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Interacting with Computers 13

Editors:Dan Diaper; Dianne Murray
Dates:2000/2001
Volume:13
Publisher:Elsevier Science
Standard No:ISSN 0953-5438
Papers:36
Links:Table of Contents
  1. IWC 2000 Volume 13 Issue 1
  2. IWC 2000 Volume 13 Issue 2
  3. IWC 2001 Volume 13 Issue 3
  4. IWC 2001 Volume 13 Issue 4
  5. IWC 2001 Volume 13 Issue 5
  6. IWC 2001 Volume 13 Issue 6

IWC 2000 Volume 13 Issue 1

Lost in Hyperspace: Metrics and Mental Models BIBAK 1-40
  M. Otter; H. Johnson
Being disorientated or lost is one of the fundamental difficulties which users experience when trying to navigate within hypertext systems. In this paper, two new metrics of lostness are described and applied. The new metrics focus on the effects of link-type and the accuracy of user's mental models of system structure. In a series of studies, the new metrics were compared with the only other published metric of lostness, the optimal path deviation measure formulated by Smith [P.A. Smith, Towards a practical measure of hypertext usability, Interacting with Computers 4 (1996) 365-381], and with other measures including self-report estimates and task times. The results tentatively suggest that some types of hyperlink have a greater impact on lostness than others. The accuracy of the subjects' mental models did not correlate significantly with other measures of lostness, however this may have been due to task demands. Based on these findings, suggestions are made for the design of more effective hypertext systems that minimise lostness, and a new approach to designing such systems, based on the mental models of users, is put forward.
Keywords: Hypertext; Hyperlinks; Metrics; Usability; Lostness; Mental models
Editorial: Introduction to this Special Issue on "Scenario-Based System Development" BIB 41-42
  J. M. Carroll
Five Reasons for Scenario-Based Design BIBAK 43-60
  J. M. Carroll
Scenarios of human-computer interaction help us to understand and to create computer systems and applications as artifacts of human activity as things to learn from, as tools to use in one's work, as media for interacting with other people. Scenario-based design of information technology addresses five technical challenges: scenarios evoke reflection in the content of design work, helping developers coordinate design action and reflection. Scenarios are at once concrete and flexible, helping developers manage the fluidity of design situations. Scenarios afford multiple views of an interaction, diverse kinds and amounts of detailing, helping developers manage the many consequences entailed by any given design move. Scenarios can also be abstracted and categorized, helping designers to recognize, capture and reuse generalizations and to address the challenge that technical knowledge often lags the needs of technical design. Finally, scenarios promote work-oriented communication among stakeholders, helping to make design activities more accessible to the great variety of expertise that can contribute to design, and addressing the challenge that external constraints designers and clients face often distract attention from the needs and concerns of the people who will use the technology.
Keywords: Scenario-based design; Human-computer interaction; Work-oriented communication
Scenarios in User-Centred Design -- Setting the Stage for Reflection and Action BIBAK 61-75
  S. Bødker
This paper discusses three examples of use of scenarios in user-centred design. Common to the examples are the use of scenarios to support the tensions between reflection and action, between typical and critical situations, and between plus and minus situations. The paper illustrates how a variety of more specific scenarios emphasising, e.g. critical situations, or even caricatures of situations are very useful for helping groups of users and designers being creative in design. Emphasising creativity in design is a very different view on the design process than normally represented in usability work or software/requirement engineering, where generalising users' actions are much more important than, in this paper, the suggested richness of and contradiction between actual use situations. In general the paper proposes to attune scenarios to the particular purposes of the situations they are to be used in, and to be very selective based on these purposes.
Keywords: Scenarios; Co-operation with users; Use context; Reflection; Action
Improving Reviews of Conceptual Models by Extended Traceability to Captured System Usage BIBAK 77-95
  P. Haumer; M. Jarke; K. Pohl; K. Weidenhaupt
When specifying change for an existing system, the history and functionality of the system to be replaced has to be considered. This avoids neglecting important system functionality and repeating errors. The properties and the rationale behind the existing system can be elicited by analysing concrete system-usage scenarios [Pohl, K., Weidenhaupt, K., Domges, R., Haumer, P., Jarke, M., Klamma, R., 1999. Process-integrated (modelling) environments (PRIME): foundation and implementation framework. ACM Transactions on Software Engineering and Methodology (TOSEM), vol. 8, no. 4, pp. 343-410]. The results of the analysis of the existing system are then typically represented using conceptual models. To establish conceptual models of high quality reviewing the models is common practice. The problem faced with when reviewing conceptual models, is that the reviewer cannot assess and therefore understand the basis (concrete system usage) on which the conceptual models were built.
   In this paper, we present an approach to overcome this problem. We establish Extended Traceability, by recording concrete system-usage scenarios using rich media (e.g. video, speech, graphic) and interrelating the recorded observations with the conceptual models. We discuss the main improvements for review processes and illustrate the advantages with excerpts from a case study performed in a mechanical engineering company.
Keywords: Scenario-based requirements engineering; Requirements management; Requirements traceability; Formal reviews; Goal modelling; Rich media; CASE environments
Linking Soft Systems and Use-Case Modelling through Scenarios BIBAK 97-110
  D. W. Bustard; Z. He; F. G. Wilkie
Scenarios are fundamental to the description and comprehension of systems of any type. They can therefore provide a common base when attempting to combine different modelling approaches. This paper considers their particular role in linking Soft Systems Methodology (SSM) and Use-case modelling. It does so in the context of examining the potential gain from using these techniques in combination. SSM supports strategic planning for business design or improvement. This involves the development of system models to identify the activities that an organisation must perform to meet its goals. Use-case modelling is a requirements engineering technique that similarly leads to the identification of system activities, but is driven more by the needs of the system's 'users' than those of the system itself. These different but complementary perspectives suggest that either technique can be used to help validate the other's models. This seems particularly valuable in the development of information systems. More significantly, however, SSM emerges as a way of enhancing Use-case development and UML in general.
Keywords: Business improvement; Soft systems methodology; Use-cases; Scenarios

IWC 2000 Volume 13 Issue 2

Applying and Testing an Approach to Design for Culturally Diverse User Groups BIBAK 111-126
  P. Bourges-Waldegg; S. A. R. Scrivener
This paper intends to illustrate how user interface designers can apply the Meaning in Mediated Action (MIMA) approach (P. Bourges-Waldegg, A.R. Scrivener, Meaning; the central issue is cross-cultural HCI design, Interacting with Computers, 9 (3) (1998) 287-310, special issue on "Shared Values and Shared Interfaces") to design for culturally diverse user groups. After outlining its theoretical foundation, we describe how the MIMA stages -- observation, evaluation, analysis and design -- were carried out to redesign a WWW system. Finally, we assess the efficacy of this approach by comparing the results of the evaluation of the original and the redesigned interfaces.
Keywords: Culture; Interface design; Representation; Meaning; Context
What is Beautiful is Usable BIBAK 127-145
  N. Tractinsky; A. S. Katz; D. Ikar
An experiment was conducted to test the relationships between users' perceptions of a computerized system's beauty and usability. The experiment used a computerized application as a surrogate for an Automated Teller Machine (ATM). Perceptions were elicited before and after the participants used the system. Pre-experimental measures indicate strong correlations between system's perceived aesthetics and perceived usability. Post-experimental measures indicated that the strong correlation remained intact. A multivariate analysis of covariance revealed that the degree of system's aesthetics affected the post-use perceptions of both aesthetics and usability, whereas the degree of actual usability had no such effect. The results resemble those found by social psychologists regarding the effect of physical attractiveness on the valuation of other personality attributes. The findings stress the importance of studying the aesthetic aspect of human-computer interaction (HCI) design and its relationships to other design dimensions.
Keywords: User interface; Aesthetics; Usability; Apparent usability; HCI design considerations; HCI perceptions
Effective Information Visualisation: A Study of Graph Drawing Aesthetics and Algorithms BIBAK 147-162
  H. C. Purchase
Information visualisation systems which generate diagrams representing discrete relational information must consider potential users if they are to be effective. Many algorithms which render an abstract graph structure as a diagram are valued for their conformance to aesthetic criteria (e.g. reducing the number of edge crossings, maximising symmetry), or for computational efficiency. They are not usually judged on their ability to produce diagrams that maximise human performance.
   This paper presents the results of experiments investigating the relative worth (from an HCI point of view) of graph drawing aesthetics and algorithms using a single graph. The results indicate that while some individual aesthetics affect human performance, it is difficult to say that one algorithm is 'better' than another from a relational understanding point of view. Designers of automatic layout algorithms, and the systems which embody such algorithms, can benefit from this study and this human-centred approach, by adapting their methods to focus on user concerns, rather than computational ones.
Keywords: Graph drawings; Graph layout aesthetics; Graph layout algorithms; User experimentation; Relational information visualisation
World Wide Web Working whilst Ignoring Graphics: Good News for Web Page Designers BIBAK 163-181
  D. Diaper; P. Waelend
Many web pages are made up of blocks of text with surrounding graphics. In some cases these graphics are animated in a variety of different ways. A common task of web users is to search the text on a web page for some information of interest and, often, this is what such pages' designers expect. Where information extraction from text is likely to be the primary concern of both web users and designers, then it is useful to know if typical, current examples of surrounding graphics, animated or static, distract people from their primary information extraction task. An experiment using realistic web pages supports the view that experienced web users are not distracted by surrounding graphics. This is good news for web page designers because such graphics are often considered highly desirable, and are sometimes commercially essential as paid advertising. Data on the time it takes to search for information on web pages and their perceived complexity are also presented.
Keywords: World Wide Web; Attention; Graphics; Animated graphics; Visual search
The Effects of Sound and Colour on Responses to a Computer Game BIBAK 183-192
  S. Wolfson; G. Case
Background colour (red/blue) and sound (loud/quiet) were manipulated in a series of computer games. Players using a blue screen improved gradually over the session, while red screen players peaked midway and then deteriorated. A similar pattern for heart rate was found, suggesting that arousal was implicated in the effect. Sound alone had little impact, but the red/loud combination was associated with perceptions of excitement and playing well. The results suggest that the aura of a computer game may affect cognitive and physiological responses.
Keywords: Computers; Games; Sound; Colour; Arousal
Surveying the Scene: Technologies for Everyday Awareness and Monitoring in Control Rooms BIBAK 193-228
  P. Luff; C. Heath; M. Jirotka
Recent technologies to support collaborative work have sought, in various ways, to enhance an individual's awareness of another's activities. Through a range of diverse technologies developers have endeavoured to provide users with capabilities that allow them to monitor, either passively or actively, what others are doing. In this paper we aim to examine awareness by analysing a setting where one of the responsibilities of the staff is to oversee, through a set of technologies, a complex environment in order to monitor the various spaces and locations in the local domain, the individuals who move through these spaces, and the events that occur in it. We outline the resources they utilise to make sense of what personnel see on the screens and to initiate collaborative action with colleagues. We conclude by discussing how such analyses can inform the design of novel systems which aim to support awareness and monitoring of environments. More critically we draw on this study to reconsider the conception of awareness utilised within Computer Supported Cooperative Work and other fields where technological solutions are being proposed to support individuals to monitor, whether peripherally or not, locations, activities and other individuals in digital environments.
Keywords: Awareness; CSCW; Close Circuit Television; Surveillance systems; Command and control
RemUSINE: A Bridge between Empirical and Model-Based Evaluation when Evaluators and Users are Distant BIBAK 229-251
  F. Paterno; G. Ballardin
There are few computer-aided approaches that provide a model-based usability evaluation using empirical data. This paper proposes a solution that allows designers to remotely evaluate the usability of interactive software applications with the support of automatic tools, empirical data, and the task model of the application.
Keywords: Usability engineering; Automatic tools for usability evaluation; Model-based design and evaluation
Electronic Mail versus Printed Text: The Effects on Recipients BIBAK 253-263
  K. Hill; A. F. Monk
Experiment 1 examined power of email communications, compared to equivalent printed communications, to influence a recipient's behaviour. 160 people were sent requests to volunteer for an experiment. Half received these requests through email and half on printed media through the internal mail. These groups were further subdivided into those who replied by internal or electronic mail. There was no evidence that an email message has less weight in persuading people to reply positively. The pattern of reply frequencies is completely explained by the relative effort required to reply. Experiment 2 examined recipients' reactions to email and print communications using rating scales. An email and printed text group were asked to rate two documents, a job application and a thank you note, on various qualities. While the content of the document had a significant effect on ratings, there was no evidence that recipients rate messages or their senders differently depending on the medium used. It is concluded that for this student population email has taken on many of the characteristics previously expected of print.
Keywords: Email; Printed communications
Exploration Environments: Supporting Users to Learn Groupware Functions BIBAK 265-299
  V. Wulf
Explorative learning plays a major role when users face new functionality. Nevertheless, the multi-user character of groupware makes explorative learning more difficult. Users are often unable to understand the way certain functions work because they cannot perceive the effects of the functions' execution. This problem gets more severe with tailorable groupware. Therefore, we propose exploration environments as an additional feature to support users in self-directed learning. Looking at three tailorable groupware tools, we show how exploration environments can be realized. To generalize our findings, we develop a model which describes the user interface of tailorable groupware. Based on this model, we compare the design of the three tools and present general guidelines for the implementation of exploration environments. Finally, we report about the results of a workshop in which a groupware tool containing exploration environments has been evaluated.
Keywords: Groupware; Tailorable; PoliTeam; Exploration; Learning
A Framework for Engineering Metaphor at the User Interface BIBAK 301-322
  J. L. Alty; R. P. Knott; B. Anderson; M. Smyth
Interface metaphors facilitate the learning of new computer systems by supporting the transformation of existing knowledge in order to improve the comprehension of novel situations. However, there is very little guidance for software designers on how to select, implement and evaluate interface metaphors. This paper, which is based upon extensive work in developing metaphors for telecommunications systems, provides a framework for software designers who wish to exploit the use of interface metaphors. The paper proposes a set of six design steps, to provide designers with a practical approach to the application of metaphor in the design of interactive systems. An explanation of the activities required in each step is given and justified from experience gained in developing a number of interface metaphors. A pragmatic model of the use of metaphor in human centred system design is introduced, and a technique for eliciting metaphor characteristics is developed from ethnomethodology. The approach has been discussed with software designers at two workshops, and the final content has been influenced by their input.
Keywords: Metaphor; Interface design; Software design process; Framework

IWC 2001 Volume 13 Issue 3

Editorial: Interfaces for the Active Web BIB 323-324
  Dave Clarke; Alan Dix
Beyond the Interface: Users' Perceptions of Interaction and Audience on Websites BIBAK 325-351
  A. Light; I. Wakeman
Dynamic pages and the increasing number of functions that websites can perform are changing users' relations with the Web. Little has been reported on how the experience of using this kind of interactive site differs from the 'point and click' interactivity of the early Web. This paper reports on a qualitative study of users who entered text while visiting a website of their choice. It shows how the process brought with it two levels of awareness: that of the interface, and that of the social context beyond the interface. The paper goes on to describe the perception of audience that emerged from analysing users' accounts. It also gives details of the data collection method, which is based on the work of Vermersch and has not been widely used outside France for analysing interaction with computers. The implications for website design are considered.
Keywords: Interaction; Perception; Communication model; Interface; Participant roles; Discourse analysis; Explicitation interview
Supporting Educational Activities through Dynamic Web Interfaces BIBAK 353-374
  M. da Graca Pimentel; Y. Ishiguro; B. Kerimbaev; G. D. Abowd; M. Guzdial
The Web is used for many purposes in education, such as the publication of course management information, centralized distribution of course materials, and supporting on-line discussions between instructors and students or among the students themselves. Leveraging off the Web for educational activities both inside and outside the classroom produces a dynamic educational repository. In this paper, we present work that explicitly attempts to connect in-class activity, in the form of multimedia, Web-accessible captured lectures, with collaborative discussion spaces. Flexible and dynamic interfaces for the captured lectures and the discussion spaces are presented, as well as specialized interfaces that connect the two. We discuss our experience in a recent course taught using this integrated and dynamic educational repository and explain how our experience has lead to some solutions for visualizing the changes that occur over this rich space.
Keywords: Educational application; Automated capture and access; Collaborative discussion; Hypertext; Multimedia; Ubiquitous computing
Navigating the World Wide Web: Bookmark Maintenance Architectures BIBAK 375-400
  C. Sorensen; D. Macklin; T. Beaumont
The World Wide Web is increasingly becoming the preferred repository of information. The strength of this information infrastructure is also its weakness. Faced with the chaos of millions of places to go and thousands of places to remember having been, the thousands of new Web users who join every day, need a helping hand. The aim of this paper is, to highlight possible components of technologies supporting web navigation and the maintenance of indexes to web resources. The BASE framework is suggested as a means of understanding the pragmatic technological choices, and six experimental prototypes are presented and discussed. The prototypes support various aspects of bookmark maintenance and information filtering.
Keywords: Web navigation support; Web application framework; Bookmark systems; Information filtering; Web agents
Multi-Authoring Virtual Worlds Via the World Wide Web BIBAK 401-426
  P. Phillips; T. Rodden
The rapid growth of the Internet has seen a range of Collaborative Virtual Environments (CVEs) emerge that support virtual worlds, where users can interact with both objects and each other. However, little consideration has been given to the development of these environments and the provision of tools to allow users to manage them.
   This paper presents a web-based model for jointly authoring multi-user virtual worlds using the ideas of object ownership and division of the virtual environment at the object level. A brief description of an implementation and its more interesting features is also provided.
Keywords: Multi-authoring virtual worlds; Virtual environments; Object ownership

IWC 2001 Volume 13 Issue 4

Comparing Two Spreadsheet Calculation Paradigms: An Empirical Study with Novice Users BIBAK 427-446
  M. Tukiainen
Empirical studies of spreadsheet programming have commonly shown high overall error rates but only little attention has been paid to reasons for these errors. One often mentioned cause for errors is the low conceptual level of spreadsheet systems, e.g. the lack of abstraction and modularity mechanisms. By offering these kinds of mechanisms to spreadsheet users, we wanted to study whether the conceptual level has an effect on types of errors produced. The higher conceptual level paradigm offered is the structured spreadsheet calculation paradigm, which utilizes goals, plans and spreadsheet data structures in computation. In this paper, we present an empirical study with novice users, comparing the traditional spreadsheet calculation paradigm and the structured spreadsheet calculation paradigm. The results show that the two different paradigms produce different error behaviors.
Keywords: Human-computer interaction; Empirical studies of programmers; Calculation paradigms; Spreadsheet calculation
Time and Representational Devices in Rapid Application Development BIBAK 447-466
  D. Tudhope; P. Beynon-Davies; H. Mackay; R. Slack
This paper discusses an ethnographic study of a commercial prototyping software development project. A distinguishing feature of the development was its concentration in one span of time and in one room, with both users and developers participating. This gave rise to a working practice based around the use of low technology representations of design. The case study explores practical issues important for prototyping: time management, user involvement, everyday design representations and the development environment. The mundane nature of design representations facilitated user participation. The public representations of work on the walls showed the current state in design of different components of the system and facilitated collaborative activities. The case study was part of a larger research project (1995-1998) which investigated the commercial use of prototyping in the UK. The development was influenced by a recent trend in commercial prototyping practice, Rapid Application Development (RAD). Implications of the case study for RAD and participatory design are discussed.
Keywords: Prototyping; Ethnography; Rapid Application Development; User participation; Design representations
Semiotic Engineering Principles for Evaluating End-User Programming Environments BIBAK 467-495
  C. S. de Souza; S. D. J. Barbosa; S. R. P. da Silva
End user programming (EUP) environments are difficult to evaluate empirically. Most users do not engage in programming, and those who do are often discouraged by the complexity of programming tasks. Often the difficulties arise from the programming languages in which users are expected to express themselves. But there are other difficulties associated with designing extensions and adjustments to artifacts that have been originally designed by others. This paper characterizes EUP as a semiotic design process, and presents two principles that can be used to illustrate the distinctions between the various kinds of techniques and approaches proposed in this field. The principles support a preliminary theoretical model of EUP and should thus facilitate the definition and interpretation of empirical evaluation studies. They also define some specific semiotic qualifications that more usable and applicable EUP languages could be expected to have.
Keywords: Semiotic engineering; End-user programming; Evaluation methods; Usability; Theoretical model
Human-Computer Interface Design Issues for a Multi-Cultural and Multi-Lingual English Speaking Country -- Botswana BIBAK 497-512
  E. A. Onibere; S. Morgan; E. M. Busang; D. Mpoeleng
This paper reports on research carried out to determine whether a localised interface is preferred by users in a multi-cultural and multi-lingual country where a non-local language is nationally used. We attempted to discover whether local symbols are more acceptable to users as icons and also whether the current phrases used in menus and icon descriptions are clearly understood by the various communities.
   A survey was conducted nation-wide among computer end-users in Botswana. The results indicate an overwhelming desire from users for a localised interface. However, there appears to be little need for localised icons and no agreement as to which language to use for text-based interfaces.
Keywords: Usability; Culture; Localised interface; Interface design

IWC 2001 Volume 13 Issue 5

The Effects of Frame Layout and Differential Background Contrast on Visual Search Performance in Web Pages BIBAK 513-525
  P. van Schaik; J. Ling
Usability is paramount for the success of Web sites. This study aims to contribute towards Web design guidelines for usability through an empirical investigation into two Web page design parameters. Using a 2x4 mixed measures experimental design, we studied the effects of frame layout and background contrast on visual search performance. One hundred and eighty-nine undergraduates carried out a visual search task using mock Web pages. Analysis showed an effect of layout both on accuracy and speed measures, with frames located at the top or left of the screen leading to better performance. No main effect of contrast was found, although there was an interaction between layout and contrast in reaction time for hits. Preference for frame layout was dependent on background contrast. The results are discussed in terms of visual search processes and design recommendations are given.
Keywords: World wide web; Frames; Contrast; Visual search; Usability
A Student Centered Methodology for the Development of a Physics Video Based Laboratory BIBAK 527-548
  F. Gamboa Rodriguez; J. L. Perez Silva; F. Lara Rosano; F. Caviedes Contreras; A. I. Miranda Vitela
The design and development of good quality software is not, in itself, an easy task. In the context of Educational Software development, another major problem is introduced: the user's goal is to learn. Unfortunately, learning is not a task that might be modeled and represented on a computer system. This paper intends to provide some answers to this problem: a Student Centered Methodology for the Development of Educational Software is presented. The methodology makes explicit how the different design choices were made, in order to obtain a final product that not only takes advantage of today's interaction technologies, but also makes an effective use of them.
Keywords: Student centered development methodologies; Educational software design; Human-computer interaction
The Mediating Effects of Intrinsic Motivation, Ease of Use and Usefulness Perceptions on Performance in First-Time and Subsequent Computer Users BIBAK 549-580
  Sid Davis; Susan Wiedenbeck
This study examines how certain software interfaces and prior exposure to other interfaces lead to effective learning. In particular, it studies the roles of the interaction style and the learner's prior exposure to other interaction styles mediated by the engagement of the learning environment, users' perceptions of the usefulness of the software, and users' perceptions of their ability to use the software successfully. In the experimental paradigm, two groups that learned a menu-driven or command-driven word processors after prior exposure to the assimilative context of a direct manipulation interaction style were compared to groups that learned those same interaction styles with no prior exposure to the assimilative context of the direct manipulation style software. The results confirm the importance of directness in the interaction style and of a prior assimilative context for learning. However, they also indicate that engagement has a strong effect on performance via its effect on perceived ease of use (PEU). This suggests that software designers should not only give special attention to creating software that promotes interface directness, but that also promotes engagement. Our results also suggest that it may be difficult to create engaging learning environments for learners who do not possess a relevant assimilative context to support software learning.
Keywords: Software training; Intrinsic motivation; Perceived ease of use; Interaction style; Assimilation theory; Social cognitive theory
A Linguistic Approach to User Interface Design BIBAK 581-599
  Rumen Dimov Andreev
This paper considers user interface design world (UIDW) as a system of communication lines. It necessitates the adoption of a UI design method, centered on language application. For that reason, this approach to UI design is called linguistic approach. The basic characteristics of communication require the presence of a balanced model of UIDW. The integration approach applied to the proposed balanced model submits for analyzing the following issues: the possibilities of object-oriented (OO) approach for providing a homogeneous platform for UI designing; the potential of OO approach for language implementation. The use of formal description provides a basis for the consideration of these issues.
   As a result of these considerations, the following conclusions are drawn. A technology can be used for language implementation if it ensures all abstract forms reflected to the language structure: concept - this is the essence of the word; forms based on individual abstraction reflect static relations of one description; forms based on group abstraction provide context description. At present, the OO technology covers a part of the language structure. It ensures the forms of concept and the forms based on individual abstraction. The OO paradigm can be regarded as a foundation of a linguistic approach to UI design when new OO forms are developed. They have to cover the forms of group abstraction.
Keywords: User interface design; System design; Object-oriented approach; Linguistic approach; Abstract forms of cognition
N-Fingers: A Finger-Based Interaction Technique for Wearable Computers BIBAK 601-625
  Juha Lehikoinen; Mika Roykkee
With wearable computers, using the computer is usually just an occasional, secondary task. The user may operate the computer while walking in the street or sitting in a bus. Hence, efficient and natural methods for controlling the user interface while still being able to interact with the environment are needed. We present a way to navigate and control the wearable computer user interface with fingers. Our approach, called N-Fingers, replaces the conventional desktop pointing devices and the metaphors associated with them, and allows the user to control the user interface in an easy, natural way by using the thumb to push 'buttons' located in the other fingers. An initial qualitative usability evaluation showed N-Fingers to be a promising interaction technique for wearable computers. It is intuitive to use and easy to learn. It can also be used without looking at the hand. The subsequent quantitative evaluation proved that N-Fingers is a fast, accurate technique that can be learned very quickly. N-Fingers enables the wearable computer user interface designers to develop interfaces that are efficient to use yet unobtrusive.
Keywords: Interaction technique; Wearable computing; Fingers; Joints

IWC 2001 Volume 13 Issue 6

Editorial: Interfaces for the Active Web (Part 2) BIB 627-629
  Dave Clarke; Alan Dix
Automatic Generation of Instructional Hypermedia with APHID BIBAK 631-654
  Judi R. Thomson; Jim Greer; John Cooke
This research investigates the use of patterns in designing adaptable, flexible hypermedia applications. While patterns are particularly applicable to software design, they can also be used to assist designers of other types of applications. We have developed a method (APHID) that guides a hypermedia creator through the analysis and design process. The method ensures that good design principles are followed, both for the hypermedia application and for the interface that presents the hypermedia application. Our method uses a concept map, constraints, and patterns (instructional and presentation) to support partial automation for creating hypermedia applications. We also present a prototype software system that uses the APHID method to create instructional hypermedia applications semi-automatically. The applications created using APHID are tailored to specific types of learners. We conclude with a claim that this approach is applicable not just to instructional hypermedia, but to the larger problem of generating adaptable interfaces.
Keywords: Hypermedia design; Patterns; Automated design methods; Instructional design
Supporting Interactive Collaboration on the Web with CORK BIBAK 655-676
  P. L. Isenhour; M. B. Rosson; J. M. Carroll
The World Wide Web has served as a medium for collaboration since its inception. Web-based collaboration has, however, been dominated by systems supporting asynchronous activities such as sharing documents and participating in discussion forums. Supporting interactive, synchronous collaboration on the Web has proven much more challenging. In this paper we describe three of the challenges encountered in the context of supporting network-based collaboration among middle and high school science students: integrating synchronous and asynchronous modes of interaction, minimizing consumption of bandwidth, and adapting non-collaborative software components for collaborative use. We then present the Content Object Replication Kit, a toolkit for building interactive Java-based collaborative systems for use on the Web.
Keywords: Synchronous and asynchronous collaboration; Collaborative software for education; Groupware architecture; Java object replication
Designing a Document-Centric Coordination Application over the Internet BIBAK 677-693
  Paolo Ciancarini; Davide Rossi; Fabio Vitali
In this paper we describe an experience in designing a groupware application distributed over the WWW to solve a conference management problem. The system we design coordinates the activities of several people engaged in reviewing and selecting papers submitted for a scientific conference. We discuss why such an application is interesting and describe how we designed it. The architecture we suggest implements what we call an active Web, because it includes entities which we are able to use and provide services offered through WWW infrastructures. Users, agents, and active documents can interoperate using a set of basic services for communication and synchronization. The active Web infrastructure we describe here is based on coordination technology integrated with Java.
Keywords: Coordination; WWW architectures; Collaborative platforms; CSCW
Creating User-Adapted Websites by the Use of Collaborative Filtering BIBAK 695-716
  Arnd Kohrs; Bernard Merialdo
The information globalization induced by the rapid development of the Internet and the accompanying adoption of the Web throughout the society leads to Websites which reach large audiences. The diversity of the audiences and the need of customer retention require active Websites, which expose themselves in a customized or personalized way: We call those sites User-adapted Websites. New technologies are necessary to personalize and customize content. Information filtering can be used for the discovery of important content and is therefore a key-technology for the creation of user-adapted Websites.
   In this article, we focus on the application of collaborative filtering for user-adapted Websites. We studied techniques for combining and integrating content-based filtering with collaborative filtering in order to address typical problems in collaborative filtering systems and to improve the performance. Other issues which are mentioned but only lightly covered include user interface challenges. To validate our approaches we developed a prototype user-adapted Website, the Active WebMuseum, a museum Website, which exposes its collection in a personalized way by the use of collaborative filtering.
Keywords: Collaborative filtering; Personalization; Content-based filtering; User-adapted Websites; Web museum
Interactivity and Collaboration on the WWW -- is the 'WWW Shell' Sufficient? BIBAK 717-730
  S. Morris; I. Neilson; C. Charlton; J. Little
The web and its associated technologies -- Cgi-scripts, JavaScript and Java -- have become a platform for the development and deployment of applications. Such has been the impact of these technologies that their combination has been likened to an Expert System Shell, and referred to by the term 'WWW shell'. This WWW shell it is claimed is particularly adapted to the development of collaborative applications. This paper challenges this claim on three grounds: browser incompatibilities limit the potential benefits from client-side processing technologies; the generic Common Gateway Interface as an application delivery mechanism is inadequate and the networking restrictions on Java applets constrain effective use of the latter as dedicated interfaces to remote applications. This argument is illustrated with respect to three case studies of practical collaborative applications of WWW shell technology. The paper concludes by exploring the implications of new server side technologies, in particular Java servlets for the future development of the WWW shell and the evolution of an 'Active Web'.
Keywords: WWW; CGI; JavaScript; Java; Applets; Servlets; CSCW; WWW shell; Collaboration