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ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction 18

Editors:Shumin Zhai
Dates:2011
Volume:18
Publisher:ACM
Standard No:ISSN 1073-0516
Papers:23
Links:Table of Contents
  1. TOCHI 2011-04 Volume 18 Issue 1
  2. TOCHI 2011-06 Volume 18 Issue 2
  3. TOCHI 2011-07 Volume 18 Issue 3
  4. TOCHI 2011-12 Volume 18 Issue 4

TOCHI 2011-04 Volume 18 Issue 1

An exploration of relations between visual appeal, trustworthiness and perceived usability of homepages BIBAFull-Text 1
  Gitte Lindgaard; Cathy Dudek; Devjani Sen; Livia Sumegi; Patrick Noonan
Extremely high correlations between repeated judgments of visual appeal of homepages shown for 50 milliseconds have been interpreted as evidence for a mere exposure effect [Lindgaard et al. 2006]. Continuing that work, the present research had two objectives. First, it investigated the relationship between judgments differing in cognitive demands. Second, it began to identify specific visual attributes that appear to contribute to different judgments. Three experiments are reported. All used the stimuli and viewing time as before. Using a paradigm known to disrupt processing beyond the stimulus offset, Experiment 1 was designed to ensure that the previous findings could not be attributed to such continued processing. Adopting a within-subject design, Experiment 2 investigated the extent to which judgments differing in cognitive demands (visual appeal, perceived usability, trustworthiness) may be driven by the visual characteristics of a Web page. It also enabled analyses of visual attributes that contributed most to the different judgments. Experiment 3 replicated Experiment 2 but using a between-subject design to ensure that no practice effect could occur. The results suggest that all three types of judgments are largely driven by visual appeal, but that cognitively demanding judgments are processed in a qualitatively different manner than visual appeal, and that they rely on somewhat different visual attributes. A model accounting for the results is provided.
Designing mobile interfaces for novice and low-literacy users BIBAFull-Text 2
  Indrani Medhi; Somani Patnaik; Emma Brunskill; S. N. Nagasena Gautama; William Thies; Kentaro Toyama
While mobile phones have found broad application in bringing health, financial, and other services to the developing world, usability remains a major hurdle for novice and low-literacy populations. In this article, we take two steps to evaluate and improve the usability of mobile interfaces for such users. First, we offer an ethnographic study of the usability barriers facing 90 low-literacy subjects in India, Kenya, the Philippines, and South Africa. Then, via two studies involving over 70 subjects in India, we quantitatively compare the usability of different points in the mobile design space. In addition to text interfaces such as electronic forms, SMS, and USSD, we consider three text-free interfaces: a spoken dialog system, a graphical interface, and a live operator.
   Our results confirm that textual interfaces are unusable by first-time low-literacy users, and error prone for literate but novice users. In the context of healthcare, we find that a live operator is up to ten times more accurate than text-based interfaces, and can also be cost effective in countries such as India. In the context of mobile banking, we find that task completion is highest with a graphical interface, but those who understand the spoken dialog system can use it more quickly due to their comfort and familiarity with speech. We synthesize our findings into a set of design recommendations.
Blended interaction spaces for distributed team collaboration BIBAFull-Text 3
  Kenton O'Hara; Jesper Kjeldskov; Jeni Paay
In recent years there has been an introduction of sophisticated new video conferencing technologies (e.g., HP Halo, Cisco Telepresence) that have led to enhancements in the collaborative user experience over traditional video conferencing technologies. Traditional video conferencing set-ups often distort the shared spatial properties of action and communication due to screen and camera orientation disparities and other asymmetries. These distortions affect access to the common resources used to mutually organize action and communication. By contrast, new systems, such as Halo, are physically configured to reduce these asymmetries and orientation disparities, thereby minimizing these spatial distortions. By creating appropriate shared spatial geometries, the distributed spaces become "blended" where the spatial geometries of the local space continue coherently across the distributed boundary into the remote site, providing the illusion of a single unified space. Drawing on theories of embodied action and workplace design we discuss the importance of this geometric "blending" of space for distributed collaboration and how this is achieved in systems such as Halo. We then extend these arguments to explore the concept of Blended Interaction Spaces: blended spaces in which interactive groupware is incorporated in ways spatially consistent with the physical geometries of the video-mediated set-up. We illustrate this discussion through a system called BISi that introduces interactive horizontal and vertical multipoint surfaces into a blended video-mediated collaboration space. In presenting this system, we highlight some of the particular challenges of creating these systems arising from the spatial consequences of different interaction mechanisms (e.g., direct touch or remote control) and how they affect movement and spatial configuration of people in these spaces.
Sketching interactive systems with Sketchify BIBAFull-Text 4
  Zeljko Obrenovic; Jean-Bernard Martens
Recent discussions in the interaction design community have called attention to sketching as an omnipresent element of any disciplined activity of design, and have pointed out that sketching should be extended beyond the simple creation of a pencil trace on paper. More specifically, the need to deal with all attributes of a user experience, especially the timing, phrasing, and feel of the interaction, has been identified. In this article, we propose extending the concept of sketching with a pencil on paper to the more generic concept of fluent exploration of interactive materials. We define interactive materials as any piece of software or hardware that represents or simulates a part of the interactive user experience, such as input from sensors, output in the form of sound, video, or image, or interaction with Web services or specialized programs. We have implemented the proposed concept within Sketchify, a tool for sketching user interfaces. Sketchify gives designers the freedom to manipulate interactive materials by combining elements of traditional freehand sketching with functional extensions and end-user programming tools, such as spreadsheets and scripting. We have evaluated Sketchify in the education of interaction designers, identifying both successful aspects and aspects that need further improvements.

TOCHI 2011-06 Volume 18 Issue 2

Towards a framework of publics: Re-encountering media sharing and its user BIBAFull-Text 5
  Silvia Lindtner; Judy Chen; Gillian R. Hayes; Paul Dourish
Design and evaluation of user-generated media production and sharing in Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) often focus on formal and informal media sharing, such as communication within social networks, automatic notifications of activities, and the exchange of digital artifacts. However, conceptual tools for understanding how people relate to the audiences they reach through these systems are limited. The increasing interest in user-generated content in HCI demands the infusion of new methods and theories that explicitly engage the construction and use of media within and among large groups of individuals and systems. In this paper, we suggest that the notion of "publics," drawn from media theory, provides useful insights into user-driven, social, and cultural forms of technology use and digital content creation. We illustrate this by employing the notion of publics to the findings from a two-month deployment of a mobile photo sharing platform in a youth housing community. The results of this empirical work coupled with a theoretical examination of publics stimulate reflection on prevailing interpretations of user-designer-reader roles. The paper provides an outlook for potentially new and productive ways of understanding interdependencies within those activities. Implications that can be drawn from this work concern the role of digital media creation and sharing for the formation of collectives and how people position themselves collectively in relation to larger social groups and societal norms. The analysis suggests fruitful crossovers among HCI, Media Theory and New Media Research by approaching the user as both consumer and producer of digital content.
Design and evaluation of a command recommendation system for software applications BIBAFull-Text 6
  Wei Li; Justin Matejka; Tovi Grossman; Joseph A. Konstan; George Fitzmaurice
We examine the use of modern recommender system technology to aid command awareness in complex software applications. We first describe our adaptation of traditional recommender system algorithms to meet the unique requirements presented by the domain of software commands. A user study showed that our item-based collaborative filtering algorithm generates 2.1 times as many good suggestions as existing techniques. Motivated by these positive results, we propose a design space framework and its associated algorithms to support both global and contextual recommendations. To evaluate the algorithms, we developed the CommunityCommands plug-in for AutoCAD. This plug-in enabled us to perform a 6-week user study of real-time, within-application command recommendations in actual working environments. We report and visualize command usage behaviors during the study, and discuss how the recommendations affected users behaviors. In particular, we found that the plug-in successfully exposed users to new commands, as unique commands issued significantly increased.
Measuring multitasking behavior with activity-based metrics BIBAFull-Text 7
  Raquel Benbunan-Fich; Rachel F. Adler; Tamilla Mavlanova
Multitasking is the result of time allocation decisions made by individuals faced with multiple tasks. Multitasking research is important in order to improve the design of systems and applications. Since people typically use computers to perform multiple tasks at the same time, insights into this type of behavior can help develop better systems and ideal types of computer environments for modern multitasking users. In this paper, we define multitasking based on the principles of task independence and performance concurrency and develop a set of metrics for computer-based multitasking. The theoretical foundation of this metric development effort stems from an application of key principles of Activity Theory and a systematic analysis of computer usage from the perspective of the user, the task and the technology. The proposed metrics, which range from a lean dichotomous variable to a richer measure based on switches, were validated with data from a sample of users who self-reported their activities during a computer usage session. This set of metrics can be used to establish a conceptual and methodological foundation for future multitasking studies.
Improving performance, perceived usability, and aesthetics with culturally adaptive user interfaces BIBAFull-Text 8
  Katharina Reinecke; Abraham Bernstein
When we investigate the usability and aesthetics of user interfaces, we rarely take into account that what users perceive as beautiful and usable strongly depends on their cultural background. In this paper, we argue that it is not feasible to design one interface that appeals to all users of an increasingly global audience. Instead, we propose to design culturally adaptive systems, which automatically generate personalized interfaces that correspond to cultural preferences. In an evaluation of one such system, we demonstrate that a majority of international participants preferred their personalized versions over a nonadapted interface of the same Website. Results show that users were 22% faster using the culturally adapted interface, needed fewer clicks, and made fewer errors, in line with subjective results demonstrating that they found the adapted version significantly easier to use. Our findings show that interfaces that adapt to cultural preferences can immensely increase the user experience.
The organization of home media BIBAFull-Text 9
  Robin Sease; David W. McDonald
The growing volume of digital music, photos and video challenges media management software and organizing schemes alike. Through 20 in situ, two hour interviews we explored the when, why and how of our participants' organizational schemes. We sought and studied significantly larger media collections than in previous studies. For these larger media collections some common assumptions like the distinction between popular and classical music collectors do not hold. Our analysis identifies organizing schemes commonly used on a day-to-day basis. We found that participants often rely on overrides or exceptions to their organizational schemes that they consider idiosyncrasies. However, our findings illustrate that those idiosyncratic behaviors are more common than participants believe. Our analysis reflects upon prior research and on the relationship between physical and digital artifacts, relating computer supported cooperative work systems to contemporary media management applications. Our findings can inform the design of media management and media player software.
Walking improves your cognitive map in environments that are large-scale and large in extent BIBAFull-Text 10
  Roy A. Ruddle; Ekaterina Volkova; Heinrich H. Bülthoff
This study investigated the effect of body-based information (proprioception, etc.) when participants navigated large-scale virtual marketplaces that were either small (Experiment 1) or large in extent (Experiment 2). Extent refers to the size of an environment, whereas scale refers to whether people have to travel through an environment to see the detail necessary for navigation. Each participant was provided with full body-based information (walking through the virtual marketplaces in a large tracking hall or on an omnidirectional treadmill), just the translational component of body-based information (walking on a linear treadmill, but turning with a joystick), just the rotational component (physically turning but using a joystick to translate) or no body-based information (joysticks to translate and rotate). In large and small environments translational body-based information significantly improved the accuracy of participants' cognitive maps, measured using estimates of direction and relative straight line distance but, on its own, rotational body-based information had no effect. In environments of small extent, full body-based information also improved participants' navigational performance. The experiments show that locomotion devices such as linear treadmills would bring substantial benefits to virtual environment applications where large spaces are navigated, and theories of human navigation need to reconsider the contribution made by body-based information, and distinguish between environmental scale and extent.

TOCHI 2011-07 Volume 18 Issue 3

Creating the spectacle: Designing interactional trajectories through spectator interfaces BIBAFull-Text 11
  Steve Benford; Andy Crabtree; Martin Flintham; Chris Greenhalgh; Boriana Koleva; Matt Adams; Nick Tandavanitj; Ju Row Farr; Gabriella Giannachi; Irma Lindt
An ethnographic study reveals how professional artists created a spectator interface for the interactive game Day of the Figurines, designing the size, shape, height and materials of two tabletop interfaces before carefully arranging them in a local setting. We also show how participants experienced this interface. We consider how the artists worked with a multi-scale notion of interactional trajectory that combined trajectories through individual displays, trajectories through a local ecology of displays, and trajectories through an entire experience. Our findings shed light on discussions within HCI concerning interaction with tangible and tabletop displays, spectator interfaces, ecologies of displays, and trajectories through cultural experiences.
Homogeneous physio-behavioral visual and mouse-based biometric BIBAFull-Text 12
  Omar Hamdy; Issa Traoré
In this research, we propose a novel biometric system for static user authentication that homogeneously combines mouse dynamics, visual search capability and short-term memory effect. The proposed system introduces the visual search capability, and short-term memory effect to the biometric-based security world for the first time. The use of a computer mouse for its dynamics, and as an input sensor for the other two biometrics, means no additional hardware is required than the standard mouse. Experimental evaluation showed the system effectiveness using variable or one-time passwords. All of these attributes qualify the proposed system to be effectively deployed as a static authentication mechanism.
   Extensive experimentation was done using 2740 sessions collected from 274 users. To measure the performance, a computational statistics model was specially designed and used; a statistical classifier based on Weighted-Sum produced an Equal Error Rate (EER) of 2.11%.
Effects of motor scale, visual scale, and quantization on small target acquisition difficulty BIBAFull-Text 13
  Olivier Chapuis; Pierre Dragicevic
Targets of only a few pixels are notoriously difficult to acquire. Despite many attempts at facilitating pointing, the reasons for this difficulty are poorly understood. We confirm a strong departure from Fitts' Law for small target acquisition using a mouse and investigate three potential sources of problems: motor accuracy, legibility, and quantization. We find that quantization is not a problem, but both motor and visual sizes are limiting factors. This suggests that small targets should be magnified in both motor and visual space to facilitate pointing. Since performance degrades exponentially as targets get very small, we further advocate the exploration of uniform, target-agnostic magnification strategies. We also confirm Welford's 1969 proposal that motor inaccuracy can be modeled by subtracting a "tremor constant" from target size. We argue for the adoption of this model, rather than Fitts' law, when reflecting on small target acquisition.
XICE windowing toolkit: Seamless display annexation BIBAFull-Text 14
  Richard Arthur; Dan R., Jr. Olsen
Users are increasingly nomadic, carrying computing power with them. To gain rich input and output, users could annex displays and input devices when available, but annexing via VGA cable is insufficient. This article introduces XICE, which uses wireless networks to connect portable devices to display servers. Network connections eliminate cables, allow multiple people to share a display, and ease input annexation. XICE mitigates potentially malicious input, and facilitates comfortable viewing on a variety of displays via view-independent coordinates. The XICE-distributed graphics model greatly reduces portable device CPU usage and extends portable device battery life.
The relationship of action research to human-computer interaction BIBAFull-Text 15
  Gillian R. Hayes
Alongside the growing interest within HCI, and arguably computing more generally, in conducting research that has substantial societal benefits, there is a need for new ways to think about and to articulate the challenges of these engaged research projects as well as their results. Action Research (AR) is a class of methods and approaches for conducting democratic and collaborative research with community partners. AR has evolved over the last several decades and offers HCI researchers theoretical lenses, methodological approaches, and pragmatic guidance for conducting socially relevant, collaborative, and engaged research. In this article, I describe the historical context and origins of AR, the scientifically rigorous practice of conducting and evaluating AR projects, and the ways in which AR might meaningfully be applied to HCI research.
Two-handed marking menus for multitouch devices BIBAFull-Text 16
  Kenrick Kin; Björn Hartmann; Maneesh Agrawala
We investigate multistroke marking menus for multitouch devices and we show that using two hands can improve performance. We present two new two-handed multistroke marking menu variants in which users either draw strokes with both hands simultaneously or alternate strokes between hands. In a pair of studies we find that using two hands simultaneously is faster than using a single, dominant-handed marking menu by 10-15%. Alternating strokes between hands doubles the number of accessible menu items for the same number of strokes, and is similar in performance to using a one-handed marking menu. We also examine how stroke direction affects performance. When using thumbs on an iPod Touch, drawing strokes upwards and inwards is faster than other directions. For two-handed simultaneous menus, stroke pairs that are bilaterally symmetric or share the same direction are fastest. We conclude with design guidelines and sample applications to aid multitouch application developers interested in using one- and two-handed marking menus.
Signing on the tactile line: A multimodal system for teaching handwriting to blind children BIBAFull-Text 17
  Beryl Plimmer; Peter Reid; Rachel Blagojevic; Andrew Crossan; Stephen Brewster
We present McSig, a multimodal system for teaching blind children cursive handwriting so that they can create a personal signature. For blind people handwriting is very difficult to learn as it is a near-zero feedback activity that is needed only occasionally, yet in important situations; for example, to make an attractive and repeatable signature for legal contracts. McSig aids the teaching of signatures by translating digital ink from the teacher's stylus gestures into three non-visual forms: (1) audio pan and pitch represents the x and y movement of the stylus; (2) kinaesthetic information is provided to the student through a force-feedback haptic pen that mimics the teacher's stylus movement; and (3) a physical tactile line on the writing sheet is created by the haptic pen.
   McSig has been developed over two major iterations of design, usability testing and evaluation. The final step of the first iteration was a short evaluation with eight visually impaired children. The results suggested that McSig had the highest potential benefit for congenitally and totally blind children and also indicated some areas where McSig could be enhanced. The second prototype incorporated significant modifications to the system, improving the audio, tactile and force-feedback. We then ran a detailed, longitudinal evaluation over 14 weeks with three of the congenitally blind children to assess McSig's effectiveness in teaching the creation of signatures. Results demonstrated the effectiveness of McSig -- they all made considerable progress in learning to create a recognizable signature. By the end of ten lessons, two of the children could form a complete, repeatable signature unaided, the third could do so with a little verbal prompting. Furthermore, during this project, we have learnt valuable lessons about providing consistent feedback between different communications channels (by manual interactions, haptic device, pen correction) that will be of interest to others developing multimodal systems.

TOCHI 2011-12 Volume 18 Issue 4

Introduction: Social media and collaborative systems for crisis management BIBFull-Text 18
  Starr Roxanne Hiltz; Paloma Diaz; Gloria Mark
High reliability virtual organizations: Co-adaptive technology and organizational structures in tsunami warning systems BIBAFull-Text 19
  Martha Grabowski; Karlene Roberts
Highly reliable organizations (HROs) are those organizations, which by nature or design, cannot or must not fail; the consequences of failure in such systems are usually catastrophic. Systems that combine the characteristics of highly reliable operations and distributed, virtual organizations are known as highly reliable virtual organizations (HRVOs) -- distributed and electronically linked groups of organizations that excel in high-consequence settings. Tsunami warning systems (TWS) are one example of virtual organizations that operate under enormous expectations for reliability. Adaptive structuration theory suggests that, in complex systems, technology and organizational structures co-evolve, and users adapt technology to their needs, creating shared meaning about the role and utility of technology in various settings. In this article, we consider how the shared meaning that develops in the social shaping of technology in one HRVO, tsunami warning systems, contributes to reliability enhancement. Following Poole and DeSanctis [2000], this study is a structuration study in a particular context, exploring how structuration occurs, the conditions that influence it, and its consequences or outcomes. We begin by describing HRVOs and the co-adaptive roles that technology and organizational structures play in such organizations. We then describe a global tsunami warning system as an illustrative case of a globally distributed sociotechnical system for which use of technology and distributed organizational structures should enhance reliability. We describe how social media plays a role in adaptive structuration in tsunami warning systems, and then return to consider the nature of HRVOs and their characteristics, en route to identifying challenges in the co-adaptation of technology and organizational structures in highly reliable tsunami warning systems.
Socio-cognitive aspects of interoperability: Understanding communication task environments among different organizations BIBAFull-Text 20
  Gyu Hyun Kwon; Tonya L. Smith-Jackson; Charles W. Bostian
Emergency communication systems (ECS) are a key element in collaborations among different public safety organizations. The need for interoperability in emergency communication systems has hastened the development of interoperable communication technology that is an enabling technology to automatically identify environmental variables including appropriate radio frequencies and to connect different networks used by different organizations. Even though the technology has been researched from many perspectives and has shown that is possible to connect different organizations, there still remain many issues in terms of socio-cognitive aspects. Thus, this study examines the socio-cognitive dimensions of interoperability, which equal the technical dimensions of the problem in importance. The existential-phenomenological study reported here used semistructured interviews to reconceptualize interoperability in the public safety communication domain. Based on 11 interviews with public safety workers, five important factors were identified that have a major impact on the effectiveness of interoperable groups: information sharedness, operational awareness, communication readiness, adaptiveness, and coupledness. Based on these main concepts, high-level suggestions are provided to guide the design of a new public safety communication system. The results can be directly applied to identify the requirements of communication systems and can be extended to design collaboration systems under stressful environments.
Technology-mediated social arrangements to resolve breakdowns in infrastructure during ongoing disruption BIBAFull-Text 21
  Bryan Semaan; Gloria Mark
When societies experience disruption as caused by natural disasters, various official government agencies, relief organizations, and emergent citizen groups engage in activities that aid in the recovery effort -- the process that leads to the resumption of normal life. In war environments however, societal trust can be affected and people may develop distrust of the institutions and associated individuals that provide and resolve breakdowns in infrastructure. This article reports on an ethnographic study of the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) by citizens experiencing ongoing disruption in a conflict zone. We conducted 90 semistructured interviews with Iraqi civilians who experienced the 2nd Gulf War beginning in March 2003. We show how citizens used ICTs to continuously resolve breakdowns in infrastructure during ongoing disruption caused by the conflict, by creating new, reliable technology-mediated social arrangements that enabled people to maintain daily routines for travel, education, and obtaining information. We then discuss new ways to think about infrastructure and implications for the disaster relief effort.
Supporting common ground and awareness in emergency management planning: A design research project BIBAFull-Text 22
  Gregorio Convertino; Helena M. Mentis; Aleksandra Slavkovic; Mary Beth Rosson; John M. Carroll
We present a design research project on knowledge sharing and activity awareness in distributed emergency management planning. In three experiments we studied groups using three different prototypes, respectively: a paper-prototype in a collocated work setting, a first software prototype in a distributed setting, and a second, enhanced software prototype in a distributed setting. In this series of studies we tried to better understand the processes of knowledge sharing and activity awareness in complex cooperative work by developing and investigating new tools that can support these processes. We explicate the design rationale behind each prototype and report the results of each experiment investigating it. We discuss how the results from each prototyping phase brought us closer to defining properties of a system that facilitate the sharing and awareness of both content and process knowledge. Our designs enhanced aspects of distributed group performance, in some respects beyond that of comparable face-to-face groups.
The team coordination game: Zero-fidelity simulation abstracted from fire emergency response practice BIBAFull-Text 23
  Zachary O. Toups; Andruid Kerne; William A. Hamilton
Crisis response engenders a high-stress environment in which teams gather, transform, and mutually share information. Prior educational approaches have not successfully addressed these critical skills. The assumption has been that the highest fidelity simulations result in the best learning. Deploying high-fidelity simulations is expensive and dangerous; they do not address team coordination. Low-fidelity approaches are ineffective because they are not stressful.
   Zero-fidelity simulation develops and invokes the principle of abstraction, focusing on human-information and human-human transfers of meaning, to derive design from work practice. Our principal hypothesis is that crisis responders will experience zero-fidelity simulation as effective simulation of team coordination. We synthesize the sustained iterative design and evaluation of the Team Coordination Game. We develop and apply new experimental methods to show that participants learn to cooperate and communicate, applying what they learn in practice. Design implications address how to employ the abstraction principle to develop zero-fidelity simulations.