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Interacting with Computers 18

Editors:Dianne Murray
Dates:2006
Volume:18
Publisher:Elsevier Science
Standard No:ISSN 0953-5438
Papers:65
Links:Table of Contents
  1. IWC 2006 Volume 18 Issue 1
  2. IWC 2006 Volume 18 Issue 2
  3. IWC 2006 Volume 18 Issue 3
  4. IWC 2006 Volume 18 Issue 4
  5. IWC 2006 Volume 18 Issue 5
  6. IWC 2006 Volume 18 Issue 6

IWC 2006 Volume 18 Issue 1

Collaborative design: Managing task interdependencies and multiple perspectives BIBAKFull-Text 1-20
  Francoise Detienne
This paper focuses on two characteristics of collaborative design with respect to cooperative work: the importance of work interdependencies linked to the nature of design problems; and the fundamental function of design cooperative work arrangement, which is the confrontation and combination of perspectives. These two intrinsic characteristics of the design work stress specific cooperative processes: coordination processes in order to manage task interdependencies, establishment of common ground and negotiation mechanisms in order to manage the integration of multiple perspectives in design.
Keywords: Collaborative design; Teamwork; Grounding; Coordination; Distant work; Awareness; Negotiation
Awareness and teamwork in computer-supported collaborations BIBAKFull-Text 21-46
  John M. Carroll; Mary Beth Rosson; Gregorio Convertino; Craig H. Ganoe
A contemporary approach to describing and theorizing about joint human endeavor is to posit 'knowledge in common' as a basis for awareness and coordination. Recent analysis has identified weaknesses in this approach even as it is typically employed in relatively simple task contexts. We suggest that in realistically complex circumstances, people share activities and not merely concepts. We describe a framework for understanding joint endeavor in terms of four facets of activity awareness: common ground, communities of practice, social capital, and human development. We illustrate the sort of analysis we favor with a scenario from emergency management, and consider implications and future directions for system design and empirical methods.
Keywords: Activity awareness; Awareness; Collaboration; CSCW; Teamwork
User Needs Analysis and requirements engineering: Theory and practice BIBAKFull-Text 47-70
  Gitte Lindgaard; Richard Dillon; Patricia Trbovich; Rachel White; Gary Fernandes; Sonny Lundahl; Anu Pinnamaneni
Several comprehensive User Centred Design methodologies have been published in the last decade, but while they all focus on users, they disagree on exactly what activities should take place during the User Needs Analysis, what the end products of a User Needs Analysis should cover, how User Needs Analysis findings should be presented, and how these should be documented and communicated. This paper highlights issues in different stages of the User Needs Analysis that appear to cause considerable confusion among researchers and practitioners. It is our hope that the User-Centred Design community may begin to address these issues systematically. A case study is presented reporting a User Needs Analysis methodology and process as well as the user interface design of an application supporting communication among first responders in a major disaster. It illustrates some of the differences between the User-Centred Design and the Requirements Engineering communities and shows how and where User-Centred Design and Requirements Engineering methodologies should be integrated, or at least aligned, to avoid some of the problems practitioners face during the User Needs Analysis.
Keywords: User Needs analysis; Requirements engineering; User centered design; Integration
Inclusive development: Software engineering requirements for universally accessible interactions BIBAFull-Text 71-116
  Anthony Savidis; Constantine Stephanidis
The notion of 'universal access' reflects the concept of an Information Society in which potentially anyone (i.e. any user) will interact with computing machines, at anytime and anyplace (i.e. in any context of use) and for virtually anything (i.e. for any task). Towards reaching a successful and cost effective realization of this vision, it is critical to ensure that the future interface development tools provide all the necessary instrumentation to support inclusive design, i.e. facilitate inclusive development. In the meantime, it is crucial that both tool developers and interface developers acquire awareness regarding the key development features they should pursue when investigating for the most appropriate software engineering support in addressing such a largely demanding development goal (i.e. universally accessible interactions). This paper discusses a corpus of key development requirements for building universally accessible interactions that has been consolidated from real practice, in the course of six medium-to-large scale research projects, all completed, within a 10 years timeframe.
Tasks for and tasks in human-computer interaction BIBAKFull-Text 117-138
  Dan Diaper; Colston Sanger
It is argued that the engineering discipline of human-computer interaction (HCI) has developed over the last couple of decades in an ad hoc manner, driven by the need to solve real problems, rather than being informed by high level, general theories of the discipline. A retrospective role for general HCI theories is suggested. A start at such a general theory, which must be simple and able to encompass all the discipline of HCI's activities, is proposed, based on the concept of tasks. Tasks are characterised as the means by which work is performed. A general systems modelling approach is introduced which divides the assumed world it models into work systems and the application domains that are changed by work performance. The role of different work systems, defined by their differing boundaries and goals, to define different subtasks is introduced and illustrated with a number of simple examples.
Keywords: Human-computer interaction; Engineering; General theories; Systems models; Work; Performance; Tasks; Task analysis

IWC 2006 Volume 18 Issue 2

Emotion representation and physiology assignments in digital systems BIBAKFull-Text 139-170
  Christian Peter; Antje Herbon
Emotions are of increasing interest to the HCI community. Within the last decade, emotion research in HCI grew from an eccentric hobby of some visionary scientists to a widely accepted field of research. A number of proof-of-concept prototypes and studies have been published, dedicated sensor systems and technology frameworks have been developed, and theoretical considerations have been made. While they all represent a very valuable contribution to this young field of research, they lack a common theoretical basis. Particularly, there exists no applicable model of emotions suitable for designing emotion-aware systems or performing HCI-related emotion studies. However, in order to become a mature discipline, emotion research in HCI needs such a rigorous footing that future work can be based on. In this paper, a suitable approach to structure and represent emotions for use in digital systems is introduced, after a detailed and critical review of widely used emotion models is given and representative study results are discussed. The proposed method meets several requirements of HCI researchers and software developers. It avoids artificial categorisation of emotions, requires no naming of emotional states, is language independent, and its implementation is straightforward. The results of an experiment based on this approach are discussed demonstrating its applicability.
Keywords: Emotion; HCI; Affective computing; Emotion-aware systems; Human-centred design
Continuous electronic data capture of physiology, behavior and experience in real life: towards ecological momentary assessment of emotion BIBAKFull-Text 171-186
  Frank H. Wilhelm; Monique C. Pfaltz; Paul Grossman
Emotions powerfully influence our physiology, behavior, and experience. A comprehensive assessment of affective states in health and disease would include responses from each of these domains in real life. Since no single physiologic parameter can index emotional states unambiguously, a broad assessment of physiologic responses is desirable. We present a recently developed system, the LifeShirt, which allows reliable ambulatory monitoring of a wide variety of cardiovascular, respiratory, metabolic, motor-behavioral, and experiential responses. The system consists of a garment with embedded inductive plethysmography and other sensors for physiologic data recording and a handheld computer for input of experiential data via touch screen. Parameters are extracted offline using sophisticated analysis and display software. The device is currently used in clinical studies and to monitor effects of physical and emotional stress in naturalistic settings. Further development of signal processing and pattern recognition algorithms will enhance computerized identification of type and extent of physical and emotional activation.
Keywords: Emotion; Respiration; Ambulatory monitoring; Inductive plethysmography; Affective computing; Wearable computers
Severity and impact of computer user frustration: A comparison of student and workplace users BIBAKFull-Text 187-207
  Jonathan Lazar; Adam Jones; Mary Hackley; Ben Shneiderman
User frustration with information and computing technology is a pervasive and persistent problem. When computers crash, network congestion causes delays, and poor user interfaces trigger confusion there are dramatic consequences for individuals, organizations, and society. These frustrations, not only cause personal dissatisfaction and loss of self-efficacy, but may disrupt workplaces, slow learning, and reduce participation in local and national communities. Our exploratory study of 107 student computer users and 50 workplace computer users shows high levels of frustration and loss of 1/3-1/2 of time spent. This paper reports on the incident and individual factors that cause of frustration, and how they raise frustration severity. It examines the frustration impacts on the daily interactions of the users. The time lost and time to fix problem, and importance of task, strongly correlate with frustration levels for both student and workplace users. Differences between students and workplace users are discussed in the paper, as are implications for researchers.
Keywords: User frustration; User interface design; Training; Helpdesk; Computer experience; Computer anxiety
Real-time estimation of emotional experiences from facial expressions BIBAKFull-Text 208-226
  Timo Partala; Veikko Surakka; Toni Vanhala
The present aim was to develop methods that estimate emotional experiences in real time from the electromyographic activity of two facial muscles: zygomaticus major (activated when smiling) and corrugator supercilii (activated when frowning). Ten subjects were stimulated with a series of emotionally arousing pictures and videos. After each stimulus the subjects rated the valence of their emotional experience on a nine-point bipolar dimensional scale. At the same time the computer estimated the subjects' ratings on the basis of their electrical facial activity during each stimulation with 70 computational models. The models estimated the subjects' ratings either categorically or dimensionally with regression models. The best categorical models were able to estimate negative and positive ratings with an average accuracy of over 70 and 80% for pictures and videos, respectively. The best correlations between the human ratings and machine estimations formed with the regression models were high (r>0.9). These findings indicate that models estimating psycho-emotional experiences on the basis of facial activity can be created successfully in several ways.
Keywords: Emotions; Facial expression; Estimation; Human-computer interaction; Social agent; Psychophysiology
Empathic agents to reduce user frustration: The effects of varying agent characteristics BIBAKFull-Text 227-245
  Kate Hone
There is now growing interest in the development of computer systems which respond to users' emotion and affect. We report three small-scale studies (with a total of 42 participants), which investigate the extent to which affective agents, using strategies derived from human-human interaction, can reduce user frustration within human-computer interaction. The results confirm the previous findings of Klein et al. [Klein, J., Moon, Y., Picard, R.W., 2002. This computer responds to user frustration: theory, design and results. Interacting with Computers 142, 119-140] that such interventions can be effective. We also obtained results that suggest that embodied agents can be more effective at reducing frustration than non-embodied agents, and that female embodied agents may be more effective than male embodied agents. These results are discussed in light of the existing research literature.
Keywords: Affective computing; User emotion; Frustration; Agents
Levels of automation and user participation in usability testing BIBAKFull-Text 246-264
  Kent L. Norman; Emanuele Panizzi
This paper identifies a number of factors involved in current practices of usability testing and presents profiles for three prototype methods: think-aloud, subjective ratings, and history files. We then identify ideal levels to generate the profile for new methods. These methods involve either a human observer or a self-administration of the test by the user. We propose methods of automating the evaluation form by dynamically adding items and modifying the form and the tasks in the process of the usability test. For self-administration of testing, we propose similar ideas of dynamically automating the forms and the tasks. Furthermore, we propose methods of eliciting the user's goals and focus of attention. Finally, we propose that user testing methods and interfaces should be subjected to usability testing.
Keywords: Usability testing; User interface; WWW
Signposts on the digital highway: The effect of semantic and pragmatic hyperlink previews BIBAKFull-Text 265-282
  Alfons Maes; Arjan van Geel; Reinier Cozijn
In this article, the effect of a local, content (as opposed to structure) oriented navigation tool is investigated, i.e. mouse-over hyperlink previews. A usability experiment is described in which three groups of participants were exposed to three different versions of a website: without hyperlink previews, with content oriented, semantic previews, and with task-oriented, pragmatic previews. Participants were asked to execute search and recall tasks, and to evaluate task and hypertext. The results showed a decisive overall advantage for previews in terms of efficiency, but no effects on effectiveness or appreciation. Although semantic and pragmatic previews did not differ significantly, a post hoc analysis showed a learning effect of pragmatic previews that was absent in the semantic preview condition. It was concluded that previews fit in with the step-by-step goal orientation of hypertext users. Once users are acquainted with them, pragmatic previews speed up decision making.
   Apart from the experimental part, the article surveys research into the usability of navigation tools, thereby focusing on the analysis of navigation tools. The bottom line of this review is that most navigation tools as they are used in the experiments provide users with different types of information, e.g. local vs. global, content vs. structure oriented. This complicates the unequivocal explanation of their effect and may explain, together with user and task differences, the variety and inconsistencies observed in the results.
Keywords: Hypertext; Navigation; Previews; Advance organisers
Device-independent web browsing based on CC/PP and annotation BIBAKFull-Text 283-303
  Hwe-Mo Kim; Kyong-Ho Lee
This paper presents a transcoding method that dynamically adapts Web pages to various devices. The proposed method is based on a CC/PP profile that is a standard description of a device's context information. For a sophisticated transcoding, we define an annotation schema to describe an annotation that is meta information about original contents. Since a mobile device has a screen of limited size, a Web page might be split into many smaller pages. For an efficient navigation, the proposed method constructs a navigation map that represents the hierarchical relations among the split pages. Experimental results with various Web contents show that the proposed method has performed successfully in terms of users' convenience of navigation and the transcoding quality.
Keywords: Mobile device; Device independence; CC/PP; Annotation; Web browsing; Navigation; Transcoding
Systematic evaluation methodology for cell phone user interfaces BIBAKFull-Text 304-325
  Young Seok Lee; Sang W. Hong; Tonya L. Smith-Jackson; Maury A. Nussbaum; Kei Tomioka
As cell phones have expanded their functionality with enhanced mobile technology, use of cell phones has become complex. Although usability of cell phones has been improved by featuring hierarchical menu systems, designing comprehensible navigation in the menu hierarchy is still a major challenge to cell phone user interface (UI) developers as more diverse users are adopting cell phones. To develop an easy-to-use cell phone UI, an effective usability evaluation method (UE) is essential. While various usability evaluation methods (UEM) have been developed, laboratory-based usability testing produces high-quality usability data from actual users. Yet, the effectiveness of such testing can vary dramatically depending on what data is collected and how the data are analyzed. To provide a practical guidance for the effective laboratory testing, we developed a systematic evaluation methodology for cell phone user interfaces (SEM-CPU). SEM-CPU is specifically designed to integrate five empirical methods (scenario-based task performance, questionnaires, post-task interview, user observation, and retrospective think aloud) into a laboratory-based test in order to evaluate cell phone UIs. By following SEM-CPU, usability engineers should be able to (1) conduct laboratory-based testing with multiple empirical methods in an efficient way, (2) collect diverse but useful data to measure necessary usability attributes, (3) identify determinants of usability problems, and (4) integrate all usability data to generate proper solutions for the problems. Detailed descriptions of SEM-CPU are presented along with a case study where SEM-CPU was applied to a comparative cell phone usability test.
Keywords: Usability evaluation; Mobile phone; Cell phone; User interface design

IWC 2006 Volume 18 Issue 3

Human factors in personalised systems and services BIBFull-Text 327-330
  George D. Magoulas; Sherry Chen
A web-based tutoring system with styles-matching strategy for spatial geometric transformation BIBAKFull-Text 331-355
  Hao-Chuan Wang; Tsai-Yen Li; Chun-Yen Chang
It has been a major objective for researchers to develop computer systems that can effectively deliver instruction to learners. Therefore, how to incorporate instructional strategies in computer-assisted learning systems in a systematic manner deserves further investigation. In this paper, a style-matching strategy that attempts to match learning materials' styles to learners' latent traits is proposed and realized in a web-based tutoring system, called CooTutor. The mechanism of adaptive material selection takes learners' different spatial ability and learning styles as an integral learning profile into account, and performs traits-based personalization of learning experience. This system is specifically designed to conquer the difficulty of tutoring the topic on fundamental spatial geometry in conventional curriculums. By conducting empirical evaluation with a small group of students, it is found that CooTutor is generally beneficial to learning the domain, but the effect of the styles-matching mechanism remains inconclusive. The work aims to contribute to the community of adaptive hypermedia in providing an explorative example adopting the concern of individual difference for personalization. The system design, a usage scenario, and an exploratory evaluation are presented in this paper as implications for further studies.
Keywords: Adaptive hypermedia; Web-based Learning; Personalization; Learning style; Spatial ability
Designing learner-controlled educational interactions based on learning/cognitive style and learner behaviour BIBAKFull-Text 356-384
  Kyparisia A. Papanikolaou; Andrew Mabbott; Susan Bull; Maria Grigoriadou
Recently, research in individual differences and in particular, learning and cognitive style, has been used as a basis to consider learner preferences in a web-based educational context. Modelling style in a web-based learning environment demands that developers build a specific framework describing how to design a variety of options for learners with different approaches to learning. In this paper two representative examples of educational systems, Flexi-OLM and INSPIRE, that provide learners a variety of options designed according to specific style categorisations, are presented. Experimental results from two empirical studies performed on the systems to investigate learners' learning and cognitive style, and preferences during interaction, are described. It was found that learners do have a preference regarding their interaction, but no obvious link between style and approaches offered, was detected. Derived from an examination of this experimental data, we suggest that while style information can be used to inform the design of learning environments that accommodate learners' individual differences, it would be wise to recommend interactions based on learners' behaviour. Learning environments should allow learners or learners' interaction behaviour to select or trigger the appropriate approach for the particular learner in the specific context. Alternative approaches towards these directions are also discussed.
Keywords: Individual differences; Learning style; Cognitive style; Adaptive educational systems; Adaptation; Personalisation; Learner control
Adapting to intelligence profile in an adaptive educational system BIBAKFull-Text 385-409
  Declan Kelly; Brendan Tangney
Learning characteristics, as informed by research, vary for each individual learner. Research suggests that knowledge is processed and represented in different ways and that students prefer to use different types of resources in distinct ways. However, building Adaptive Educational systems that adapt to different learning characteristics is not easy. Major research questions exist such as: how are the relevant learning characteristics identified, how does modelling of the learner take place and in what way should the learning environment change for users with different learning characteristics?
   EDUCE is one system that addresses these challenges by using Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences (MI) as the basis for dynamically modelling learning characteristics and for designing instructional material. This paper describes a research study, using EDUCE, that explores the effect of using different adaptive presentation strategies and the impact on learning performance when material is matched and mismatched with learning preferences. The results suggest that students with low levels of learning activity, and who use only a limited number of the resources available, have the most to benefit from adaptive presentation strategies and that surprisingly learning gain increases when they are provided with resources not normally preferred.
Keywords: Student modelling; Learning characteristics; Learning styles; Instructional design; Multiple intelligences
Improving the prediction accuracy of recommendation algorithms: Approaches anchored on human factors BIBAKFull-Text 410-431
  George Lekakos; George M. Giaglis
Recommender systems are a special class of personalized systems that aim at predicting a user's interest on available products and services by relying on previously rated items or item features. Human factors associated with a user's personality or lifestyle, although potential determinants of user behavior are rarely considered in the personalization process. In this paper, we demonstrate how the concept of lifestyle can be incorporated in the recommendation process to improve the prediction accuracy by efficiently managing the problem of limited data availability. We propose two approaches: one relying on lifestyle alone and another integrating lifestyle within the nearest neighbor approach. Both approaches are empirically tested in the domain of recommendations for personalized television advertisements and are shown to outperform existing nearest neighborhood approaches in most cases.
Keywords: Personalization; Recommenders systems; Collaborative filtering; Content-based filtering; Lifestyle; Digital television; Advertisements
Goal-based structuring in recommender systems BIBAKFull-Text 432-456
  Mark van Setten; Mettina Veenstra; Anton Nijholt; Betsy van Dijk
Recommender systems help people to find information that is interesting to them. However, current recommendation techniques only address the user's short-term and long-term interests, not their immediate interests. This paper describes a method to structure information (with or without using recommendations) taking into account the users' immediate interests: a goal-based structuring method. Goal-based structuring is based on the fact that people experience certain gratifications from using information, which should match with their goals. An experiment using an electronic TV guide shows that structuring information using a goal-based structure makes it easier for users to find interesting information, especially if the goals are used explicitly; this is independent of whether recommendations are used or not. It also shows that goal-based structuring has more influence on how easy it is for users to find interesting information than recommendations.
Keywords: Goal-based structuring; Recommender systems; Uses and gratification theory; Decision theory; Personalisation
Personalising web page presentation for older people BIBAKFull-Text 457-477
  S. H. Kurniawan; A. King; D. G. Evans; P. L. Blenkhorn
This paper looks at different ways of personalising web page presentation to alleviate functional impairments in older people. The paper considers how impairments may be addressed by web design and through various personalisation instruments: accessibility features of standard browsers, proxy servers, assistive technology, application adaptors, and special purpose browsers. A pilot study of five older web users indicated that the most favoured personalisation technique was overriding the CSS (cascading style sheet) with a readily available one using a standard browser. The least favoured one was using assistive technology. In a follow-up study with 16 older web users, performing goal-directed browsing tasks, overriding CSS remains the most favoured. Assistive technology remains the least favoured and the slowest. Based on user comments, one-take-home message for web personalisation instrument developer is that the best instrument for older persons is one that most faithfully preserves the original layout while requiring the least effort.
Keywords: Ageing; Elderly; Gerontology; Web; Assistive technology; Accessibility
Adapting the interaction in a call centre system BIBAKFull-Text 478-506
  Federica Cena; Ilaria Torre
This paper describes Adaptive Response and Routing System (ARRS), a system which personalizes the management of the entire answering process in a Call Centre infrastructure. The system is characterized by combining two kinds of adaptation: to the caller and to the operator. The aim is to support the user incrementally, improving the global quality of the interaction. In particular, the system combines a first process of automatic and personalized response with a second one of adaptive routing of the call to the operator who best fits the caller's features, according to a user-centered workflow. The results of a preliminary evaluation confirm the validity of the approach.
Keywords: Adaptation; VUI (voice user interface); User modeling; Automatic response; Calls routing; Call Centre

IWC 2006 Volume 18 Issue 4

Metrics for evaluating human information interaction systems BIBAKFull-Text 507-527
  Jean Scholtz
Society today has a wealth of information available due to information technology. The challenge facing researchers working in information access is how to help users easily locate the information needed. Evaluation methodologies and metrics are important tools to assess progress in human information interaction (HII). To properly evaluate these systems, evaluations need to consider the performance of the various components, the usability of the system, and the impact of the system on the end user. Current usability metrics are adequate for evaluating the efficiency, effectiveness, and user satisfaction of such systems. Performance measures for new intelligent technologies will have to be developed. Regardless of how well the systems are and how usable the systems are, it is critical that impact measures are developed. For HII systems to be useful, we need to assess how well information analysts work with the systems. This evaluation needs to go beyond technical performance metrics and usability metrics. What are the metrics for evaluating utility? This paper describes research efforts focused on developing metrics for the intelligence community that measure the impact of new software to facilitate information interaction.
Keywords: Human information interaction; Information retrieval; Evaluation; User-centered; Intelligence analysis; Metrics for utility
A computer support tool for the early stages of architectural design BIBAKFull-Text 528-555
  Dzmitry Aliakseyeu; Jean-Bernard Martens; Matthias Rauterberg
Even in the current computer age, there are still many important application areas, such as early architectural design, where traditional tools like sketching on paper continue to be preferred by many professionals over computer-based tools. There is a growing awareness that there are often very good grounds for this preference. Hence, instead of trying to replace such traditional ways of working, it is now often considered more opportune to try and preserve the strengths of these traditional ways of working, while at the same time improving them by providing access to new media. This is one of the main objectives of the augmented reality approach that we adopt here. In this paper, we specifically discuss the realization of a tool for early architectural design on an existing augmented reality system, called the Visual Interaction Platform. We describe the development process, the resulting tool and its performance for elementary tasks such as positioning and overdrawing. We also identify directions for future research and applications.
Keywords: User-centered engineering; Augmented reality; Tangible interfaces; Architectural design; Electronic paper
When humans need humans: The lack of use of computer-based ICT in distance pastoral care BIBAKFull-Text 556-567
  Stella Mills
Computer-based information and communication technologies (ICT) have become a part of many people's working lives. Such technology is used in the form of e-mails and video-conferencing across many sectors of society and these are sometimes claimed to have replaced the need for face-to-face meetings. However, certain areas of work still seem to need face-to-face meetings; this paper focuses on one such area of work, that of Christian pastoral care. The article discusses the needs of clients and carers involved in crisis care within a Christian ethos and assesses why ICT tools seem to be mainly superfluous in situations where crisis caring has to take place at a distance. Caplan's model of crisis is used to indicate typical characteristics of people in crisis. Evidence from the Foot and Mouth epidemic of 2001 in the UK is used to investigate the usage of ICT in a real situation where distance pastoral care was essential. The findings show that the telephone was by far the best ICT tool although e-mail and the Internet were used in more formal business situations.
Keywords: ICT; Voice technology; Asynchronous technology; Synchronous technology; Pastoral care; Caplan's crisis model
Usability professionals -- current practices and future development BIBAKFull-Text 568-600
  Jan Gulliksen; Inger Boivie; Bengt Goransson
The usability concept has now received such a wide recognition in information technology (IT) development that working with usability can be regarded as a profession in its own right. In recent research projects, we have surveyed and studied usability work on an individual level in a number of Swedish development organisations, including success factors and obstacles. What we have seen relates to the individual usability professional and her background and experiences, the organisation in which she operates, the development process, communication and communication means, and finally the attitudes and basic values held by the people involved.
   In this paper, we compile and reflect on selected findings from different studies on usability work in practical systems development in a number of Swedish organisations. We discuss our findings from a practical point of view and relate them to the research of others within the international HCI community. Finally, we discuss some issues we consider important for the future development of the practice of usability that we believe is of interest to the international community of usability professionals.
Keywords: Usability; Design; User-centred design; Organisation; Software development; Practice; Role; Profession
The lonesome cowboy: A study of the usability designer role in systems development BIBAKFull-Text 601-634
  Inger Boivie; Jan Gulliksen; Bengt Goransson
This paper reports on an evaluation of the usability designer role as applied in two Swedish systems development organisations. The role was initially defined by us, but evolved in these two organisations. We conducted interviews with usability designers, project managers and a user representative. Our main research question was whether or not the introduction of a usability designer has been successful in terms of changes in the systems development process and the impact the role has had on products, projects and organisations. To some extent, the role has met our expectations and intentions for instance, in helping the usability designers shift their focus towards design, and assume some kind of "users' advocate" role. But in other ways, the role "failed". The usability designers in our study are still facing the kind of problems and obstacles that usability professionals have always had to deal with.
Keywords: User-centred systems design; UCSD; Usability; Usability practitioner; Usability professional; Software development
'Representing the User' in software development -- a cultural analysis of usability work in the product development context BIBAKFull-Text 635-664
  N. Iivari
It is widely accepted that users should be involved in the development of interactive systems. However, involving users in interactive systems development is challenging, especially in product development. The organizational culture is a key factor affecting the successes and failures of organizational change and development efforts. This paper shows how user involvement is intertwined with the organizational cultures in a case study of five software development organizations. User involvement is indirect in the case organizations, and labeled as usability work. Using cross case analysis, four 'cultures of usability work' are identified. The cultures have distinct cultural characteristics, employ different approaches to usability work, and have different preferences and strategies for the prospective facilitation of usability work. Sensitivity to the cultural context is identified as an important consideration in the facilitation of usability work, and culturally compatible strategies for usability work in different cultural settings are identified. The paper concludes that there might not be one 'best, universally valid, context free way' of introducing and carrying out usability work in software product development organizations.
Keywords: User involvement; User-centered design; Organizational culture; Qualitative research
Evaluating and implementing a collaborative office document system BIBAKFull-Text 665-682
  Andy Adler; John C. Nash; Sylvie Noel
Collaborative work with office suite documents such as word processing, spreadsheet and presentation files usually demands special tools and methods. For this application, we have developed TellTable, a relatively simple web-based framework built largely from available software and infrastructure. TellTable allows the use of existing office-suite software in a collaborative manner that is controlled but is familiar to users of common single user software. From the literature and our research, we identify twelve challenges to collaborative editing software that we use in an evaluation checklist: time and space, awareness, communication, private and shared work spaces, intellectual property, simultaneity and locking, protection, workflow, security, file format, platform independence, and user benefit. We then use this checklist to characterize TellTable in comparison to some other collaborative office tools.
Keywords: Collaboration; CSCW; Groupware; Collaborative editing; Collaborative office; TellTable
An interactive computer graphics interface for the introduction of fuzzy inference in environmental education BIBAKFull-Text 683-708
  Irene A. Ioannidou; Stephanos Paraskevopoulos; Panagiotis Tzionas
Fuzzy logic is based on sets of rules that can be easily understood by the students, since they bear a close resemblance to natural language. The introduction of fuzzy logic, within the framework of Environmental Education, is considered to be necessary in order to provide an insight to the complex environmental interactions. Fuzzy inference is introduced in this paper as an extension of hypothetico-predictive argumentation and it allows the investigation of alternative hypotheses. This is achieved through the development of an interactive computer graphics environment that encompasses a set of fuzzy logic analysis tools and a fuzzy inference model of a lake. The fuzzy model guarantees the scientific integrity of the simulation results, and the graphical interface presents to the students only the comprehensible characteristics of the environmental stressors in the ecosystem of the lake. The proposed graphical interface was developed in successive design stages, with the active participation of the students. The results of the students' experimentation with the graphical interface indicate that their comprehension of the significant environmental problems of the lake is considerably improved and some misconceptions are resolved. Thus, it is considered valuable as an aid to environmental education.
Keywords: Interactive interface; Fuzzy logic; Environmental education
On integration of interface design methods: Can debates be resolved? BIBAKFull-Text 709-722
  Y. Lin; W. J. Zhang; R. J. Koubek; Ronald R. Mourant
There have been many debates on how to design the human-computer interface (HCI). Often, one can find that different views in a debate are simply because these views are attached to different aspects which embody the same thing. In other words, prior to giving an effective judgment of a debate, one needs to establish an understanding of the 'total' aspects of a thing the debate is about. Following this line of thinking, in this paper, we propose an understanding of the 'total' aspects of designing HCI, which is called the total interface design framework. We then judge several debates under this framework with the purpose of exemplifying the judgment process for any other debate related to designing HCI. At the end, the debates used for exemplifying our judgment process can be resolved. The effectiveness of the total interface design framework for integrating the different HCI approaches is also demonstrated.
Keywords: Human-computer interface; Total interface design; Interface design principle
Towards optimal navigation through video content on interactive TV BIBAKFull-Text 723-746
  Jinwoo Kim; Hyunho Kim; Kyungwook Park
A wide variety of video content -- news programs, documentaries, sports shows, movies, and the like -- is broadcast today in digital format to interactive TVs. Unlike a conventional TV, an interactive TV allows the viewer to navigate back and forth in time through the available content. Surprisingly, few studies have addressed the problems that arise when navigation along the time dimension becomes possible. The aim of this study was to develop navigation aids for interactive TVs that are theoretically grounded and empirically verified. Toward this end, we first designed two new navigation aids based on episodic indexing theory (EIT): a recency-frame and a short-reminder. Second, we built an interactive TV simulator (ITS) to test the new navigation aids in a controlled experiment. Finally, we devised several measures appropriate for evaluating navigation aids for interactive TV in addition to traditional usability measures. Subsequently, employing the interactive TV simulator and the newly devised measures, we conducted an experiment to evaluate the effectiveness of the two proposed navigation aids. We found that both navigation aids enhanced the quality of the viewer's experience. The paper concludes with a discussion of the study's limitations and implications.
Keywords: Video content; Temporal navigation; Interactive TV; Episodic indexing theory; Recency-frame; Short-reminder
A method for conflict detection based on team intention inference BIBAKFull-Text 747-769
  Taro Kanno; Keiichi Nakata; Kazuo Furuta
One of the typical causes of errors in team cooperative activities, such as in central control rooms of power plants and cockpits in aircrafts, is conflicts among team members' intentions. If mutual awareness and communication were perfectly established and maintained, conflicts could be detected and recovered by team members; however, this does not happen in practice. In this paper, we provide a framework for detecting conflicts among team members' intentions based on team intention inference, aiming to make machines function as a coordinator for cooperative activities. In previous work, we developed a method for team intention inference based on a definition of 'we-intention'. We-intention is other-regarding intentions relating to situations in which some agents act together, and is represented as a set of individual intentions and mutual beliefs. In this framework, a conflict can be defined as a set of individual intentions and false beliefs (undesired procedures), and detected by searching for such combinations. We applied the proposed method to the operation of a plant simulator operated by a two-person team, and it was confirmed through an experiment that this method could list candidates for conflicts by type and set the actual conflict high in priority in the tested context.
Keywords: Team intention; Conflict; Cooperation; Intention inference
The effects of metaphors on novice and expert learners' performance and mental-model development BIBAKFull-Text 770-792
  Yu-chen Hsu
The effects of metaphors on learning have been proved by many studies. Learners naturally invoke metaphors when learning new concepts because metaphors stimulate them to generate models of the domain to be learned. However, little evidence has been seen of metaphors' effect on developing learners' mental models. Since metaphors function by providing familiar concepts that help learners to construct new knowledge, metaphors' effects may be more apparent to novice learners.
   This study explores the effects of metaphors on both novice and expert learners' performance and their mental-model development as documented by three different measurement methods. It also examines the relationship between subjects' performance and their mental models. The results indicate that metaphors may facilitate novices' construction of integrative knowledge but not simple knowledge. In addition, metaphors may possibly have lasting effects on expert learning but the effects may not be seen immediately after learning.
Keywords: Hypertext system; Knowledge structure; Learning; Mental model; Metaphor; Novice versus expert
Clover: Connecting technology and character education using personally-constructed animated vignettes BIBAKFull-Text 793-819
  Brian P. Bailey; Sharon Y. Tettegah; Terry J. Bradley
Schools are increasingly integrating character education to facilitate improved moral thinking and pro social behavior among students. An effective method for delivering character education is problem solving moral and social situations represented visually as animated vignettes. However, schools are rarely able to use animated vignettes since existing tools do not allow them to be easily created and having them created externally is overly expensive. In this paper, we describe the design, use, and evaluation of a computational tool that enables students to construct their own animated vignettes. By building, sharing, and responding to vignettes, students become engaged in problem solving moral and social situations. Evaluations showed that users are able to build meaningful vignettes, our tool is easy to learn and fun to use, and our tool's multimedia features are often used and well-liked. Educators can download and use our tool while researchers can draw upon our design rationale and lessons learned when building similar tools.
Keywords: Animation; Character education; Multimedia; Narratives; Vignettes
Towards culture-centred design BIBAKFull-Text 820-852
  Siu-Tsen Shen; Martin Woolley; Stephen Prior
This paper addresses culturally rooted factors within user interface design. The design implications of globalisation are discussed, together with the related processes of internationalisation, localisation, 'glocalisation', iconisation and culturalisation, in order to establish a basis for a new approach to HCI design. The potential for a more diverse culture-centred, design-based system -- 'Culture-Centred Design' (CCD) is introduced, and a CCD process developed.
   A redesigned computer interface, incorporating a consistent and culturally rooted metaphor for a Chinese user target group is discussed. A culturally specific 'garden' metaphor is developed and applied as an alternative to the current global 'office' or 'desktop' metaphor. A working demonstration of the interface is piloted with a group of Chinese users to assess its success in terms of interactivity, usability and cultural significance. The overall results of the first two evaluation phases have shown very positive outcomes for the use of the CCD system and Chinese garden metaphor.
Keywords: Culture; Design process; Iconography; Metaphor; User-interface design; Human computer interaction (HCI)
An overview of auditory display to assist comprehension of molecular information BIBAKFull-Text 853-868
  Miguel Angel Garcia-Ruiz; Jorge Rafael Gutierrez-Pulido
This paper presents an overview of auditory display (the use of non-speech sounds to convey information) applied to the study of molecular properties in human-computer interfaces, particularly in virtual environments. Chemistry researchers and students have difficulty in analysing and comprehending molecular structure and bonding and other biomolecular characteristics. Research reports that non-speech sounds have been useful in identifying trends in gene sequences and molecular characteristics, which when used in virtual environments, can facilitate comprehension of complex relationships that are difficult to perceive through visualisation alone.
Keywords: Virtual reality; Multimodality; Auditory display; Non-speech sounds; Molecular structure; Bonding

IWC 2006 Volume 18 Issue 5

Flexible tool support for accessibility evaluation BIBAKFull-Text 869-890
  Barbara Leporini; Fabio Paterno; Antonio Scorcia
The increasing need to check Web site accessibility has stimulated interest in tools to aid the various activities involved. While some tools for this purpose already exist, we believe that there is a demand for making their support more flexible. In particular, there is often a need for validation of multiple sets of guidelines, repairing Web pages and providing better reports for the evaluators. In this paper, we discuss such issues and how we have addressed them in the design of MAGENTA, our new tool for supporting inspection-based evaluation of accessibility and usability guidelines.
Keywords: Accessibility; Tools; Evaluation; Guidelines
When humans form media and media form humans: An experimental study examining the effects different digital media have on the learning outcomes of students who have different learning styles BIBAKFull-Text 891-909
  J. L. Alty; A. Al-Sharrah; N. Beacham
A set of computer-based experiments are reported that investigate the understanding achieved by learners when studying a complex domain (statistics) in a real e-learning environment using three different media combinations -- Text only, Text and Diagrams and Spoken Text and Diagrams, and the results agree with earlier work carried out on more limited domains. The work is then extended to examine how student interaction and student learning styles affect the learning outcomes. Different responses to the media combinations are observed and significant differences occur between learners classified as Sensing and Reflective learners. The experiment also identified some important differences in performance with the different media combinations by students registered as Dyslexic. The experiment was therefore repeated with a much larger sample of Dyslexic learners and the earlier effects were found to be significant. The results were surprising and may provide useful guidance for the design of material for Dyslexic students.
Keywords: Multimedia; Learning; Learning style; Dyslexia; Sensing and intuitive learners; Experimental study
An approach integrating two complementary model-based environments for the construction of multimodal interactive applications BIBAKFull-Text 910-941
  David Navarre; Philippe Palanque; Pierre Dragicevic; Remi Bastide
This paper presents a tool suite for the engineering of multimodal Post-WIMP Interactive Systems. The work presented here extends previous work done on design, prototyping, specification and verification of interactive systems and integrates two previously unrelated approaches. The first element of this integration is ICoM (a data-flow model dedicated to low-level input modelling) and its environment ICon which allows for editing and simulating ICoM models. The other element is ICOs (a formal description technique mainly dedicated to dialogue modelling) and its environment PetShop, which allows for editing, simulating and verifying ICOs models. This paper shows how these two approaches have been integrated and that this integration allows for engineering multimodal interactive systems. We show on a Range Slider case study how these tools can be used for prototyping interactive systems in general and multimodal interaction techniques in particular. We also present in details how the changes in the interaction techniques impact the models at various levels of the software architecture.
Keywords: Interactive systems engineering; Multimodal interaction; Prototyping; CASE tools Formal methods
The emerging roles of performance within HCI and interaction design BIBFull-Text 942-955
  Catriona Macaulay; Giulio Jacucci; Shaleph O'Neill; Tomi Kankaineen; Morna Simpson
Gaining insight into unfamiliar contexts: A design toolbox as input for using role-play techniques BIBAKFull-Text 956-976
  J. Rodriguez; J. C. Diehl; H. Christiaans
This paper presents a design toolbox developed for Philips Design in commission of Philips Medical Systems that provides insight into the healthcare context of rural India. Creating products for this context requires an understanding of the needs of the people within it. This paper discusses 'contextual design' through the combination of different descriptive and experiential tools, used to introduce designers into a context they are not familiar with. The toolbox has been evaluated using different performance techniques with design students. The use of role-play techniques has proven increasing relevance in many aspects: increasing the understanding and experience of participants about the context, creating an embodied and common understanding of the ideas being developed and communicating the concepts in their context.
Keywords: Performance; Cultural diversity; Design tool; Context information; People understanding
Interacting with user data -- Theory and examples of drama and dramaturgy as methods of exploration and evaluation in user-centered design BIBAKFull-Text 977-995
  Katri Mehto; Vesa Kantola; Sauli Tiitta; Tomi Kankainen
In this article, we discuss the application of drama and dramaturgy to user-centered product concept design (UCPCD) processes, aiming to create a more holistic approach to designing user experiences. We present the UCPCD process and its background, and a selection of interactive theater tools that can be applied to UCPCD. Through a case study we introduce a practical implementation of these tools to UCPCD. The paper concludes by suggesting guidelines for using drama and dramaturgy in concept design activities. The key finding is that drama methods deepen the designers' involvement in the process and improve understanding of the user communities' behavior.
Keywords: User-centered design; Drama; Interaction; Evaluation; Participation; Scenario
The use of theatre in requirements gathering and usability studies BIBAKFull-Text 996-1011
  A. F. Newell; A. Carmichael; M. Morgan; A. Dickinson
This paper discusses the use of theatrical techniques to communicate to designers the user requirements for IT interfaces - particularly those of "extreme users" such as older people. The methodology and processes of producing such material in a video form are described, together with the strengths and weaknesses of this approach. The paper concludes by suggesting the various roles live theatre can play in user centered design. Although the research, on which this paper is based, focuses on the challenges presented by older and disabled users, the techniques described are applicable to a wider range of users.
Keywords: Film/theatre; Communicating user requirements; Methodology; Older people
Designing for programming as joint performances among groups of children BIBAKFull-Text 1012-1031
  Ylva Fernaeus; Jakob Tholander
Research on computer programming usually views the interactions as mostly cognitively based, with focus on concepts such as memory, perception and conceptual understanding. However, the current trend towards embodied and social perspectives on interaction provides an alternative way of looking at interactive processes, instead emphasising aspects such as social and physical performance with and around technology. We have explored a range of activities and tools that explicitly address these aspects in programming, with a specific focus on children's making of own computer games and simulations. We exemplify this work through three different situations where tools and activities are used by children as recourses for building of interactive systems, while at the same time allowing for bodily action in negotiation of design ideas. We discuss how situations like these may provide directions for new technologies for programming as well as methodological developments in the area of interaction design.
Keywords: Interaction design; Tangible programming; Performance in interaction design; Children's programming
Guiding design with approaches to masked performance BIBAKFull-Text 1032-1054
  Carlo Jacucci
This paper reinterprets practical approaches to masked performance to articulate design activities that make use of performances and embodied artefacts. In particular, the paper relies on examples from design research to explore the application of performance work based on 'neutrality', expressivity and 'incompleteness', which have been developed in theatre to devise performances with 'neutral', 'characterised' and 'larval' masks.
   A more general argument in the paper is that the project of applying the performing arts into interaction design can be usefully extended beyond the boundaries that have so far characterised such applications. These have been limited to the direct staging of the performances which are meant to provide the evidence for design inquiries. Instead, design activities can proceed by working in a more indirect way, by researching variations of the achieved performances, and by using multiple performance genres, including stylised performances and mask work.
Keywords: Design; Performance; Performing arts; Props; Masks
The influence of hedonic quality on the attractiveness of user interfaces of business management software BIBAKFull-Text 1055-1069
  Martin Schrepp; Theo Held; Bettina Laugwitz
Recent work concerning user satisfaction shows that hedonic aspects of a user interface influence the perceived usability and attractiveness of the product. We investigate if these results can also be applied to business management software. In addition, we try to clarify the impact of hedonic aspects on user preference for different user interfaces.
   In an empirical study subjects judged three different user interfaces for the same business task with respect to their attractiveness by filling out the AttrakDiff questionnaire (Hassenzahl, M., Burmester, M., Koller, F., 2003. AttrakDiff: Ein Fragebogen zur Messung wahrgenommener hedonischer und pragmatischer Qualitat [AttrakDiff: A questionnaire for the measurement of perceived hedonic and pragmatic quality]. In: J. Ziegler and G. Szwillus (Eds.), Mensch and Computer 2003: Interaktion in Bewegung, 187-196. Stuttgart, Leipzig: B.G. Teubner). The subjects ranked the interfaces also by personal preference. The results show that pragmatic and hedonic qualities have an impact on attractiveness. In addition, the more attractive an interface is the higher is the preference of subjects for this interface.
Keywords: Usability; Aesthetics; Hedonic quality; Business management software
The need for transparency and rationale in automated systems BIBAKFull-Text 1070-1083
  David Dinka; James M. Nyce; Toomas Timpka
As medical devices and information systems become increasingly complex, the issue of how to support users becomes more important. However, many current help systems are often ignored or found to be too complicated to use by clinicians. In this article, we suggest an approach that allows designers to think about user support and automating tasks in ways users find more acceptable. The issue we address in particular is the notion of transparency and to what extent it allows the end-user to understand and critique the advice given. We have found that one central problem with existing support systems is that often the end-user does not understand the differences between the automated parts and the parts that have to be done manually. By taking aspects of transparency and control into account when designing an automated tool it seems that some of the more refractory issues that help systems pose for professional users can be addressed.
Keywords: Automated systems; Usability; Control; User identity; Gammaknife surgery
Modeling users' task performance on the mobile device: PC convergence system BIBAKFull-Text 1084-1100
  Seung Hun Yoo; Wan Chul Yoon
This study aims to establish a model-based approach for user interface design that simultaneously considers the system's information hierarchy, users' task procedure knowledge, and system interfaces. The approach is based on a framework that contains multiple interaction models to express both system elements and users' knowledge. The framework evaluates system interface through the interaction between user's knowledge on interface, task procedure and information structure perceived by the user in the system. The interface is evaluated by its contribution to the users' task performance and system navigation.
   These three factors were defined as design factors that affect users' task performance. Through the crosscheck process of models, the relation between information, interface, and task procedure is calculated into combined difficulty index (CDI) that expresses the difficulty of a system interface that users would experience during the use of system. A user test was conducted for the validation of the CDI. The difficulties of the interface of a mobile healthcare system were predicted with the CDI, and the predictions were compared with the experimental results, where the users' performance showed consistence with the prediction.
Keywords: Interaction model; Task-information link; UI problem detection; Difficulty index
Usability evaluation of multi-modal biometric verification systems BIBAKFull-Text 1101-1122
  Doroteo T. Toledano; Ruben Fernandez Pozo; Alvaro Hernandez Trapote; Luis Hernandez Gomez
As a result of the evolution in the field of biometrics, a new breed of techniques and methods for user identity recognition and verification has appeared based on the recognition and verification of several biometric features considered unique to each individual. Signature and voice characteristics, facial features, and iris and fingerprint patterns have all been used to identify a person or just to verify that the person is who he/she claims to be. Although still relatively new, these new technologies have already reached a level of development that allows its commercialization. However, there is a lack of studies devoted to the evaluation of these technologies from a user-centered perspective. This paper is intended to promote user-centered design and evaluation of biometric technologies. Towards this end, we have developed a platform to perform empirical evaluations of commercial biometric identity verification systems, including fingerprint, voice and signature verification. In this article, we present an initial empirical study in which we evaluate, compare and try to get insights into the factors that are crucial for the usability of these systems.
Keywords: Evaluation; Usability; Biometrics; Identity verification; Fingerprint recognition; Signature recognition; Voice recognition
Optimizing conditions for computer-assisted anatomical learning BIBAKFull-Text 1123-1138
  Jan-Maarten Luursema; Willem B. Verwey; Piet A. M. Kommers; Robert H. Geelkerken; Hans J. Vos
An experiment evaluated the impact of two typical features of virtual learning environments on anatomical learning for users of differing visuo-spatial ability. The two features studied are computer-implemented stereopsis (the spatial information that is based on differences in visual patterns projected in both eyes) and interactivity (the possibility to actively and continuously change one's view of computer-mediated objects). Participants of differing visuo-spatial ability learned about human abdominal organs via anatomical three-dimensional (3D) reconstructions using either a stereoptic study phase (involving stereopsis and interactivity) or using a biocular study phase that involved neither stereopsis nor interactivity. Subsequent tests assessed the acquired knowledge in tasks involving (a) identification of anatomical structures in anatomical 2D cross-sections (i.e. typical Computed Tomography pictures) in an identification task, and (b) localization of these cross-sections in a frontal view of the anatomy in a localization task. The results show that the stereoptic group performed significantly better on both tasks and that participants of low visuo-spatial ability benefited more from the stereoptic study phase than those of high visuo-spatial ability.
Keywords: Visuo-spatial ability; Stereopsis; Anatomical learning; Virtual learning environments; Interactivity
Pastiche scenarios: Fiction as a resource for user centred design BIBAKFull-Text 1139-1164
  Mark A. Blythe; Peter C. Wright
Pastiche scenarios draw on fiction as a resource to explore the interior 'felt-life' aspects of user experience and the complex social and cultural issues raised by technological innovations. This paper sets out an approach for their use, outlining techniques for the location of source material and presenting three case studies of pastiche scenario use. The first case study is an evaluation of the Apple iPod that explores the socio-cultural meanings of the technology. The second case study focuses on the participatory design of Net Neighbours, an online shopping system where volunteers shop as intermediaries for older people who do not have access to computers. The third is an in depth consideration of a conceptual design, the 'cambadge' a wearable lightweight web cam which, upon activation broadcasts to police or public websites intended to reduce older people's fear of crime. This design concept is explored in depth in pastiche scenarios of the Miss Marple stories, A Clockwork Orange and Nineteen Eighty-four that reflect on how the device might be experienced not only by users but also by those it is used against. It is argued that pastiche scenarios are a useful complementary method for designers to reason about user experience as well as the broad social and cultural impacts of new technologies.
Keywords: Scenario based design; Pastiche scenarios; User experience; Experience centred design

IWC 2006 Volume 18 Issue 6

Special issue of interacting with computers: Symbiotic performance between humans intelligent systems BIBFull-Text 1165-1169
  Martha E. Crosby; Jean Scholtz; Paul Ward
Agent coordination and communication in sociotechnological systems: Design and measurement issues BIBAKFull-Text 1170-1185
  David W. Eccles; Paul T. Groth
This article is concerned with enhancing agent coordination in modern sociotechnological systems. To this end, sociotechnological systems are conceptualized as problem solving systems that comprise human and technological agents engaged in dynamic collaboration. Following this, there is a discussion of the challenge of achieving agent coordination in problem solving systems as technological agents become increasingly autonomous. A key assertion is that agent coordination in problem solving systems might be enhanced through the study of competent coordination in living systems such as human and animal groups. Based on a review of research on competent coordination in human and animal groups, design principles for problem solving systems are then presented. Finally, methods are proposed for measuring the extent to which a given agent operates in accordance with these principles.
Keywords: Computer-human interface; Problem solving; Systems; Teams; Group dynamics
Evaluation metrics and methodologies for user-centered evaluation of intelligent systems BIBAKFull-Text 1186-1214
  Jean Scholtz; Emile Morse; Michelle Potts Steves
In the past four years, we have worked with several research programs that were developing intelligent software for use by intelligence analysts. Our involvement in these programs was to develop the metrics and methodologies for assessing the impact on users; in this case, on intelligence analysts. In particular, we focused on metrics to evaluate how much the intelligent systems contribute to the users' tasks and what the cost is to the user in terms of workload and process deviations. In this paper, we describe the approach used. We started with two types of preliminary investigations - first, collecting and analyzing data from analysts working in an instrumented environment for a period of 2 years, and second, developing and conducting formative evaluations of research software. The long-term studies informed our ideas about the processes that analysts use and provided potential metrics in an environment without intelligent software tools. The formative evaluations helped us to define sets of application-specific metrics. Finally, we conducted assessments during and after technology insertions. We describe the metrics and methodologies used in each of these activities, along with the lessons learned.
Keywords: Evaluation; Metrics; Intelligent software systems; Intelligence analysts
Toward a real-time model-based training system BIBAKFull-Text 1215-1241
  Wai-Tat Fu; Daniel Bothell; Scott Douglass; Craig Haimson; Myeong-Ho Sohn; John Anderson
This article describes the development of a real-time model-based training system that provides adaptive '"over-the-shoulder'" (OTS) instructions to trainees as they learn to perform an Anti-Air Warfare Coordinator (AAWC) task. The long-term goal is to develop a system that will provide real-time instructional materials based on learners' actions, so that eventually the initial set of instructions on a task can be strengthened, complemented, or overridden at different stages of training. The training system is based on the ACT-R architecture, which serves as the theoretical background for the cognitive model that monitors the learning process of the trainee. An experiment was designed to study the impact of OTS instructions on learning. Results showed that while OTS instructions facilitated short-term learning, (a) they took time away from the processing of current information, (b) their effects tended to decay rapidly in initial stages of training, and (c) their effects on training diminished when the OTS instructions were proceduralized in later stages of training. A cognitive model that learned from both the upfront and OTS instructions was created and provided good fits to the learning and performance data collected from human participants. Our results suggest that to fully capture the symbiotic performance between humans and intelligent training systems, it is important to closely monitor the learning process of the trainee so that instructional interventions can be delivered effectively at different stages of training. We proposed that such a flexible system can be developed based on an adaptive cognitive model that provides real-time predictions on learning and performance.
Keywords: Model-based training system; Cognitive model; Skill acquisition; Training; ACT-R; Model tracing; Augmented cognition
Small-vocabulary speech recognition using surface electromyography BIBAKFull-Text 1242-1259
  Bradley J. Betts; Kim Binsted; Charles Jorgensen
We present results of electromyographic (EMG) speech recognition on a small vocabulary of 15 English words. EMG speech recognition holds promise for mitigating the effects of high acoustic noise on speech intelligibility in communication systems, including those used by first responders (a focus of this work). We collected 150 examples per word of single-channel EMG data from a male subject, speaking normally while wearing a firefighter's self-contained breathing apparatus. The signal processing consisted of an activity detector, a feature extractor, and a neural network classifier. Testing produced an overall average correct classification rate on the 15 words of 74% with a 95% confidence interval of (71%, 77%). Once trained, the subject used a classifier as part of a real-time system to communicate to a cellular phone and to control a robotic device. These tasks were performed under an ambient noise level of approximately 95 decibels. We also describe ongoing work on phoneme-level EMG speech recognition.
Keywords: Electromyography; EMG; Bioelectric; EMG speech recognition; First responder; Pattern recognition; SCBA
When the chips are down: Social technical aspects of computer failure and repair BIBAKFull-Text 1260-1277
  Michael Quayle; Kevin Durrheim
This paper explores computer failure as a social event by examining recorded interactions between computer users and help-desk consultants (technicians). It was found, first, that the nature of a failure was negotiated between participants rather than being simply technically evident. Failure was defined from users' perspectives, in relation to what they were trying to achieve, rather than according to technical parameters. Secondly, negotiations of failure had social consequences for both users and help-desk consultants. Both avoided being seen as incompetent and actively defended their social standing. Thirdly, such social issues sometimes took precedence over technical and practical ones. The implications for HCI theorists and practitioners are twofold: firstly, failure should be accepted as a regular part of computer use in which human-computer interaction continues even though the interface may be non-functional. Secondly, the management of failure could be better addressed if technicians were trained in social as well as technical intervention skills.
Keywords: HCI; Human factors; Reliability; Help-desk; Social aspects; Dependable computing; Computer failure
Interacting with parallel coordinates BIBAKFull-Text 1278-1309
  Harri Siirtola; Kari-Jouko Raiha
Parallel coordinate visualizations have a reputation of being difficult to understand, expert-only representations. We argue that this reputation may be partially unfounded, because many of the parallel coordinate browser implementations lack essential features. This paper presents a survey of current interaction techniques for parallel coordinate browsers and compares them to the visualization design guidelines in the literature. In addition, we report our experiences with parallel coordinate browser prototypes, and describe an experiment where we studied the immediate usability of parallel coordinate visualizations. In the experiment, 16 database professionals performed a set of tasks both with the SQL query language and a parallel coordinate browser. The results show that although the subjects had doubts about the general usefulness of the parallel coordinate technique, they could perform the tasks more efficiently with a parallel coordinate browser than with their familiar query language interface.
Keywords: Information visualization; Parallel coordinates; Multidimensional data; Interaction
Exploring 'Canned Communication' for coordinating distributed mobile work activities BIBAKFull-Text 1310-1335
  Jesper Kjeldskov; Jan Stage
Communication between physically distributed people in industrial and safety-critical domains is often spoken and mediated through walkie-talkies, or closed-circuit intercoms. Because this kind of communication is hampered by noise, radio interference, lack of persistency, etc. vital information is sometimes lost. In response to this challenge, this paper discusses the use of 'canned' text-based messaging as a supplement for improving such communication. Based on data from ethnographic studies of work activities in an industrial domain, and grounded in a theoretical model of communication, we have designed and evaluated a mobile canned communication prototype system facilitating exchange of predefined text messages, a persistent graphical representation of the operation in progress, and a filtered list of completed tasks. Results from two evaluations show that in the domain considered, canned text-based communication has a potential to supplement voice and assist in overcoming some of the inherent problems of spoken communication. Yet using a textual and persistent mode of communication also raises new challenges such as choice of modality, speed, flexibility and handling situations deviating from standard procedures.
Keywords: Canned communication; Mobile device interface; Text-based communication
Conceptual models of software artifacts BIBAKFull-Text 1336-1350
  Mordechai Ben-Ari; Tzippora Yeshno
According to constructivism, learning takes place by constructing cognitive structures based upon current, perhaps naive, knowledge and new experiences. In the case of software artifacts like programming languages and applications, current knowledge is not a solid base upon which to build viable new knowledge. Therefore, we conjecture that explicit conceptual models constructed by educators should be able to improve the performance of users in their interaction with software artifacts, in our case the popular word processor MS-Word. The experiments described in this paper support this idea: we found that learners who used our conceptual models were able to analyze and solve problems conceptually, while learners who used task-oriented learning materials of equivalent scope employed aimless trial and error.
Keywords: Mental model; Conceptual model; Software; MS-Word; Block mode; WYSIWYG
Homepage aesthetics: The search for preference factors and the challenges of subjectivity BIBAKFull-Text 1351-1370
  Muzeyyen Pandir; John Knight
While many studies have considered the usability of website homepages, subjective issues such as preference have been under explored. This paper describes a pilot study that investigates subjects' preferences for different homepages. The study applies Berlyne's theory of experimental aesthetics to website homepages. This theory suggests that there is an inverted-U shape relationship between preference for a stimulus and its complexity. Twelve subjects evaluated 12 homepages. The study used a ranking method to measure subjects' preferences and the relationships between complexity, pleasure and interestingness. In addition, verbal reports were collected. No support was found for an inverted-U shape relationship and the findings indicate that complexity is not a predictor of pleasure. However, the results uncovered a number of subjective factors that underlie preference. These factors include individual differences in taste and lifestyle all of which are highly personal factors that change and develop over time. In addition, the findings suggest a link between interestingness and curiosity. Lastly, the findings show an agreement on the judgements of complexity, and disagreement on aesthetic preferences. In conclusion, the paper points out the challenges faced in researching preference because of its highly subjective character.
Keywords: Aesthetic pleasure; Experimental aesthetics; Preference factors; Website preferences; Subjectivity
Cross-cultural differences in recognizing affect from body posture BIBAKFull-Text 1371-1389
  Andrea Kleinsmith; P. Ravindra De Silva; Nadia Bianchi-Berthouze
Conveyance and recognition of human emotion and affective expression is influenced by many factors, including culture. Within the user modeling field, it has become increasingly necessary to understand the role affect can play in personalizing interactive interfaces using embodied animated agents. However, little research within the computer science field aims at understanding cultural differences within this vein. Therefore, we conducted a study to evaluate if differences exist in the way various cultures perceive emotion from body posture. We used static posture images of affectively expressive avatars to conduct recognition experiments with subjects from three cultures. After analyzing the subjects' judgments using multivariate analysis, we grounded the identified differences into a set of low-level posture features. We then used Mixture Discriminant Analysis (MDA) and an unsupervised expectation maximization (EM) model to build separate cultural models for affective posture recognition. Our results could prove useful to aide designers in creating more effective affective avatars.
Keywords: Affective communication; Affective body postures; Embodied animated agents; Intercultural differences; Emotion nuances
Exploring the design space of robots: Children's perspectives BIBAKFull-Text 1390-1418
  Sarah Woods
Children's perceptions and evaluations of different robot designs are an important unexplored area within robotics research considering that many robots are specifically designed for children. To examine children's feelings and attitudes towards robots, a large sample of children (N = 159) evaluated 40 robot images by completing a questionnaire for each image, which enquired about robot appearance, robot personality dimensions and robot emotions. Results showed that depending on a robot's appearance children clearly distinguished robots in terms of their intentions (i.e. friendly vs. unfriendly), their capability to understand, and their emotional expression. Results of a principal components analysis of the children's ratings of the robots' personality attributes revealed two dimensions labelled 'Behavioural Intention' and 'Emotional Expression'. Robots were classified according to their scores on these two dimensions and a content analysis of their appearance was conducted in an attempt to identify salient features of different robot personalities. Children judged human-like robots as aggressive, but human-machine robots as friendly. Results on children's perceptions of the robots' behavioural intentions provided tentative empirical support for the Uncanny Valley, hypothesized by (Mori, M., 1970), reflecting a situation where robots are very human-like, but still distinguishable from humans, evoking a feeling of discomfort or repulsion. The paper concludes with a discussion of design implications for robots, and the use of robots in educational contexts.
Keywords: Robots; Child evaluations; Attitudes; Personality; Emotions; Uncanny valley
Intentional processing as a key for rational behaviour through Natural Interaction BIBAKFull-Text 1419-1446
  Javier Calle-Gomez; Ana Garcia-Serrano; Paloma Martinez
This paper presents an interaction model pursuing flexible and coherent human-computer interaction. Starting from a cognitive architecture for Natural Interaction, an agent-based design is presented, focusing particularly on the role of the interaction agent. Regarding the intentional processing within this agent, the Threads Model is proposed. Finally, its implementation is described and evaluated to find out the integrity of the intentional approach.
Keywords: Natural Interaction; Intentional processing; Model-based design; Agent-based architecture; Threads Model; Task Model; Interaction system evaluation