae Yun Moon
In this research we investigate the possibility of designing a user interface for electronic commerce systems that will evoke target feelings in the customer. The focus is on the impact of visual design factors on the feeling of trustworthiness because of its significant effect upon the behavior of customers using electronic commerce systems. Four empirical studies were conducted in the domain of cyber-banking systems. The subjects were cyber-banking system developers, bank personnel and potential customers of cyber-banking systems in Korea ranging in age from late teens to early forties. The first study was directed at developing the self-report questionnaire that faithfully reflects the emotional factors related to cyber-banking systems. The resulting questionnaire consisted of the forty bipolar emotive differential scales representative of the emotions most important in interacting with cyber-banking systems, e.g. reliable -- not reliable. The second study focused on determining the important visual design factors from the customer's perspective. Fourteen design factors identified from subjects' descriptions were classified into the four design categories of title, menu, main clipart and color. The third study investigated the correlations between the emotional factors and design factors. The design factors were found to have significant effects upon the extent of feelings related to symmetry, trustworthiness, awkwardness and elegance. In the final study, two interfaces were designed based on the results of the third study to differentiate the extent of trustworthiness evoked. The results indicate that it is possible to manipulate the visual design factors of the customer interface in order to induce a target emotion, such as trustworthiness. The paper concludes by discussing the implications of the empirical results on the design and implementation of customer interfaces to electronic commerce systems in general.
Keywords: Emotional usability, Customer interface, Trustworthiness, Electronic commerce, Cyber-banking systems
About the Importance of Auditory Alarms During the Operation of a Plant Simulator BIBAKPDF 31-44
  Matthias Rauterberg
An experiment was carried out to estimate the effect of auditory alarms on the work of a plant operator in the context of a computer simulation. The process simulator was implemented so that each of eight machines (computer numeric controlled [CNC] robots) produced sounds to indicate its status over time. Each sound was designed to reflect the 'real-world' semantic of the actual breakdown event. As many as 32 different auditory alarms plus six normal machine sounds could be played at once. We attempted to design the auditory alarms so that none would be masked (rendered inaudible) by other auditory alarms. Eight students of computer science operated our process simulation program of an assembly line with the eight CNC robots. Relevant information of disturbances and machine breakdowns was given in a visual (test condition 1), and in visual and auditory form (test condition 2). The results indicate that the additional feedback of auditory alarms significantly improves operator performance and increases some mood aspects positively.
Keywords: Audible alarms, Auditory feedback, Computer simulation, Human-computer interaction
MobiCom: Networking Dispersed Groups BIBAKPDF 45-65
  Steinar Kristoffersen; Fredrik Ljungberg
The paper describes MobiCom, a research project aimed at realizing information technology support for dispersed groups of networking, mobile knowledge workers. MobiCom addresses two fundamental problems of this emerging organizational form: work coordination and collective sharing of experiences. The MobiCom project is based on studies of work and IT use in a pharmaceutical research company. It comprises ethnographic investigations, design and evaluation. MobiCom has resulted in DARWIN, an application for negotiating task distribution and exchanging lessons learned within the CIDES IT-support group in the company, and MOSCOW, the architecture and protocol by which DARWIN is implemented. Taking seriously the mobile nature of work in the group, DARWIN is lightweight, has low overheads and is easy to use. MOSCOW represents an open approach to mobile computing, aiming to integrate well with existing and future desktop applications. MobiCom contributes to establishing a new, interdisciplinary research area, by bringing CSCW and HCI concerns into the rather technical domain of mobile computing.
Keywords: Mobile computing, Networking, CSCW, HCI
Subjectivity and Notions of Time and Value in Interactive Information Retrieval BIBA 67-75
  Chris Johnson; Mark D. Dunlop
"Time is money", especially if you are downloading web pages over low-bandwidth telephone lines. All too often this investment goes unrewarded. Users simply cannot extract relevant information from the mass of data that is being provided over the Internet. This information saturation is exacerbated by the problems of electronic gridlock. The increasing demand for remote resources has led to increasing delays during peak periods on popular sites. This paper argues that, in the short term, technological solutions to these problems will not keep pace with the exponential growth in demand. The world's communications infrastructure cannot be improved at the rate that would be required to combat increasing retrieval delays. We, therefore, advocate interface design techniques as the only effective means of addressing the usability problems that frustrate interaction with Internet resources. Later sections introduce a central argument that links the papers in this special edition. Collaborative approaches to information retrieval, where search engines are augmented by advice from human experts, can reduce the problems of electronic gridlock and information saturation.
A Psychological Investigation of Long Retrieval Times on the World Wide Web BIBAKPDF 77-86
  Judith Ramsay; Alessandro Barbesi; Jenny Preece
With the increasingly rapid uptake of the World Wide Web, even those pages classed as 'the best of the web' are not immune to large download latencies. This paper investigates whether the latency between requesting a page and receiving it influence user perceptions of the page. The paper describes a study in which users are presented with seven different web pages with delays ranging from 2 s to 2 min, and are then asked to rate the pages on a number of criteria. Predetermined delays were injected into the page loading process. Pages which were retrieved faster were judged significantly more interesting than their slower counterparts. The implications for web page design are discussed.
Keywords: World Wide Web, Response time, Information retrieval, Usability, Subjective satisfaction
Designing for Delay in Interactive Information Retrieval BIBAKPDF 87-104
  Chris Roast
The relevance of timeliness in effective interaction has been recently recognized in HCI research. One area where users of a system consistently encounter varying system delays is that of interactive information retrieval. The effectiveness of information retrieval in an interactive context can be highly influenced by the computational delays encountered.
   This paper develops a framework for assessing the appropriateness of alternative interfaces and user tasks for systems in which significance of computational delays cannot be ignored. The framework is motivated by the ability of users to attune to the duration and pace of events in their environment. The framework is applied to interactive information retrieval, assessing alternative designs, and identifying how interface design details can enhance effective interactive information retrieval.
   The outcome of this assessment demonstrates that meeting temporal interface requirements can have a significant influence upon overall system design and the view of task adopted by users.
Keywords: Information retrieval, Temporal issues, Formal modelling
Generalised Similarity Analysis and Pathfinder Network Scaling BIBAKPDF 107-128
  Chaomei Chen
This paper introduces a generic approach to the development of hypermedia information systems. This approach emphasises the role of intrinsic inter-document relationships in structuring and visualising a large hypermedia information space. In this paper, we illustrate the use of this approach based on three types of similarity measurements: hypertext linkage, content similarity and usage patterns. Salient patterns in these relationships are extracted and visualised in a simple and intuitive associated network. The spatial layout of a visualisation is optimised such that closely related documents are placed near to each other and only those intrinsic connections among them are shown to users as automatically generated virtual links. This approach supports self-organised information space transformation based on usage patterns and other feedback such that the visual structure of the information space is incrementally tailored to users' search and browsing styles.
Keywords: Hypertext, Virtual link structure, Visualisation, Information retrieval

IWC 1998 Volume 10 Issue 2

HCI and Information Retrieval

Navigation in Hyperspace: An Evaluation of the Effects of Navigational Tools and Subject Matter Expertise on Browsing and Information Retrieval in Hypertext BIBAKPDF 129-142
  Sharon Mcdonald; Rosemary J. Stevenson
This study examined the effectiveness of a map and a textual contents list on the navigation performance of subjects with and without prior knowledge of the text topic. After reading the text, subjects used the document to answer ten questions. The results showed that performance in the map condition was superior to that of the contents list condition, which in turn was superior to that of the hypertext only condition (no navigational aid). In addition, knowledgeable subjects performed better than non-knowledgeable subjects, except in the map condition where their performance was equivalent. The results also show that non-knowledgeable users tend to rely more heavily on navigational aids than knowledgeable users, and that aids were used primarily during browsing. These results are discussed in relation to the ways in which navigational aids interact with the prior knowledge of the user to enhance or impede performance.
Keywords: Hypertext, Disorientation, Information retrieval, Navigation, Navigational aids, Browsing
A Flexible Hypertext Courseware on the Web Based on a Dynamic Link Structure BIBAKPDF 143-154
  Licia Calvi; Paul De Bra
Hypertext is being used more and more often for on-line course texts. However, the navigational freedom offered by a rich link structure is a burden for students who need guidance throughout the learning process. This paper presents a framework for adaptive link structures. By enabling links when a student is ready to read the pages these links lead to, and disabling links to pages that are no longer needed, the student can be assured that links always lead to interesting new information she is ready to read. This framework is illustrated by means of the courseware for an on-line course on 'Hypermedia structures and systems', developed at the Eindhoven University of Technology.
Keywords: Hypertext courseware, Adaptive interaction, Dynamic link structure
Genres in Support of Collaborative Information Retrieval in the Virtual Library BIBAKPDF 157-175
  Rob Procter; Ana Goldenberg; Elisabeth Davenport; Andy Mckinlay
The advent of the virtual library is usually presented as a positive development for library users. However, much of the research and development work being carried out in this field tends to reinforce the perception of the use of information resources as a predominantly solitary activity. We argue that this narrow view of the virtual library may be counterproductive to its aims. Recent studies have emphasized that information retrieval (IR) in the conventional library is often a highly collaborative activity, involving library users peers and experts in IR such as librarians. Failure to take this into account in the move to digitally based resource discovery and access may result in users of the virtual library being disadvantaged through lack of timely and effective access to sources of assistance.
   Our focus here is on the ways in which, in the conventional library setting, users consult with reference librarians for the resolution of their IR problems. We describe an investigation of consultation and collaboration issues as seen from the perspective of librarians and users contexts and analysed within the framework of genre. Drawing upon this analysis, we then describe the design of a prototype network, multimedia-based system which is intended to support collaboration between librarians and IR system users in the virtual library.
Keywords: Collaboration, Genre, Information retrieval, Virtual library
Designing Interfaces to Support Collaboration in Information Retrieval BIBAKPDF 177-193
  Michael Twidale; David Nichols
Information retrieval systems should acknowledge the existence of collaboration in the search process. Collaboration can help users to be more effective in both learning systems and in using them. We consider how to build systems that more actively support collaboration. We describe a system that embodies just one kind of explicit support; a graphical representation of the search process that can be manipulated and discussed by users. A consideration of this system leads to an analysis of designing systems to support coping behaviour by users; including the need to support both help-giving by people, and recovery from the failure of intelligent agents. We also discuss the idea of interfaces as notations for supporting dialogues between people.
Keywords: Collaborative learning process, Information retrieval, Interface design, Visualization
Providing a Networked Future for Interpersonal Information Retrieval: Infovine and User Modelling BIBAKPDF 195-212
  Clare F. Harvey; Peter Smith; Peter Lund
The Internet and Intranet provide the potential for people to access a great deal more information from databases which were not previously available to them. They can also facilitate connections between people who previously did not know one another. These links to other people are valuable, as they help the individual to filter and interpret the plethora of information to which s/he now has access. This is because an important part of information-seeking behaviour is interpersonal. The existence of user profiles within a system has the potential to allow interpersonal information retrieval in information systems. This paper proposes a novel approach for future Intranet communication. A software system, InfoVine, which has been developed by the authors and is based on this approach, shows how user models can help in performing interpersonal information retrieval and in viewing people as an index to information. The benefits of the InfoVine approach are discussed in the context of user profiling for information retrieval.
Keywords: Networked information retrieval, User modelling, SDI
Information Rendezvous BIBAKPDF 213-224
  Daniel E. Rose; Jeremy J. Bornstein
This paper proposes a new type of asynchronous group communication tool called an information rendezvous system. The purpose of the system is to mediate between producers and consumers of information. Among other attributes, information rendezvous systems rely on the knowledge of the user community in determining the relevance of information. We also two describe two prototypes that demonstrate the feasibility of the information rendezvous concept.
Keywords: Communication, Information rendezvous, Asynchronous communication

IWC 1998 Volume 10 Issue 3

HCI and Information Retrieval

Exploring the Layers of Information Retrieval Evaluation BIBAKPDF 225-236
  M. D. Dunlop; C. W. Johnson; J. Reid
This special issue presents current work on modelling interactive information retrieval systems and users' interactions with them. This introductory paper analyses the papers in the context of evaluation in information retrieval (IR) by examining the different layers at which IR system use could be evaluated. IR poses the double evaluation problem of evaluating both the underlying system effectiveness and the overall ability of the system to aid users. The papers in this collection look at different issues in combining human-computer interaction (HCI) research with IR research and provide insights into the problems of evaluating the information seeking process.
Keywords: Information retrieval, Modelling, Human-computer interaction, Evaluation
Interactive Searching and Interface Issues in the Okapi Best Match Probabilistic Retrieval System BIBAKPDF 237-248
  Micheline Beaulieu; Susan Jones
We explore some interface design issues raised by the development and evaluation of a highly interactive information retrieval (IR) system based on a probabilistic retrieval model with relevance feedback. The Okapi system uses term frequency weighting functions to display retrieved items in a best match ranked order; it can also find additional items similar to those marked as relevant by the searcher. Its query expansion mechanism has been implemented in several different ways, and subjected to a number of evaluative studies. The object has been to compare the effectiveness of automatic and interactive query expansion in different user interface environments. In automatic query expansion, the system extracts terms from items judged relevant by the searcher and immediately creates a new query to search for more items. In the interactive versions the extracted terms are displayed, and the searcher may intervene in the construction of a modified query for the next phase of the search. These contrasting approaches serve to illustrate the interplay between different principles of human computer interaction and the information retrieval task. The discussion focuses on the nature of interaction in IR and the interrelationship between functional visibility, the user's cognitive loading, and the balance of control between user and system.
Keywords: Interactive information retrieval, Search interaction, User evaluation, Querying, Browsing
Human-Computer Interaction in Information Retrieval: Nature and Manifestations of Feedback BIBAKPDF 249-267
  Amanda Spink; Tefko Saracevic
This study develops a theoretical framework for expressing the nature of feedback as a critical process in interactive information retrieval (IR). Feedback concepts from cybernetics and social sciences perspectives are used to develop a concept of informational feedback applicable to IR. Models from human-computer interaction and interactive IR are then adapted as a framework for studying the manifestations of feedback in IR. An informational feedback loop is defined as a unit of measure for IR feedback. Results are then presented from an empirical study of real-life interactions between users, professional mediators (information specialists) and an IR system 'computer'. Data are presented involving 885 feedback loops classified in five categories. In conclusion we present a connection between the theoretical framework and empirical observations and provide a number of pragmatic and research suggestions.
Keywords: Interactive information retrieval, Feedback, Cybernetics, Human-computer interaction, Relevance
Evaluation of Information-Seeking Performance in Hypermedia Digital Libraries BIBAKPDF 269-284
  Michail Salampasis; John Tait; Chris Bloor
Nowadays, we are witnessing the development of new information-seeking environments and applications such as hypermedia digital libraries. Information Retrieval (IR) is increasingly embedded in these environments and plays a cornerstone role. However, in hypermedia digital libraries IR is a part of a large and complex user-centred information-seeking environment. In particular, information seeking is also possible using non-analytical, opportunistic and intuitive browsing strategies. This paper discusses the particular evaluation problems posed by these current developments. Current methods based on Recall (R) and Precision (P) for evaluating IR are discussed, and their suitability for evaluating the performance of hypermedia digital libraries is examined. We argue that these evaluation methods cannot be directly applied, mainly because they do not measure the effectiveness of browsing strategies; the underlying notion of relevance ignores the highly interconnected nature of hypermedia information and misses the reality of how information seekers work in these environments. Therefore, we propose a new quantitative evaluation methodology, based on the structural analysis of hypermedia networks and the navigational and search state patterns of information seekers. Although the proposed methodology retains some of the characteristics (and criticisms) of R and P evaluations, it could be more suitable than them for measuring the performance of information-seeking environments where information seekers can utilize arbitrary mixtures of browsing and query-based searching strategies.
Keywords: Evaluation, Hypermedia digital libraries, Structural analysis of hypermedia, Relative distance relevance
Modelling Information Seeking BIBAKPDF 285-302
  Kathleen Burnett; E. Graham Mckinley
This article proposes three inter-related models to aid in the understanding of the complex and constructive process of contemporary information seeking: (1) postmodern model of identity; (2) rhizomorphic model of information contexts; and (3) hypertextual model of technology interaction. The nature of the information seeking problem is redefined as an individual's negotiation of identity through the exploration of the interaction of private ignorance and public knowledge. The three models are introduced, and their association with the information seeking problem clarified. The incorporation of foci on interactive processes, borrowed from communication studies, into the current proposed approach to modelling information seeking is justified. Finally, suggestions are offered for further research based on this approach.
Keywords: Information seeking models, Postmodern model of identity, Rhizomorphic model of information contexts, Hypertextual model of technology interaction, Communication models
How Many Relevances in Information Retrieval? BIBAKPDF 303-320
  Stefano Mizzaro
The aim of an information retrieval system is to find relevant documents, thus relevance is a (if not 'the') central concept of information retrieval. Notwithstanding its importance, and the huge amount of research on this topic in the past, relevance is not yet a well understood concept, also because of inconsistently used terminology. In this paper, I try to clarify this issue, classifying the various kinds of relevance. I show that: (i) there are many kinds of relevance, not just one; (ii) these kinds can be classified in a formally defined four dimensional space, and (iii) such classification helps us to understand the nature of relevance and relevance judgement. Finally, the consequences of this classification on the design and evaluation of information retrieval systems are analysed.
Keywords: Information retrieval, Relevance, Kinds of relevance, Relevance judgement, System design, System evaluation
Towards a Cognitive Theory of Information Retrieval BIBAKPDF 321-351
  Alistair Sutcliffe; Mark Ennis
A framework for constructing a cognitive model of users' information searching behaviour is described. The motivation for the framework is to create explanatory and predictive theories of information searching to improve the design of information retrieval (IR) systems. The framework proposes a taxonomy of components for process models of the information seeking task, information need types and knowledge sources necessary to support the task. The framework is developed into a preliminary version of a cognitive theory of information searching by the addition of strategies and correspondence rules which predict user behaviour in different task stages according to information need types, facilities provided by the IR system and knowledge held by the user. The theory is evaluated by using claims analysis based on empirical observations of users information retrieval and by a walkthrough of an IR session to investigate how well the theory can account for empirical evidence. Results show that the theory can indicate the expert strategies which should be followed in different task contexts but predictions of actual user behaviour are less accurate. The future possibilities for employing the theoretical model as a tutorial advisor for information retrieval and as an evaluation method for IR systems are reviewed. The role and potential of cognitive theories of user task-action in Information Retrieval and Human Computer Interaction are discussed.
Keywords: Information searching, Cognitive task models, Theory, Framework, Scenarios

IWC 1998 Volume 10 Issue 4

How did University Departments Interweave the Web: A Study of Connectivity and Underlying Factors BIBAKPDF 353-373
  Chaomei Chen; Julian Newman; Rhona Newman; Roy Rada
This paper presents two studies of the use of the WWW in Scottish universities and American land-grant universities. First, we investigated the relationship between the organisational profile of a university department in Scotland and its structural connectivity on the WWW. A Spearman rank order correlation analysis revealed a number of strong correlation relationships between structural connectivity measures and the organisational profile based on research assessment exercise ratings, teaching quality assessments, student -- staff ratios and funding levels. Linkage patterns from 13 Scottish academic sites to commercial sites in Britain and America highlighted the impact of culture and the appropriateness of information technologies on the acceptance of the WWW. The second study is a content survey of WWW-based education activities in American land-grant universities to investigate successful applications of these enabling techniques in education. The two studies together highlighted cultural, political and technological interactions in the use of the WWW.
Keywords: WWW, Connectivity analysis, Hypertext references, Scientific networks, Content analysis
The Effects of Password Length and Reference Profile Size on the Performance of a Multivariate Text-Dependent Typist Verification System BIBAKPDF 375-383
  Doug Mahar; Ron Henderson; William Laverty; Rene Napier
The performance of Napier et al.'s typist verification algorithm (Keyboard user verification: toward an accurate, efficient, and ecologically valid algorithm, International Journal of Human-Computer Studies 43 (1995) 213-222) was assessed in a text-dependent setting. Twenty-nine subjects typed a 17 character password 50 times. False acceptance and false rejection rates were then calculated as the number of repetitions of the password included in the reference profile was increased from 6 to 20 and the number of digraphs from the password included in the verification process was increased from 2 to 16. The performance of the system (12% total error rate) was found to be comparable with the best results reported in other studies using text-dependent algorithms, and substantially better than that reported in studies using a text-independent paradigm with passwords of this length. The relationship between password length and reference profile size was found to conform to an exponential decay function, which accounted for 92% of the variability in verification error rates.
Keywords: Computer security, Typist verification, Password length
The Beta Test of an Electronic Supermarket BIBAKPDF 385-399
  R. Henderson; D. Rickwood; P. Roberts
This paper presents findings of a beta test of an electronic supermarket. It first reports qualitative information elicited during interviews and focus groups conducted with the beta test user group. A total of 57 users who had tested the system participated in the qualitative component of the study. Interviews and focus groups addressed what the users considered the best and worst features of the system and what things they would do differently if they were the management of the electronic supermarket. Results generated a number of suggestions for improvement and concerns. Interestingly, it became apparent that the electronic supermarket, rather than being considered an impersonal form of shopping, was considered a very personalized form of shopping, akin to the corner grocery market. The paper then reports the results of a quantitative survey that aimed to predict intentions to use the electronic supermarket are reported. Construct measurement was loosely based on the technology acceptance model, a derivative of the theory of reasoned action, and further supplemented by industry specific relevant constructs. Constructs tapped, therefore, consisted of perceived usefulness, enjoyment, peer-group norms, usability and perceptions of the electronic shopping experience. Biographical and situational data were also recorded. Analysis was conducted on 64 completed questionnaires. Results indicated a high level of intention to use the system in the future. Not surprisingly, many of the hypothesised predictors of intention to use the system were inter-correlated. Multivariate regression analyses revealed, however, that two variables contributed significantly to the intention to use the system in the future: enjoyment in using the system and peer-group norms, together accounting for 61% of the variance in intentions to use the system in the future. The implications of the research for theory and practice are discussed. The paper concludes by presenting a theoretical model of the factors identified as being important in the use of electronic supermarkets.
Keywords: Electronic commerce, Electronic supermarket, IT uptake, Theory of planned behavior