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Interacting with Computers 19

Editors:Dianne Murray
Publisher:Elsevier Science
Standard No:ISSN 0953-5438
Links:Table of Contents
  1. IWC 2007 Volume 19 Issue 1
  2. IWC 2007 Volume 19 Issue 2
  3. IWC 2007 Volume 19 Issue 3
  4. IWC 2007 Volume 19 Issue 4
  5. IWC 2007 Volume 19 Issue 5/6

IWC 2007 Volume 19 Issue 1

Moving face-to-face communication to Web-based systems BIBFull-Text 1-6
  Jane Coughlan; Robert Macredie; Nayna Patel
Consumers, channels and communication: Online and offline communication in service consumption BIBAKFull-Text 7-19
  Geke van Dijk; Shailey Minocha; Angus Laing
This paper reports on a study that investigated consumer use of e-services in a multi-channel context. Many HCI studies on the use of e-services focus on the use of the online channel in relative isolation. This study attempts to develop a deeper understanding of what makes consumers decide to use the online channel in examining consumer channel-choice beyond the instances of internet use. The consumption behaviour of its participants was investigated across channels in an in-depth qualitative study. The analysis of the rich data produced specifically focused on the investigation of voluntary consumer movements between online and offline channels during the course of a consumption process. The results indicate that participants often use multiple channels in parallel and frequently switch between channels. Literature from marketing and consumer research was used as the perspective to explore the rationale for the complex and dynamic reported consumer behaviour.
Keywords: E-commerce; Human-computer interaction; Consumer Research; Self-Service Technology; Consumer channel choice
Intentional and unintentional consequences of substituting face-to-face interaction with e-mail: An employee-based perspective BIBAKFull-Text 20-31
  Paula O'Kane; Owen Hargie
In this article, we undertake empirical research into e-mail communication in the workplace to provide organizations with practical information about how employees can effectively manage their e-mail interactions. We employ an interpretative, qualitative methodology to examine their views of e-mail. Specifically, we consider the interaction between this and traditional face-to-face (F2F) contact. Theoretical ideas are subject to empirical scrutiny from a database of 29 in-depth interviews with users. The findings suggest that as computer-mediated communication (CMC) intensifies, communication is increasingly characterized by a complex interplay between CMC and F2F, with e-mail affecting communication in positive and negative ways, and also with intended and unintended outcomes. For organizations, the key is to raise employee awareness about their e-mail communications in order to maximize effectiveness and prevent negative outcomes such as back-covering and relationship breakdown. The results inform the development of a conceptual framework for the interpretation and investigation of e-mail communications.
Keywords: CMC; Face-to-face; E-mail; Technology; Communication; Media choice
Health Websites that people can trust -- the case of hypertension BIBAKFull-Text 32-42
  Elizabeth Sillence; Pam Briggs; Peter Harris; Lesley Fishwick
Traditionally health advice has been anchored in face-to-face settings but increasingly patients are using the Internet for their health advice needs. This means that patients are now offered inconsistent advice from a range of sources and must determine which sites to trust and which to reject. To understand how consumers make these choices, 13 participants diagnosed with hypertension took part in a longitudinal study in which they searched for information and advice relevant to their condition. A content analysis of the group discussions revealed support for a staged model of trust in which mistrust or rejection of Websites is based on design factors and trust or selection of Websites is based on content factors such as source credibility and personalization. Based on this model, a set of guidelines for developing trust in health Websites is proposed and key differences between face-to-face communication and web-based systems are discussed.
Keywords: E-health; Trust; Hypertension; Computer-mediated communication; Advice; Decision-making
The role of social presence in establishing loyalty in e-Service environments BIBAKFull-Text 43-56
  Dianne Cyr; Khaled Hassanein; Milena Head; Alex Ivanov
Compared to offline shopping, the online shopping experience may be viewed as lacking human warmth and sociability as it is more impersonal, anonymous, automated and generally devoid of face-to-face interactions. Thus, understanding how to create customer loyalty in online environments (e-Loyalty) is a complex process. In this paper a model for e-Loyalty is proposed and used to examine how varied conditions of social presence in a B2C e-Services context influence e-Loyalty and its antecedents of perceived usefulness, trust and enjoyment. This model is examined through an empirical study involving 185 subjects using structural equation modeling techniques. Further analysis is conducted to reveal gender differences concerning hedonic elements in the model on e-Loyalty.
Keywords: e-Loyalty; Social presence; Gender; Trust; e-Commerce; Technology acceptance model (TAM)
A study of the usability of handwriting recognition for text entry by children BIBAKFull-Text 57-69
  Janet C. Read
This paper describes a pilot study that investigated the usability of handwriting recognition for text entry in a free writing activity. The study was carried out with eighteen children aged 7 and 8; each used three different writing methods to construct short pieces of text. The methods used were; pencil and paper, the QWERTY keyboard at a computer, and a pen and graphics tablet. Where the pen and graphics tablet was used, the handwritten text was recognised by the software and presented back to the children as ASCII text. Measures of user satisfaction, quantity of text produced, and quality of writing produced, were taken. In addition, for the handwritten work, the recognition process was evaluated by comparing what the child wrote with the resulting ASCII text. The results show that the children that took part in the study generally produced lengthier texts at the graphics tablet than at the QWERTY keyboard but that the non-technical solution, the pencil and paper was, in this instance, the overall best method for composing writing. To further the debate on the possibilities for digital ink and tablet technologies, key usability problems with the handwriting recognition interface are identified and classified, and solutions to these usability problems, in the form of design guidelines for both recognition-based and pen-based computer writing interfaces, are presented. Additionally, some reflections on how studies of text input and free writing composition can be evaluated are offered.
Keywords: Handwriting recognition; Usability; Text entry; Writing; Pen computers; Children; Education
Disrupting digital library development with scenario informed design BIBAKFull-Text 70-82
  Ann Blandford; Suzette Keith; Richard Butterworth; Bob Fields; Dominic Furniss
In recent years, there has been great interest in scenario-based design and other forms of user-centred design. However, there are many design processes that, often for good reason, remain technology-centred. We present a case study of introducing scenarios into two digital library development processes. This was found to disrupt established patterns of working and to bring together conflicting value systems. In particular, the human factors approach of identifying users and anticipating what they are likely to do with a system (and what problems they might encounter) did not sit well with a development culture in which the rapid generation and informal evaluation of possible solutions (that are technically feasible and compatible with stable system components) is the norm. We found that developers tended to think in terms of two kinds of user: one who was exploring the system with no particular goal in mind and one who knew as much as the developer; scenarios typically work with richer user descriptions that challenge that thinking. In addition, the development practice of breaking down the design problem into discrete functions to make it manageable does not fit well with a scenario-based approach to thinking about user behaviour and interactions. The compromise reached was scenario-informed design, whereby scenarios were generated to support reasoning about the use of selected functions within the system. These scenarios helped create productive common ground between perspectives.
Keywords: Digital libraries; Scenario based design; Usability evaluation; Software development processes
Evaluating the effectiveness of customers' communication experiences with online retailers -- A study of e-mortgages BIBAKFull-Text 83-95
  Jane Coughlan; Robert D. Macredie; Nayna Patel
Retailers increasingly use the Internet for supporting customer interaction in the delivery of products and services online, whilst simultaneously displacing direct communication to a seller with 'faceless' technology. Research has tended to marginalise the importance of this communication change, possibly because of the lack of appropriate models for evaluating communication effectiveness. This paper therefore seeks to develop and apply such an evaluative model, which is underpinned by communication theory. The context of application is e-mortgage lending -- based on the selection of two banks' interfaces -- as evidence suggests that this type of e-commerce activity presents difficulties in electronic communication where, for example, the customer need for face-to-face mortgage advice prevails. Findings from the model's application reveal that whilst users respond socially to the interfaces, a number of communication problems can be identified by theme. Reflection is provided on the model's usefulness for evaluating the effectiveness of customers' online communication experiences.
Keywords: Communication; Interactivity; E-mortgages; Online banking; E-commerce
Exploring virtual team-working effectiveness in the construction sector BIBAKFull-Text 96-112
  Yacine Rezgui
In defining a virtual team-working solution as with any new organisational form, success relies not merely on the introduction and adoption of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), but also on critically analysing the underlying social and organisational aspects. The paper investigates the effectiveness of virtual teams, and any other suitable form of virtual collaboration, in the Construction sector and explores the factors that influence their successful adoption. The positivist strand adopted in the research emphasises a particular approach that promotes software application hosting through a dedicated application service provider, as opposed to the traditional software-licensing model. The research identifies important socio-organisational challenges inherent to the project-based nature of Construction, including issues related to technology adoption, team identification, trust, and motivation. Action research techniques have been employed to conduct the research involving two Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SME) from France and Finland.
Keywords: Virtual team; Virtual enterprise; Web-services; Socio-organisational issues; Virtual project management; Construction industry
Cursor type and response conflict in graphical user interfaces BIBAKFull-Text 113-120
  M. A. Finch; J. G. Phillips; J. W. Meehan
Arrowhead cursor shape may offer irrelevant cues that conflict with desired positioning movements. To assist cursor design this study considered how cursor shape can influence the preparation or execution of cursor positioning movements. An experiment varied cursor shape on-line such that its shape cued the required direction of movement or better afforded hitting the target. Twelve participants performed cursor positioning movements with systematic variations in cursor shape affecting preparation (neutral, pre-cuing target direction), cursor flight (arrowhead, comet) and terminal guidance (big, small target). Kinematic analysis determined the effects on phases of cursor placement. Cursor shape primarily affected terminal guidance and implies conventional cursor designs should be reconsidered.
Keywords: Cursor; Fitts' law; Preparation; Movement; Kinematic
Haptic recognition of shapes at different scales: A comparison of two methods of interaction BIBAKFull-Text 121-132
  Mounia Ziat; Olivier Gapenne; John Stewart; Charles Lenay
In order to design a "haptic zoom", in this fundamental study, we compare two scaling methods by focusing on the strategies adopted by subjects who are using a sensory substitution device. Method 1 consists of a reduction of the sensor size and of its displacement speed. Speed reduction is obtained by a "human" movement adjustment (hand speed reduction). Method 2 consists of a straightforward increase in the dimensions of the image. The experimental device used couples a pen on a graphics tablet with tactile sensory stimulators. These are activated when the sensor impinges on the outline of the figure on the computer screen. This virtual sensor (a square matrix composed of 16 elementary fields) moves when the pen, guided by human hand movements, moves on the graphics tablet. The results show that the recognition rate is closely dependent on the size of the figure, and that the strategies used by the subjects are more suitable for method 2 than for method 1. In fact, half of the subjects found that method 1 inhibited their movements, and the majority of them did not feel the scaling effect, whereas this was clearly felt in method 2.
Keywords: Sensory substitution; Zooming interfaces; Personal Digital Assistants (PDA); Haptic perception
Corrigendum to "Desktop virtual environments: a study of navigation and age" [Interacting with Computers 16 (2004) 939-956] BIBFull-TextOriginal Article 133
  H. Sayers

IWC 2007 Volume 19 Issue 2

HCI issues in computer games BIBFull-Text 135-139
  Panayiotis Zaphiris; Chee Siang Ang
Bimanual text entry using game controllers: Relying on users' spatial familiarity with QWERTY BIBAKFull-Text 140-150
  Frode Eika Sandnes; Andre Aubert
A strategy for entering text using two-handed game controllers with two analogue joysticks is proposed where the QWERTY keyboard layout is used as a spatial mnemonic. The technique is inspired by two-finger QWERTY typing where the fingers are represented by the two joysticks. Characters are organized into a QWERTY layout with the joystick resting position conceptually located where the index fingers are in touch position. The user moves the relevant joystick in the direction of the desired character. The technique is easy to learn for users already familiar with QWERTY two-finger typing or touch-typing. Furthermore, text can potentially be entered with limited visual feedback, and the bimanual nature of the approach implies a potential for high input speed as the operation of each hand can be overlapped. The technique can be realized with commonly available off-the-shelf hardware and it is especially applicable to online gamers communicating textually. Experimental evaluations show that text can be entered at a mean rate of 6.75 words per minute with less than one hour of practice.
Keywords: Game-console; Text entry; Mobile text entry; Bimanual input; Spatial memory; Spatial mnemonics; Skill transfer; Joystick controller
High-resolution gaming: Interfaces, notifications, and the user experience BIBAKFull-Text 151-166
  Andrew J. Sabri; Robert G. Ball; Alain Fabian; Saurabh Bhatia; Chris North
Advances in technology and display hardware have allowed the resolution of monitors -- and video games -- to incrementally improve over the past three decades. However, little research has been done in preparation for the resolutions that will be available in the future if this trend continues. We developed a number of display prototypes to explore the different aspects of gaming on large, high-resolution displays.
   By running a series of experiments, we were not only able to evaluate the benefits of these displays for gaming, but also identify potential user interface and hardware issues that can arise. Building on these results, various interface designs were developed to better notify the user of passive and critical game information as well as to overcome difficulties with mouse-based interaction on these displays. Different display form factors and user input devices are also explored in order to determine how they can further enhance the gaming experience. In many cases, the new techniques can be applied to single-monitor games and solve the same problems in real-world, high-resolution applications.
Keywords: Games; Large displays; Notifications; Resolution; User interfaces; Multi-monitor
A model of cognitive loads in massively multiplayer online role playing games BIBAKFull-Text 167-179
  Chee Siang Ang; Panayiotis Zaphiris; Shumaila Mahmood
Being one of the most commercially successful entertainment software applications, massively multiplayer online role playing games (MMORPGs) continue to expand in term of the revenue they generate as well as the involvement of users who congregate in their virtual space and form communities around them to support each other. Unlike conventional offline computer games, or networked games with limited numbers of players, MMORPGs are not merely software applications as they are usually seen as a space with complicated dynamics of social interactions. Hence, it is believed that playing these games might cause cognitive overload problems among the players as they have to constantly interact with the game world as well as with other users. We conducted an exploratory study using qualitative methods to explore cognitive overloads in Maple Story, a typical MMORPG. Our results reveal that several types of cognitive overloads emerge during the game playing. While some of these overloads pose serious problems even to expert players, players seem to develop strategies to overcome them. It is found that some forms of cognitive load are actually desirable in order to make the game challenging. We have also created a set of recommendations that can help game developers handle cognitive load problems in MMORPGs.
Keywords: Games; MMORPG; Cognitive load
Video game values: Human-computer interaction and games BIBAKFull-Text 180-195
  Pippin Barr; James Noble; Robert Biddle
Abstract Current human-computer interaction (HCI) research into video games rarely considers how they are different from other forms of software. This leads to research that, while useful concerning standard issues of interface design, does not address the nature of video games as games specifically. Unlike most software, video games are not made to support external, user-defined tasks, but instead define their own activities for players to engage in. We argue that video games contain systems of values which players perceive and adopt, and which shape the play of the game. A focus on video game values promotes a holistic view of video games as software, media, and as games specifically, which leads to a genuine video game HCI.
Keywords: Video games; Value; Play; Activity theory; Semiotics; Computer games
Design and evaluation of a tactile memory game for visually impaired children BIBAKFull-Text 196-205
  Roope Raisamo; Saija Patomäki; Matias Hasu; Virpi Pasto
Visually impaired people have a lack of proper user interfaces to allow them to easily make use of modern technology. This problem may be solved with multimodal user interfaces that should be designed taking into account the type and degree of disability. The purpose of the study presented in this article was to create usable games for visually impaired children making use of low-cost vibro-tactile devices in multimodal applications. A tactile memory game using multimodal navigation support with high-contrast visual feedback and audio cues was implemented. The game was designed to be played with a tactile gamepad. Different vibrations were to be remembered instead of sounds or embossed pictures that are common in memory games for blind children. The usability and playability of the game was tested with a group of seven 12-13-year-old visually impaired children. The results showed that the game design was successful and a tactile gamepad was usable. The game got a positive response from the focus group.
Keywords: Visually impaired children; Multimodal user interfaces; Low-cost haptic devices; Tactile games; Tactile feedback; Usability testing
Applying simulation experience design methods to creating serious game-based adaptive training systems BIBAKFull-Text 206-214
  Elaine M. Raybourn
The purpose of the present paper is to briefly introduce adaptive training systems, and describe the Simulation Experience Design Method. Adaptive training systems are serious games whose goal it is to engender communication opportunities for players to learn about their strengths and weaknesses, receive real-time in-game performance feedback, and share diverse solutions and strategies during, between, and after game play in order to update, or adapt, player understanding. The Simulation Experience Design Method extends HCI approaches to create engaging multiplayer learning experiences by focusing on how dynamic game content, roles, scenarios, and assessment feedback contribute to emergent culture. Preliminary evaluations of an earlier instantiation of serious game-based adaptive training systems employing this design method have been positive. The contribution of the present paper lies in describing how designers create rich systems of experiences for serious games and adaptive training systems by employing HCI principles and the Simulation Experience Design Method.
Keywords: Simulation Experience Design Method; Real-time in-game feedback assessment; Serious games; Communication; Adaptive training systems
An HCI method to improve the human performance reduced by local-lag mechanism BIBAKFull-Text 215-224
  Ling Chen; Gen-Cai Chen; Hong Chen; Jack March; Steve Benford; Zhi-Geng Pan
Local-lag mechanism can maintain consistency for replicated continuous applications, but with a tradeoff of adding delay to local operations. To relieve the negative effects of the delay, this paper proposes an HCI method named echo. With the help of the echo method users can immediately perceive the results of their operations and how large the lag is. In order to evaluate the proposed method, a desktop collaborative virtual environment (CVE) system and a virtual object control task were employed to study the effects of the echo method on human performance (including task completion time, error count, and interaction quality). Experimental results indicate that when the lag exceeds 100 ms the echo method can improve human performance with the effects becoming more evident when a larger lag is used.
Keywords: HCI; Delay; Collaborative virtual environments; Local-lag mechanism; Echo
Heuristic evaluation: Comparing ways of finding and reporting usability problems BIBAKFull-Text 225-240
  Ebba Thora Hvannberg; Effie Lai-Chong Law; Marta Kristín Lárusdóttir
Research on heuristic evaluation in recent years has focused on improving its effectiveness and efficiency with respect to user testing. The aim of this paper is to refine a research agenda for comparing and contrasting evaluation methods. To reach this goal, a framework is presented to evaluate the effectiveness of different types of support for structured usability problem reporting. This paper reports on an empirical study of this framework that compares two sets of heuristics, Nielsen's heuristics and the cognitive principles of Gerhardt-Powals, and two media of reporting a usability problem, i.e. either using a web tool or paper. The study found that there were no significant differences between any of the four groups in effectiveness, efficiency and inter-evaluator reliability. A more significant contribution of this research is that the framework used for the experiments proved successful and should be reusable by other researchers because of its thorough structure.
Keywords: User interface; Heuristic evaluation; Reporting; Web tool; Effectiveness; Efficiency; Comparison framework
Note: Abbreviations: AE, actual efficiency; DV, dependent variable; HE, heuristic evaluation; ICT, Information and Communication Technology; IV, independent variable; PUP, predicted usability problems; SUPEX, Structured Usability Problem EXtraction; SUS, System Usability Scale; UAF, User Action Framework; UP, usability problem; UT, user test.
Functionality and usability in design for eStatements in eBanking services BIBAKFull-Text 241-256
  Catherine Weir; Iain McKay; Mervyn Jack
The current Internet Banking (eBanking) marketplace is highly functionally convergent. Electronic statement (eStatement) functionality is an area of potential competitive advantage. This paper describes an experiment in which a group of bank customers (N = 182) undertook information retrieval tasks using three variants of eStatements functionality incorporated into a working eBanking prototype. The experiment examined how the eStatements service design could influence a customer's desire to switch from paper statements to online delivery. Three different levels of functionality were assessed for usability and for their impact on the customer's willingness to switch from paper to eStatements. The methodology of the experimental approach utilised in this research is described. The results provide detailed data to inform the interface design and business case for eStatements. Usability and propensity to switch away from paper were significantly correlated. The data confirm that provision of a functionally sophisticated search engine offers high usability perceptions and scope for significant levels of switching from paper to online statements with associated costs savings.
Keywords: Internet Banking; Usability experiment; User-interface design; Adoption; Electronic statements
Drag-and-drop errors in young children's use of the mouse BIBAKFull-Text 257-266
  Afke Donker; Pieter Reitsma
The main argument against the use of drag-and-drop in software for young children is that it may be too difficult for them to maintain pressure on the mouse button during movement. The present research findings refuted this argument by showing that most errors made by children from Kindergarten 2 and Grade 1 and university students occur at the beginning and end of a move and not in between. The results also show that the number of errors are affected by receptor size and movement direction, but not by movement distance. Based on these results, design guidelines are formulated.
Keywords: Human-computer interaction; Children; Media in education; Navigation; Computer mouse; Input device
Realism is not all! User engagement with task-related interface characters BIBAKFull-Text 267-280
  H. C. van Vugt; E. A. Konijn; J. F. Hoorn; I. Keur; A. Eliëns
Human-like characters in the interface may evoke social responses in users, and literature suggests that realism is the most important factor herein. However, the effects of interface characters on the user are not well understood. We developed an integrative framework, called I-PEFiC, to explain 'persona' and realism effects on the user. We tested an important part of the model using an experimental design in which 140 middle school students were class-wise shown an informative virtual reality demonstration that incorporated either a realistic or an unrealistic (fantasy) interface character, or no character. Findings show, first, no persona effect on task performance. We discuss how user engagement might be related to persona effects. Second, designed realism of the interface character contributed to user engagement when controlled for various user perceptions. Moreover, perceived aesthetics and task-relevance further influenced user engagement. Third, user engagement and task performance combined better predicted satisfaction than either one of the factors alone. In sum, several appearance- and task-related factors contributed to user engagement and user satisfaction. Thus, realism is not all.
Keywords: Human-computer interaction; Media entertainment; Empirical study; Interface characters; I-PEFiC model; Persona effect; Character realism; Engagement
Eye movements as indices for the utility of life-like interface agents: A pilot study BIBAKFull-Text 281-292
  Helmut Prendinger; Chunling Ma; Mitsuru Ishizuka
Abstract We motivate an approach to evaluating the utility of life-like interface agents that is based on human eye movements rather than questionnaires. An eye tracker is employed to obtain quantitative evidence of a user's focus of attention without distracting from the primary task. The salient feature of our evaluation strategy is that it allows us to measure important properties of a user's interaction experience on a moment-by-moment basis in addition to a cumulative (spatial) analysis of the user's areas of interest. We describe a pilot study in which we compare attending behavior of subjects watching the presentation of a computer-generated apartment layout and visualization augmented by three types of media: an animated agent, a text box, and speech only. The investigation of eye movements revealed that deictic gestures performed by the agent are more effective in directing the attentional focus of subjects to relevant interface objects than the media used in the two control conditions, at a slight cost of distracting the user from visual inspection of the object of reference. The results also demonstrate that the presence of an interface agent seemingly triggers natural and social interaction protocols of human users.
Keywords: Animated interface agents; Evaluation; Eye movements; Focus/shift of attention; Web based presentation
Are interface agents scapegoats? Attributions of responsibility in human-agent interaction BIBAKFull-Text 293-303
  Alexander Serenko
This paper presents an investigation of the self-serving biases of interface agent users. An experiment that involved 202 MS Office users demonstrated that, in contrast to the self-serving hypothesis in attribution theory, people do not always attribute the successful outcomes of human-agent interaction to themselves and negative results to interface agents. At the same time, it was found that as the degree of autonomy of MS Office interface agents increases, users tend to assign more negative attributions to agents under the condition of failure and more positive attributions under the condition of success. Overall, this research attempts to understand the behavior of interface agent users and presents several conclusions that may be of interest to human-computer interaction researchers and software designers working on the incorporation of interface agents in end-user systems.
Keywords: Interface agents; Human-agent interaction; Attribution theory; Self-serving bias

IWC 2007 Volume 19 Issue 3

Usefulness of VRML building models in a direction finding context BIBAKFull-Text 305-313
  Pietro Murano; Dino Mackey
This paper describes an experiment which aims to examine the effectiveness and efficiency of a Virtual Reality Modelling Language (VRML) building model compared with equivalent architectural plans, for direction finding purposes. The effectiveness and efficiency issues being primarily investigated were number of tasks completed overall and task completion times. The experiment involved a series of tasks where participants had to find a number of locations/objects in a building unknown to them at the outset of the experiment. Statistically significant results are presented for the benefit of the research community, law enforcement officers and fire fighters where it is clear that in this context, the VRML model led to better task completions than the equivalent architectural plans. Regarding the task completion times, no statistical significance was found. Given the current climate of security issues and terrorist threats, it is important that law enforcement officers have at their disposal the best information possible regarding the layout of a building, whilst keeping costs down. This also applies to fire fighters when rescuing victims. This experiment has shown that a VRML model leads to better task completions in direction finding.
Keywords: VRML; Direction finding; User interfaces
TAPRAV: An interactive analysis tool for exploring workload aligned to models of task execution BIBAKFull-Text 314-329
  Brian P. Bailey; Chris W. Busbey; Shamsi T. Iqbal
Pupillary response is a valid indicator of mental workload and is being increasingly leveraged to identify lower cost moments for interruption, evaluate complex interfaces, and develop further understanding of psychological processes. Existing tools are not sufficient for analyzing this type of data, as it typically needs to be analyzed in relation to the corresponding task's execution. To address this emerging need, we have developed a new interactive analysis tool, TAPRAV. The primary components of the tool include; (i) a visualization of pupillary response aligned to the corresponding model of task execution, useful for exploring relationships between these two data sources; (ii) an interactive overview + detail metaphor, enabling rapid inspection of details while maintaining global context; (iii) synchronized playback of the video of the user's screen interaction, providing awareness of the state of the task; and (iv) interaction supporting discovery driven analysis. Results from a user study showed that users are able to efficiently interact with the tool to analyze relationships between pupillary response and task execution. The primary contribution of our tool is that it demonstrates an effective visualization and interaction design for rapidly exploring pupillary response in relation to models of task execution, thereby reducing the analysis effort.
Keywords: Mental workload; Pupil size; Task models; Visualization
Usable error message presentation in the World Wide Web: Do not show errors right away BIBAKFull-Text 330-341
  Javier A. Bargas-Avila; Glenn Oberholzer; Peter Schmutz; Marco de Vito; Klaus Opwis
Online form validation can be performed in several ways. This article discusses two empirical studies with 77 and 90 participants, which have found evidence that the best way of presenting error messages is to provide the erroneous fields after users have completed the whole form. Immediate error feedback recommended by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) showed the worst performance in these studies. Where presented with immediate feedback, users often simply ignored the messages on the screen and continued completing the form as if nothing happened. These results lead to the postulation of the "Modal Theory of Form Completion": Users are in either "Completion" or "Revision Mode" when filling out online forms. These modes affect the users' way of interaction with the system: During Completion Mode the users' disposition to correct mistakes is reduced, therefore error messages are often ignored.
Keywords: Error handling; Error message presentation; Error message communication; User feedback; Form validation; Field validation; Online forms; Validation mechanisms; Interaction design; Interaction processes
Towards an empirical method of efficiency testing of system parts: A methodological study BIBAKFull-Text 342-356
  Willem-Paul Brinkman; Reinder Haakma; Don G. Bouwhuis
Current usability evaluation methods are essentially holistic in nature. However, engineers that apply a component-based software engineering approach might also be interested in understanding the usability of individual parts of an interactive system. This paper examines the efficiency dimension of usability by describing a method, which engineers can use to test, empirically and objectively, the physical interaction effort to operate components in a single device. The method looks at low-level events, such as button clicks, and attributes the physical effort associated with these interaction events to individual components in the system. This forms the basis for engineers to prioritise their improvement effort. The paper discusses face validity, content validity, criterion validity, and construct validity of the method. The discussion is set within the context of four usability tests, in which 40 users participated to evaluate the efficiency of four different versions of a mobile phone. The results of the study show that the method can provide a valid estimation of the physical interaction event effort users made when interacting with a specific part of a device.
Keywords: Efficiency; Usability testing; HCI methodology; Usability evaluation method; Log file analysis; Empirical method
Implicit measures of lostness and success in web navigation BIBAKFull-Text 357-369
  Jacek Gwizdka; Ian Spence
In two studies, we investigated the ability of a variety of structural and temporal measures computed from a web navigation path to predict lostness and task success. The user's task was to find requested target information on specified websites. The web navigation measures were based on counts of visits to web pages and other statistical properties of the web usage graph (such as compactness, stratum, and similarity to the optimal path). Subjective lostness was best predicted by similarity to the optimal path and time on task. The best overall predictor of success on individual tasks was similarity to the optimal path, but other predictors were sometimes superior depending on the particular web navigation task. These measures can be used to diagnose user navigational problems and to help identify problems in website design.
Keywords: Web navigation; Web navigation graph; Navigation path similarity; Implicit measures; Lostness; Compactness; Stratum; User studies
An experimental study on the role of graphical information about hand movement when interacting with objects in virtual reality environments BIBAKFull-Text 370-381
  Andrea H. Mason
In this series of experiments, we investigated whether a crude representation of the hand that was extinguished at movement onset improved performance when compared to a no-feedback situation. Subjects performed simple reach to grasp movements in a virtual environment in two experiments. In Experiment 1, trials were blocked so that subjects were aware that a graphical representation of the hand would either be available throughout the movement (FA), be removed at movement onset (FAB), or not be available (NF). In Experiment 2, trials were randomized so that subjects were unaware of whether feedback would be available throughout the trial or removed at movement onset. Our results indicated that when subjects were aware of the availability of graphical feedback, the FAB condition improved performance compared to the NF condition. Furthermore, movement time was similar in the two feedback available conditions (FA, FAB). In contrast, for the randomized trial presentation, the positive influence of the FAB condition was diminished. These results suggest that visual feedback available prior to movement onset can be used to calibrate the proprioceptive system and improve performance over a no feedback situation. These results can be applied by designers of virtual environments to solve problems related to occlusion of important environmental information by the hand as users reach to grasp and manipulate objects.
Keywords: Virtual reality; Kinematic data; Graphical feedback; Sensory information; Empirical data; Interaction
Introducing task-based general computer self-efficacy: An empirical comparison of three general self-efficacy instruments BIBAKFull-Text 382-396
  James P. Downey; Mark McMurtrey
Computer self-efficacy (CSE) operates at multiple levels, including general and specific, although many studies operationalize it at the general level. GCSE, or a judgment of ability across all computing domains, is particularly useful because it can be generalized to all computing environments and it matches the level of specificity for general constructs. However, there have been problems with current instruments, among them the inability to capture the entire computing domain and using levels of assistance instead of task-based items. This study introduces and tests a new method of measuring general CSE, one that is task-based and calculated from specific CSEs, called summated GCSE (SGCSE). This instrument is empirically compared to two other GCSE instruments in their relationship with three common self-efficacy outcomes. Results demonstrate that SGCSE significantly related to all outcomes and that task-based GCSE is the preferred instrument to use for some, but not all outcomes. Implications are discussed.
Keywords: Self-efficacy; Computer self-efficacy; General self-efficacy; Computer attitudes; Computer competency; Structural equation modeling
Going online for health advice: Changes in usage and trust practices over the last five years BIBAKFull-Text 397-406
  Elizabeth Sillence; Pam Briggs; Peter Harris; Lesley Fishwick
Abstract In recent years the number of health related websites has increased dramatically and so have concerns regarding the quality of online information. The sheer volume of sites and the variety of information available have left health consumers potentially with greater choice but it is not clear whether these online changes are reflected in user behaviour. This study addresses whether users are becoming more proficient in searching for credible, high quality information and whether they are more demanding of the type of information being sought and less ready to trust online health advice. This paper describes changes in the use of the Internet for health advice over a five-year period. It compares findings from two large-scale online questionnaire studies undertaken in 2000 and 2005. Key changes and similarities in usage and trust practices are noted. The rise in unregulated sites is discussed in terms of patients "acting as scientists" using websites to test out theories regarding their health. The increasing importance of design issues is also highlighted and implications for website designers and content providers are presented.
Keywords: Online advice; Trust; Credibility; Questionnaire; Internet; Health
User performance with trackball-mice BIBAKFull-Text 407-427
  Poika Isokoski; Roope Raisamo; Benoît Martin; Grigori Evreinov
Abstract Trackball-mice are devices that include both a trackball and a mouse. In this paper we discuss our experiences in building and testing trackball-mouse prototypes. We report four experiments on user performance with the prototypes used as trackball-mice, conventional mice, and in two-handed configuration with a separate trackball for the non-dominant hand. The results show that user performance with the two-handed configuration was better than in one-handed operation of a trackball-mouse and in one-handed operation of a mouse. Trackball-mouse use and conventional mouse use were more evenly matched. However, Trackball-mouse operation involves a skill that most users do not have whereas mouse operation is familiar to most. Therefore, widespread introduction of trackball-mice does not appear to be justified on performance grounds alone. However, trackball-mice can be used as regular mice by ignoring the ball. This makes them compatible with traditional graphical user interfaces while offering two extra degrees of freedom in tasks where they are beneficial.
Keywords: Trackmouse; Optical mouse; Trackball; Fitts' Law; Pointing device; Two-cursor; Two-handed interaction; Dual-stream input

IWC 2007 Volume 19 Issue 4

To do or not to do: Differences in user experience and retrospective judgments depending on the presence or absence of instrumental goals BIBAKFull-Text 429-437
  Marc Hassenzahl; Daniel Ullrich
Recently, Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) started to focus on experiential aspects of product use, such as affect or hedonic qualities. One interesting question concerns the way a particular experience is summarized into a retrospective value judgment about the product. In the present study, we specifically explored the relationship between affect, mental effort and spontaneity experienced while interacting with a storytelling system and retrospective judgments of appeal. In addition, we studied differential effects of the presence or absence of instrumental goals. In general, active instrumental goals did not only impact experience per se by, for example, inducing mental effort, but also the way subsequent retrospective judgments were formed. We discuss the implications of our findings for the practice of product evaluation in HCI specifically, and more general aspects, such as the role of affect in product evaluations and the importance of usage mode compatibility (i.e., a compatibility of the way one ought to and actually does approach a product).
Keywords: User experience; Affect; Evaluation; User satisfaction; Task; Instrumental goals; Context-dependency; Goal-mode; Action-mode
Dependable domestic systems design: A socio-technical approach BIBAKFull-Text 438-456
  Ian Sommerville; Guy Dewsbury
This paper describes a model that defines the attributes of domestic systems that lead to system dependability and a user-oriented specification method for support systems based on this model. We start by discussing technical dependability models and discuss how these have to be extended for use in a domestic context. We present an extended dependability model based on a socio-technical perspective. This extends the technical notion of dependability to take into account fitness for purpose, acceptability and adaptability. We then go on to discuss MDDS -- a questionnaire-based method that reflects the socio-technical dependability model. It is intended for use by social care professionals who are specifying and designing support systems for older or disabled people. MDDS provides a basis for examining a design from a dependability perspective. We illustrate the use of the method and conclude with a discussion of its qualitative evaluation.
Keywords: Socio-technical systems; Domestic computer systems; System dependability; Design method
Lightweight techniques for structural evaluation of animated metaphors BIBAKFull-Text 457-471
  Jorma Sajaniemi; Tuija Stützle
Visual metaphors in the form of still or animated pictures have been used in user interfaces with the hope of enhancing learning and use of computer applications. This paper studies animated metaphors with the intent to understand how they relate to human cognition and how their quality can be measured. We present a model of the relationships within metaphors, suggest lightweight evaluation techniques based on this model, and test these techniques in an empirical investigation. The results indicate that a lightweight analysis based on still images and made by domain-aware but metaphor-unaware judges can be used as a first step in deciding which metaphors are worthy of further study, and to direct animation efforts to overcome the most crucial problems. Furthermore, the results show that animation may increase or decrease the quality of a metaphor by considerable amounts; hence the final evaluation must be based on actual use of fully implemented metaphors. The results also confirm earlier suggestions to use rich metaphors and provides evidence that richness of the still image is important for the effectiveness of animation.
Keywords: Metaphor; Evaluation; Animation
User acceptance of mobile Internet: Implication for convergence technologies BIBAKFull-Text 472-483
  Dong-Hee Shin
Abstract Using the Technology Acceptance Model as a conceptual framework and a method of structural equation modeling, this study analyzes the consumer attitude toward Wi-Bro drawing data from 515 consumers. Individuals' responses to questions about whether they use/accept Wi-Bro were collected and combined with various factors modified from the Technology Acceptance Model.
   The result of this study show that users' perceptions are significantly associated with their motivation to use Wi-Bro. Specifically, perceived quality and perceived availability are found to have significant effect on users' extrinsic and intrinsic motivation. These new factors are found to be Wi-Bro-specific factors, playing as enhancing factors to attitudes and intention.
Keywords: Technology acceptance model; Wireless Internet; Structural equation modeling; Convergence technologies
The effects of speech-gesture cooperation in animated agents' behavior in multimedia presentations BIBAKFull-Text 484-493
  Stéphanie Buisine; Jean-Claude Martin
Until now, research on arrangement of verbal and non-verbal information in multimedia presentations has not considered multimodal behavior of animated agents. In this paper, we will present an experiment exploring the effects of different types of speech-gesture cooperation in agents' behavior: redundancy (gestures duplicate pieces of information conveyed by speech), complementarity (distribution of information across speech and gestures) and a control condition in which gesture does not convey semantic information. Using a Latin-square design, these strategies were attributed to agents of different appearances to present different objects. Fifty-four male and 54 female users attended three short presentations performed by the agents, recalled the content of presentations and evaluated both the presentations and the agents. Although speech-gesture cooperation was not consciously perceived, it proved to influence users' recall performance and subjective evaluations: redundancy increased verbal information recall, ratings of the quality of explanation, and expressiveness of agents. Redundancy also resulted in higher likeability scores for the agents and a more positive perception of their personality. Users' gender had no influence on this set of results.
Keywords: Embodied conversational agents; Multimodal behavior; Redundancy; Experimental evaluation
Evaluating a cross-cultural children's online book community: Lessons learned for sociability, usability, and cultural exchange BIBAKFull-Text 494-511
  Anita Komlodi; Weimin Hou; Jenny Preece; Allison Druin; Evan Golub; Jade Alburo; Sabrina Liao; Aaron Elkiss; Philip Resnik
The use of computers for human-to-human communication among adults has been studied for many years, but using computer technology to enable children from all over the world to talk to each other has rarely been discussed by researchers. The goal of our research is to fill this gap and explore the design and evaluation of children's cross-language online communities via a case study of the International Children's Digital Library Communities (ICDLCommunities). This project supports the development of communities for children (ages 7-11) that form around the International Digital Children's Library (ICDL) book collection. In this community the children can learn about each others' cultures and make friends even if they do not speak the same language. They can also read and create stories and ask and answer questions about these. From this evaluation study we learned that: (i) children are very interested in their counterparts in other countries and a remarkable amount of communication takes place even when they do not share a common language; (ii) representing their identity online in many different forms is particularly important to children when communicating in an online community; (iii) children enjoy drawing but representing stories in a sequence of diagrams is challenging and needs support; and (iv) asking and answering questions without language is possible using graphical templates. In this paper we present our findings and make recommendations for designing children's cross-cultural online communities.
Keywords: Online communities; Children; International Children's Digital Library; Cross-cultural; Evaluation and design
Looking at human-computer interface design: Effects of ethnicity in computer agents BIBAKFull-Text 512-523
  Jean A. Pratt; Karina Hauser; Zsolt Ugray; Olga Patterson
Abstract This paper presents empirical research findings that identify demonstrated attitude changes in computer users associated with their receiving advice from personified computer agents of two different ethnicities: African American and European American. Our findings indicate that computer users are more likely to change their actions (demonstrating underlying attitudes) based on input from a computer agent whose ethnicity is similar to theirs. These findings directly impact computer agent design in many fields.
Keywords: Computer agents; Ethnicity; Human-computer interface design; Personalisation
Semi-automatic photo annotation strategies using event based clustering and clothing based person recognition BIBAKFull-Text 524-544
  Bongwon Suh; Benjamin B. Bederson
Managing a large number of digital photos is a challenging task for casual users. Personal photos often don't have rich metadata, or additional information associated with them. However, available metadata can play a crucial role in managing photos. Labeling the semantic content of photos (i.e., annotating them), can increase the amount of metadata and facilitate efficient management. However, manual annotation is tedious and labor intensive while automatic metadata extraction techniques often generate inaccurate and irrelevant results. This paper describes a semi-automatic annotation strategy that takes advantage of human and computer strengths. The semi-automatic approach enables users to efficiently update automatically obtained metadata interactively and incrementally. Even though automatically identified metadata are compromised with inaccurate recognition errors, the process of correcting inaccurate information can be faster and easier than manually adding new metadata from scratch. In this paper, we introduce two photo clustering algorithms for generating meaningful photo groups: (1) Hierarchical event clustering; and (2) Clothing based person recognition, which assumes that people who wear similar clothing and appear in photos taken in one day are very likely to be the same person. To explore our semi-automatic strategies, we designed and implemented a prototype called SAPHARI (Semi-Automatic PHoto Annotation and Recognition Interface). The prototype provides an annotation framework which focuses on making bulk annotations on automatically identified photo groups. The prototype automatically creates photo clusters based on events, people, and file metadata so that users can easily bulk annotation photos. We performed a series of user studies to investigate the effectiveness and usability of the semi-automatic annotation techniques when applied to personal photo collections. The results show that users were able to make annotations significantly faster with event clustering using SAPHARI. We also found that users clearly preferred the semi-automatic approaches.
Keywords: Human-computer interaction; Annotation; Semi-automatic annotation; Event identification; Clothing based person recognition; Zoomable user interface; Face detection; Digital photograph; Image management systems
Computers in talk-based mental health interventions BIBAKFull-Text 545-562
  David Coyle; Gavin Doherty; Mark Matthews; John Sharry
The cost to society of mental illness is substantial. A large scale international study has identified mental illnesses as the second leading cause of disability and premature mortality in the developed world [Murray, C.L., Lopez, A.D. (Eds.), 1996. The Global Burden of Disease: A comprehensive assessment of mortality and disability from disease, injuries, and risk factors in 1990 and projected to 2020. Harvard University, Cambridge, MA]. Unfortunately, research also suggests that the majority of people suffering from treatable mental health disorders do not have access to the required treatment. Furthermore, even when treatment is accessible many sufferers are unable to successfully engage with professional services [Surgeon General, 1999. Mental Health: A Report of the Surgeon General -- Executive Summary, Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, DC, Retrieved August 2006, from http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/library/mentalhealth/home.html WHO World Mental Health Survey Consortium, 2004. Prevalence, severity, and unmet need for treatment of mental disorders in the World Health Organization World Mental Health Surveys. Journal of the American Medical Association, 291(21)]. Computer assisted mental health interventions have the potential to help in addressing this imbalance. However, a review of literature shows that to date this potential has been largely unexplored. One of the primary reasons for this is that few researchers from a HCI or technical background have engaged in this area. The primary purpose of this paper is to provide a foundation and set an agenda for future research on the design of technology for talk-based mental health interventions. Theoretical approaches to the treatment of mental illness are reviewed, as is previous research on the use of technology in this area. Several significant factors effecting design and evaluation are identified and based on these factors a broad set of design guidelines are proposed to aid the development of new technologies. Of the issues identified, ethical requirements along with the sensitivity and stigma associated with mental illness pose particular challenges to HCI professionals. These factors place strict limitations on access to mental health care (MHC) settings by non-MHC professionals and create difficulties for the direct application of traditional HCI methods, such as participatory, user-centred and iterative design. To overcome these difficulties this paper proposes a model for collaborative design and evaluation, involving both HCI and MHC professionals. The development of adaptable technologies is an important element of the proposed approach. The final contribution of the paper is to suggest future research directions and identify ways in which HCI researchers can contribute to this work.
Keywords: Mental health interventions; Design methodologies; Collaborative design; Ethical and access constraints; User engagement; Adaptable systems
Providing end-user facilities to simplify ontology-driven web application authoring BIBAKFull-Text 563-585
  José A. Macías; Pablo Castells
Generally speaking, emerging web-based technologies are mostly intended for professional developers. They pay poor attention to users who have no programming abilities but need to customize software applications. At some point, such needs force end-users to act as designers in various aspects of software authoring and development. Every day, more new computing-related professionals attempt to create and modify existing applications in order to customize web-based artifacts that will help them carry out their daily tasks. In general they are domain experts rather than skilled software designers, and new authoring mechanisms are needed in order that they can accomplish their tasks properly. The work we present is an effort to supply end-users with easy mechanisms for authoring web-based applications. To complement this effort, we present a user study showing that it is possible to carry out a trade-off between expressiveness and ease of use in order to provide end-users with authoring facilities.
Keywords: Human-computer interaction; Model-Based User Interfaces; End-User Development; Intelligent user interfaces; Programming by example; Semantic web

IWC 2007 Volume 19 Issue 5/6

The efficacy of narrative video for raising awareness in ICT designers about older users' requirements BIBAKFull-Text 587-596
  A. Carmichael; A. F. Newell; M. Morgan
This paper discusses the efficacy of narrative video to communicate some of the fundamental differences between older users of ICT interfaces and the interface designers who tend not to be familiar with the general perspectives and user requirements of this and other 'non-typical' target groups. Preliminary results show the impact such videos can have on relevant audiences' perspective on designing systems for older adults. The findings suggest that they can influence the mind set of those with little or no experience of designing for older users and that this influence can persist in the longer term. The findings also suggest that the extent of this influence can be an appropriate alternative to that of meeting and interacting with older users in a user centred design process, which although very valuable can be a logistically (and otherwise) challenging element in the training of prospective software designers. The potential utility and limits of this approach are also discussed.
Keywords: Film/video; User requirements; Interface design; Older people; Inclusive design
Towards useful and usable interaction design tools: CanonSketch BIBAKFull-Text 597-613
  Pedro Campos; Nuno Nunes
Despite all the effort dedicated to bringing better User-Centered Design (UCD) tools to market, current studies show that the industry is still dominated by tools that do not support the activities and workstyles of designers. Also, there is a growing need for interaction design tools aimed at software engineers, a problem related to bringing usability into the software engineering processes.
   We propose a new workstyle model that can be effectively used to envision, design and evaluate a new generation of innovative interaction and software design tools, aimed at integrating usability and software engineering.
   We illustrate the effectiveness of our model by describing a new tool, called CanonSketch, that was built in order to support UCD in terms of the dimensions in our workstyle model. We also describe an evaluation study aimed at contrasting paper prototyping with our tool as well as the level of workstyle support.
Keywords: User interface development environments; User-centered design; Graphical user interfaces; Human-computer interaction; OO&HCI
The effects of visual metaphor and cognitive style for mental modeling in a hypermedia-based environment BIBAKFull-Text 614-629
  Jiunde Lee
With the exponential growth of Internet technology, the notion of users' cognition when navigating such a vast information space has gained prominence. Studies suggest that metaphors can serve as effective tools to scaffold users' mental modeling processes. However, how users conceive of the metaphorical aid (as opposed to simply how they perceive it) remains questionable. Cognitive style, or the user's preferred way of information processing, has thus been posited as a possible factor affecting the success of the metaphorical approach in a hypermedia environment.
   This study explores the effects of visual metaphors and cognitive styles on users' learning performances in terms of structural knowledge and feelings of disorientation. The results indicate that a visual metaphor could improve the quality of mental formation, yet simultaneously increase users' mental load during navigation. In addition, cognitive style is a crucial factor that can significantly affect users' learning performance.
Keywords: Visual metaphor; Cognitive style; Structural knowledge; Interface design
Visualizing set concordance with permutation matrices and fan diagrams BIBAKFull-Text 630-643
  Bohyoung Kim; Bongshin Lee; Jinwook Seo
Scientific problem solving often involves concordance (or discordance) analysis among the result sets from different approaches. For example, different scientific analysis methods with the same samples often lead to different or even conflicting conclusions. To reach a more judicious conclusion, it is crucial to consider different perspectives by checking concordance among those result sets by different methods. In this paper, we present an interactive visualization tool called ConSet, where users can effectively examine relationships among multiple sets at once. ConSet provides an overview using an improved permutation matrix to enable users to easily identify relationships among sets with a large number of elements. Not only do we use a standard Venn diagram, we also introduce a new diagram called Fan diagram that allows users to compare two or three sets without any inconsistencies that may exist in Venn diagrams. A qualitative user study was conducted to evaluate how our tool works in comparison with a traditional set visualization tool based on a Venn diagram. We observed that ConSet enabled users to complete more tasks with fewer errors than the traditional interface did and most users preferred ConSet.
Keywords: Set concordance; Permutation matrix; Fan diagram; Venn diagram; Cluster comparison
Corrigendum to "Exploring the design space of robots: Children's perspectives" [Interact. Comput. 18 (2006) 1390-1418] BIBFull-TextOriginal Article 644
  S. N. Woods; K. Dautenhahn; J. Schulz