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ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction 3

Editors:Dan R. Olsen, Jr.
Dates:1996
Volume:3
Publisher:ACM
Standard No:ISSN 1073-0516
Papers:12
Links:Table of Contents
  1. TOCHI 1996 Volume 3 Issue 1
  2. TOCHI 1996 Volume 3 Issue 2
  3. TOCHI 1996 Volume 3 Issue 3
  4. TOCHI 1996 Volume 3 Issue 4

TOCHI 1996 Volume 3 Issue 1

An Experimental Investigation of the Interactive Effects of Interface Style, Instructions, and Task Familiarity on User Performance BIBAKPDF 1-37
  Kai H. Lim; Izak Benbasat; Peter A. Todd
Norman proposed a model describing the sequence of user activities involved in human-computer interaction. Through this model, Norman provides a rationale for why direct-manipulation interfaces may be preferred to other design alternatives. Based on action identification theory we developed several hypotheses about the operations of Norman's model and tested them in a laboratory experiment. The results show that users of a direct-manipulation interface and a menu-based interface did not differ in the total amount of time used to perform a task. However, with the direct-manipulation interface, more time is devoted to performing motor actions, but this is offset by shorter nonmotor time. Furthermore, there are significant interactions between task familiarity, instructions, and the type of interface, indicating that Norman's model may not hold under all conditions.
Keywords: Information systems, Information interfaces and presentation, User interfaces, Software, Software engineering, Tools and techniques, User interfaces, Information systems, Models and principles, User/machine systems, Information systems, Information interfaces and presentation, User interfaces, User interface management systems (UIMS), Human factors, Computing methodologies, Computer graphics, Methodology and techniques, Interaction techniques
Creating Presentation Slides: A Study of User Preferences for Task-Specific versus Generic Application Software BIBAKPDF 38-65
  Jeff A. Johnson; Bonnie A. Nardi
We conducted a study to investigate the use of generic versus task-specific application software by people who create and maintain presentation slides. Sixteen people were interviewed to determine how they prepare slides, what software they use to prepare and maintain slides, and how well the software they use supports various aspects of the task. The informants varied in how central slidemaking was to their jobs. The hypotheses driving the study were that: (1) some software applications are task generic, intended for use in a wide variety of tasks, while others are task specific, intended to support very specific tasks; (2) task-specific software is preferable, but is often not used because of cost, learning effort, or lack of availability, and (3) people who infrequently perform a task tend to use generic tools, while people who often perform it tend to use task-specific tools. Our findings suggest that several factors influence choice of slidemaking software, including desired quality, production time, user skill, willingness to use multiple tools, whether people work alone or in teams, and company policy. Furthermore, the task specificity/genericness of an application program is not a simple matter of degree, because it depends on several fairly independent software design issues. We (1) conclude that developing application software that supports all aspects of a task well is extremely difficult and (2) suggest an alternative approach that may be more fruitful: providing collections of interoperable tools and services.
Keywords: Information systems, Information interfaces and presentation, User interfaces, Information systems, Information systems applications, General, Computing methodologies, Computer graphics, Graphics utilities, Graphics editors, Computing milieux, Personal computing, Application packages, Graphics, Information systems, Models and principles, User/machine systems, Human factors, Computing methodologies, Computer graphics, Graphics utilities, Application packages, Human factors, Application software, Interoperability, Interview study, Slide presentation, Task analysis, Task specific
Building Real-Time Groupware with GroupKit, a Groupware Toolkit BIBAKPDF 66-106
  Mark Roseman; Saul Greenberg
This article presents an overview of GroupKit, a groupware toolkit that lets developers build applications for synchronous and distributed computer-based conferencing. GroupKit was constructed from our belief that programming groupware should be only slightly harder than building functionally similar single-user systems. We have been able to significantly reduce the implementation complexity of groupware through the key features that comprise GroupKit. A runtime infrastructure automatically manages the creation, interconnection, and communications of the distributed processes that comprise conference sessions. A set of groupware programming abstractions allows developers to control the behavior of distributed processes, to take action on state changes, and to share relevant data. Groupware widgets let interface features of value to conference participants to be easily added to groupware applications. Session managers -- interfaces that let people create and manage their meetings -- are decoupled from groupware applications and are built by developers to accommodate the group's working style. Example GroupKit applications in a variety of domains have been implemented with only modest effort.
Keywords: Information systems, Information interfaces and presentation, User interfaces, User interface management systems (UIMS), Software, Software engineering, Tools and techniques, User interfaces, Software, Programming languages, Language constructs and features, Software, Operating systems, Organization and design, Interactive systems, Information systems, Information interfaces and presentation, Group and organization interfaces, Synchronous interaction, Human factors, Computer-supported cooperative work, GroupKit, Groupware toolkits, Synchronous groupware, User interface toolkits

TOCHI 1996 Volume 3 Issue 2

High-Speed Visual Estimation Using Preattentive Processing BIBAKPDF 107-135
  Christopher G. Healey; Kellogg S. Booth; James T. Enns
A new method is presented for performing rapid and accurate numerical estimation. The method is derived from an area of human cognitive psychology called preattentive processing. Preattentive processing refers to an initial organization of the visual field based on cognitive operations believed to be rapid, automatic, and spatially parallel. Examples of visual features that can be detected in this way include hue, intensity, orientation, size, and motion. We believe that studies from preattentive vision should be used to assist in the design of visualization tools, especially those for which high-speed target detection, boundary identification, and region detection are important. In our present study, we investigated two known preattentive features (hue and orientation) in the context of a new task (numerical estimation) in order to see whether preattentive estimation was possible. Our experiments tested displays that were designed to visualize data from salmon migration simulations. The results showed that rapid and accurate estimation was indeed possible using either hue or orientation. Furthermore, random variation in one of these features resulted in no interference when subjects estimated the percentage of the other. To test the generality of our results, we varied two important display parameters -- display duration and feature difference -- and found boundary conditions for each. Implications of our results for application to real-world data and tasks are discussed.
Keywords: Computing methodologies, Computer graphics, Methodology and techniques, Interaction techniques, Information systems, Information interfaces and presentation, User interfaces, Ergonomics, Information systems, Information interfaces and presentation, User interfaces, Screen design, Computing methodologies, Computer graphics, Methodology and techniques, Ergonomics, Boundary detection, Cognitive psychology, Color, Estimation, Experimentation, Performance, Human vision, Icon, Multidimensional data, Munsell, Orientation, Preattentive, Scientific visualization, Target detection
Browsing and Querying in Online Documentation: A Study of User Interfaces and the Interaction Process BIBAKPDF 136-161
  Morten Hertzum; Erik Frokjaer
A user interface study concerning the usage effectiveness of selected retrieval modes was conducted using an experimental text retrieval system, TeSS, giving access to online documentation of certain programming tools. Four modes of TeSS were compared: (1) browsing, (2) conventional boolean retrieval, (3) boolean retrieval based on Venn diagrams, and (4) these three combined. Further, the modes of TeSS were compared to the use of printed manuals. The subjects observed were 87 computing new to them. In the experiment the use of printed manuals is faster and provides answers of higher quality than any of the electronic modes. Therefore, claims about the effectiveness of computer-based text retrieval have to by vary in situations where printed manuals are manageable to the user. Among the modes of TeSS, browsing is the fastest and the one causing the fewest operational errors. On the same two variables, time and operational errors, the Venn diagram mode performs better than conventional boolean retrieval. The combined mode scores worst on the objective performance measures; nonetheless nearly all subject prefer this mode. Concerning the interaction process, the subjects tend to manage the complexities of the information retrieval tasks by issuing series of simple commands and exploiting the interactive capabilities of TeSS. To characterize the dynamics of the interaction process two concepts are introduced; threads and sequences of tactics. Threads in a query sequence describes the continuity during retrieval. Sequences of tactics concern the combined mode and describe how different retrieval modes succeed each other as the retrieval process evolves.
Keywords: Information systems, Information interfaces and presentation, User interfaces, Evaluation/methodology, Information systems, Information storage and retrieval, Information search and retrieval, Query formulation, Information systems, Information storage and retrieval, Information search and retrieval, Retrieval models, Information systems, Information storage and retrieval, Systems and software, Information systems, Information interfaces and presentation, User interfaces, Training, help, and documentation, Experimentation, Human factors, Performance, Documentation, Interaction process, Online manuals, Usage effectiveness
Navigating Hierarchically Clustered Networks through Fisheye and Full-Zoom Methods BIBAKPDF 162-188
  Doug Schaffer; Zhengping Zuo; Saul Greenberg; Lyn Bartram; John Dill; Shelli Dubs; Mark Roseman
Many information structures are represented as two-dimensional networks (connected graphs) of links and nodes. Because these network tend to be large and quite complex, people often prefer to view part or all of the network at varying levels of detail. Hierarchical clustering provides a framework for viewing the network at different levels of detail by superimposing a hierarchy on it. Nodes are grouped into clusters, and clusters are themselves place into other clusters. Users can then navigate these clusters until an appropriate level of detail is reached. This article describes an experiment comparing two methods for viewing hierarchically clustered networks. Traditional full-zoom techniques provide details of only the current level of the hierarchy. In contrast, fisheye views, generated by the "variable-zoom" algorithm described in this article, provide information about higher levels as well. Subjects using both viewing methods were given problem-solving tasks requiring them to navigate a network, in this case, a simulated telephone system, and to reroute links in it. Results suggest that the greater context provided by fisheye views significantly improved user performance. Users were quicker to complete their task and made fewer unnecessary navigational steps through the hierarchy. This validation of fisheye views in important for designers of interfaces to complicated monitoring systems, such as control rooms for supervisory control and data acquisition systems, where efficient human performance is often critical. However, control room operators remained concerned about the size and visibility tradeoffs between the fine room operators remained concerned about the size and visibility tradeoffs between the fine detail provided by full-zoom techniques and the global context supplied by fisheye views. Specific interface features are required to reconcile the differences.
Keywords: Information systems, Information interfaces and presentation, User interfaces, Interaction styles, Information systems, Information interfaces and presentation, User interfaces, Theory and methods, Computing methodologies, Computer graphics, Methodology and techniques, Interaction techniques, Human factors, Measurement, Data acquisition, Fisheye views, Hierarchically clustered graphs, Information visualization, Supervisory control

TOCHI 1996 Volume 3 Issue 3

A Field Study of Exploratory Learning Strategies BIBAKPDF 189-218
  John Rieman
It has suggested that interactive computer users find "exploratory learning" to be an effective and attractive strategy for learning a new system or investigating unknown features of familiar software. In exploratory learning, instead of working through precisely sequenced training materials, the user investigates a system on his or her own initiative, often in pursuit of a real or artificial task. The value of exploratory learning has been studied in controlled settings, with special attention newly acquired systems, be there has been little investigation of its occurrence in natural situations or in support of ongoing learning. To address this question, a field study of the behavior and attitudes of computer users in everyday working situations was performed, using diaries and structured interviews that focused on learning events. The study showed that task-oriented exploration was a widely accepted method for learning, but that it often required support from manuals and from other users or system support personnel. Exploration not related to a current or pending task was infrequent, and most users believed it to be inefficient. These findings have implications for the design of systems, documentation, and training.
Keywords: Information systems, Information interfaces and presentation, User interfaces, Training, help, and documentation, Software, Software engineering, Tools and techniques, User interfaces, Documentation, Human factors, Diary studies, Discovery learning, Exploratory learning, Learning in the workplace, Learning on demand
The Reuse of Uses in Smalltalk Programming BIBAKPDF 219-253
  Mary Beth Rosson; John M. Carroll
Software reuse, a long-standing and refractory issue in software technology, has been specifically emphasized as an advantage of the object-oriented programming paradigm. We report an empirical study of expert Smalltalk programmers reusing user interface classes in small graphical applications. Our primary goal was to develop a qualitative characterization of expert reuse strategies that could be used to identify requirements for teaching and supporting reuse programming. A secondary interest was to demonstrate to these experts the Reuse View Matcher -- a prototype reuse tool -- and to collect some initial observations of this tool in use during reuse programming. We observed extensive "reuse of uses" in the programmers' work: they relied heavily on code in example applications that provided an implicit specification for reuse of the target class. We called this implicit specification a "usage context." The programmers searched for relevant usage contexts early. They repeatedly evaluated the contextualized information to develop solution plans, and they borrowed and adapted it when the sample context suited their immediate reuse goals. The process of code development was highly dynamic and incremental; analysis and implementation were tightly interleaved, frequently driven by testing and debugging. These results are considered in terms of the tradeoffs that inhere in the reuse of uses and the teaching and tool support that might improve the efficiency and accuracy of this approach to reuse.
Keywords: Software, Programming techniques, Object-oriented programming, Software, Software engineering, Programming environments, Software, Software engineering, Miscellaneous, Reusable software, Information systems, Information interfaces and presentation, User interfaces, Training, help, and documentation, Documentation, Human factors, Languages, Debugging into existence, Example-based learning, Reuse of uses, Smalltalk, Usage context
The Partial-Occlusion Effect: Utilizing Semitransparency in 3D Human-Computer Interaction BIBAKPDF 254-284
  Shumin Zhai; William Buxton; Paul Milgram
This study investigates human performance when using semitransparent tools in interactive 3D computer graphics environments. The article briefly reviews techniques for presenting depth information and examples of applying semitransparency in computer interface design. We hypothesize that when the user moves a semitransparent surface in a 3D environment, the "partial-occlusion" effect introduced through semitransparency acts as an effective cue in target localization -- an essential component in many 3D interaction tasks. This hypothesis was tested in an experiment in which subjects were asked to capture dynamic targets (virtual fish) with two versions of a 3D box cursor, one with and one without semitransparent surfaces. Results showed that the partial-occlusion effect through semitransparency significantly improved users' performance in terms of trial completion time, error rate, and error magnitude in both monoscopic and stereoscopic displays. Subjective evaluations supported the conclusions drawn from performance measures. The experimental results and their implications are discussed, with emphasis on the relative, discrete nature of the partial-occlusion effect and on interactions between different depth cues. The article concludes with proposals of a few future research issues and applications of semitransparency in human-computer interaction.
Keywords: Information systems, Information interfaces and presentation, User interfaces, Interaction styles, Information systems, Models and principles, User/machine systems, Human factors, Information systems, Information interfaces and presentation, User interfaces, Input devices and strategies, Computing methodologies, Computer graphics, Methodology and techniques, Interaction techniques, Computing methodologies, Computer graphics, Three-dimensional graphics and realism, Virtual reality, Design, Experimentation, Human factors, Measurement, 3D interfaces, Depth perception, Partial occlusion, Semitransparency, Stereopsis

TOCHI 1996 Volume 3 Issue 4

Using GOMS for User Interface Design and Evaluation: Which Technique? BIBAKPDF 287-319
  Bonnie E. John; David E. Kieras
Since the seminal book, The Psychology of Human-Computer Interaction, the GOMS model has been one of the few widely known theoretical concepts in human-computer interaction. This concept has spawned much research to verify and extend the original work and has been used in real-world design and evaluation situations. This article synthesizes the previous work on GOMS to provide an integrated view of GOMS models and how they can be used in design. We briefly describe the major variants of GOMS that have matured sufficiently to be used in actual design. We then provide guidance to practitioners about which GOMS variant to use for different design situations. Finally, we present examples of the application of GOMS to practical design problems and then summarize the lessons learned.
Keywords: Information systems, Models and principles, User/machine systems, Human information processing, Human factors, Cognitive modeling, GOMS, Usability engineering
The GOMS Family of User Interface Analysis Techniques: Comparison and Contrast BIBAKPDF 320-351
  Bonnie E. John; David E. Kieras
Since the publication of The Psychology of Human-Computer Interaction, the GOMS model has been one of the most widely known theoretical concepts in HCI. This concept has produced several GOMS analysis techniques that differ in appearance and form, underlying architectural assumptions, and predictive power. This article compares and contrasts four popular variants of the GOMS family (the Keystroke-Level Model, the original GOMS formulation, NGOMSL, and CPM-GOMS) by applying them to a single task example.
Keywords: Human factors, Information systems, Models and principles, User/machine systems, Human information processing, Cognitive modeling, GOMS, Usability engineering
Predicting Document Access in Large Multimedia Repositories BIBAKPDF 352-375
  Margaret M. Recker; James E. Pitkow
Network-accessible multimedia databases, repositories, and libraries are proliferating at a rapid rate. A crucial problem for these repositories remains timely and appropriate document access. In this article, we borrow a model from psychological research on human memory, which has long studied retrieval of memory items based on frequency and recency rates of past item occurrences. Specifically, the model uses frequency and recency rates of prior document accesses to predict future document requests. The model is illustrated by analyzing the log file of document accesses to the Georgia Institute of Technology World Wide Web (WWW) repository, a large multimedia repository exhibiting high access rates. Results show that the model predicts document access rates with a reliable degree of accuracy. We describe extensions to the basic approach that combine the recency and frequency analyses and which incorporate repository structure and document type. These results have implications for the formulation of descriptive user models of information access in large repositories. In addition, we sketch applications in the areas of design of information systems and interfaces and their document-caching algorithms.
Keywords: Models and principles, User/machine systems, Human information processing, Information interfaces and presentation, Multimedia information systems, Evaluation/methodology, Human factors, Information access, User modeling