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BIT Tables of Contents: 010203040506070809101112

Behaviour and Information Technology 2

Editors:Tom Stewart
Publisher:Taylor & Francis, Ltd.
Standard No:ISSN 0144-929X
Links:Table of Contents
  1. BIT 1983 Volume 2 Issue 1
  2. BIT 1983 Volume 2 Issue 2
  3. BIT 1983 Volume 2 Issue 3
  4. BIT 1983 Volume 2 Issue 4

BIT 1983 Volume 2 Issue 1

Editorial BIB 1-2
  Tom Stewart
User-Friendly Computer Systems? A Critical Examination of the Concept BIBA 3-16
  G. C. Stevens
The term 'user-friendly' is now widely used in connection with the design of computer systems. This paper argues that as at present defined, explicitly or through common usage, the concept is not helpful to system designers. A critical examination of a typical definition is used to show that whilst elements of the concept represent reasonable aims, each requires significant modification and/or extension. No redefinition of the term 'user-friendly' is offered, nor any alternative term proposed; it is argued that a broader set of criteria is needed to express the aspirations revealed by its widespread use. Prominence is given to changes in approaches to software interface design that might result from giving greater consideration to some factors in system use which at present receive comparatively little attention.
Secretarial Attitudes Towards Word Processors as a Function of Familiarity and Locus of Control BIBA 17-22
  Stephan Arndt; Joan Feltes; Joyce Hanak
The purpose of the present study was to investigate dimensions of secretarial anxiety, eagerness, and curiosity with respect to word processing equipment. Such variables as familiarity, formal training, physical proximity to the equipment, degree of influence in the decision to acquire a word processor, and frequency of use were seen as potential predictors of such attitudes. Additionally, two trait-like dimensions were measured, locus of control and complexity. Questionnaires were sent to 408 secretaries employed at a mid-western university. The response rate was 59 per cent (n=241). People who had not used word processing equipment were more anxious than those individual who had. Moreover, frequency of use for people with experience was related to greater change in anxiety levels. While familiarity reduced anxiety, it also tended to reduce curiosity. Frequency of word processor use was related to several variables. For instance, frequency of use was related to how positively the person evaluated the processor as affecting their work capabilities. Heavy users felt that the manuals were less helpful. Internally controlled individuals were more eager, curious and less anxious, while cognitively complex individuals were more curious about word processors. The applied implications of the findings are discussed.
Friendly Interfacing to Simple Speech Recognizers BIBA 23-38
  T. R. G. Green; S. J. Payne; D. L. Morrison; A. Shaw
We describe improvements to the recognition performance of a simple commercial speech recognizer. Topics include the selection of acoustically distinct words; a method of 'training' (storing utterances for later use as templates) which mimics the real task, and therefore reduces the difference in diction between training and task; the representation of variability in diction by storing repeated examples of each utterance separately, instead of using a simple statistical average; and the construction of an adaptive algorithm which updates its templates at appropriate moments. The results of empirical investigations with the adaptive algorithm show a very considerable improvement in performance. We argue that the development of speech recognizers has given the hardware undue attention, and that a rigorous attack on adaptive recognition, treated as a problem in control theory, would lead to a sophisticated interface to complement sophisticated hardware. The system we describe has been successfully used in an experimental voice-operated text-editing system (Morrison and Green 1982).
Introducing the Interactive Computer at Work: The Users' Views BIBA 39-106
  J. Long; N. Hammond; P. Barnard; J. Morton; I. Clark
This study had two aims: (i) to document the problem of interface usability in terms of the users' views and (ii) to characterize the context within which usability operates by identifying the general set of variables underlying the attitudes of both users and non-users to the introduction of an interactive computer system into their place of work. The particular system studied included an interactive planning package designed for professionals with no programming skills. An in-depth discussion technique was used to collect the views of 16 professional employees working for a large local authority. A total of 440 'statements' were classified in a hierarchy (main headings: pre-planning introduction; effects of the system; use of the system; assessment of the system; general attitudes). Twenty-seven variables (e.g. decisionmaking involvement; skill change; specialist language) and nine contexts over which they operated (e.g. computer applications; departmental relations) were generated from the statements. The study indicated a general problem of usability at the level of the interface, individual relations and group relations. Cognitive and linguistic difficulties in using the system appeared to depend on the command language, the type of user and the class of application. Selective issues are discussed including non-use of the interactive system; the role of the link man; the spread of computer knowledge and skills; and the extent of user insight. Further discussion centres on differing levels of impact, uses of data and an evaluation of the study's methodology.

Technical Note

The QMC Message System BIB 107-109
  George F. Coulouris

BIT 1983 Volume 2 Issue 2

Editorial BIB 111-112
  Tom Stewart
Human Factoring a Text Editor Manual BIBA 113-125
  Marc A. Sullivan; Alphonse Chapanis
This article describes how we rewrote a manual for a text editor following human-factors guidelines and revised it according to the results of developmental testing. The new manual was then evaluated with secretaries who were given either the original or the rewritten manual and asked to do the two editing tasks. We measured the quality of the finished text; the number of different commands used; the amount and type of assistance requested; and attitudes towards the manuals, program and tasks. There were significant differences between the two groups of users on the performance measures and on attitudes towards the manuals in favour of the new manual. We propose a model of user-documentation interaction and suggest a methodology for preparing computer documentation.
Guidelines for 'Manipulative' Text Editing BIBA 127-161
  Harold Thimbleby
The term 'manipulative' text editing is introduced to describe the low level aspect of text input/editing user interfaces, where editing commands are almost entirely manipulative rather than symbolic, primarily for editing at a word and character level. Manipulative editing covers the use of function keys such as 'rubout', cursor motion and various methods for inserting text.
   A variety of methods commonly used for manipulative editing are critically reviewed in order to gather together a number of relevant guidelines. This paper proposes the basis for an effective standard which encourages the ready acquisition of skill.
A Comparison of Command, Menu-Selection and Natural-Language Computer Programs BIBA 163-178
  Alexander G. Hauptmann; Bert F. Green
An experiment compared three man-machine language interfaces to the same interactive computer program: command language, menu selection and natural language. No significant differences were found between language modes for time, error and attitudes measures. Significant task differences were found for word and line counts as well as for several two-way interactions. The results suggest that the interface to the program (natural language, menu selection or commands) may not be as important as the structure and constraints of the underlying program.
Communication Control and Leadership in Telecommunications by Small Groups BIBA 179-196
  Peter D. Pagerey; Alphonse Chapanis
Sixteen teams of four persons each solved four realistic problems, one on each of 4 days, by communicating over a closed-circuit television system with an audio capacity. Teams were assigned to conditions which either did or did not have centrally controlled switching so that only one person could talk at a time, and which either did or did not have one subject appointed to help perform some of the experimenter's tasks. Teams were paid bonuses depending on how well they solved each problem. Dependent measures include time to solution, the quality of solution, measures of verbal communication and questionnaire responses.
   Teams in the switch condition took longer to solved problems and used fewer but longer messages than did subjects in the non-switched condition. There were no striking differences between the quality of the solutions achieved in the two conditions. Designating a helper for the experiment produced fewer significant results than anticipated. It appears that mechanical variables such as those manipulated here are less important than other variables, perhaps personality, in the emergence of leadership.
Attitudes Towards Specific Uses of the Computer: Quantitative, Decisionmaking and Record-Keeping Applications BIBA 197-209
  Kenneth W. Kerber
A survey of 203 undergraduates indicated that there are three clusters of computer applications about which respondents hold similar attitudes: quantitative applications (e.g. processing bills), decisionmaking applications (e.g. diagnosing medical problems) and record-keeping applications (e.g. storing information about criminals). Respondents were favourable towards quantitative and record-keeping applications but rejected decisionmaking applications, especially those involving decisions traditionally made by psychologists. Experience with computers and perceptions of the computer as efficient, humanizing and enjoyable were correlated significantly with attitudes towards specific applications. Locus of control and interpersonal trust were not related to attitudes. Interpretations of potentially dehumanizing effects of computers were discussed, along with implications of attitudes towards specific applications for decisions about how computers ought to be used.

Book Review

"Dichotomies of the Mind: A Systems Science View of the Mind and Personality," by Walter Lowen, with the assistance of Lawrence Miike BIB 211-212
  John Benjafield

BIT 1983 Volume 2 Issue 3

Editorial BIB 213
  Tom Stewart
Typing Our Way to Freedom: Is it True that New Office Technology Can Liberate Women? BIB 215-226
  Janine Morgall
Proof-Reading Texts on Screen and Paper BIBA 227-235
  P. Wright; A. Lickorish
This study examined the speed and accuracy of proof-reading a text presented on a CRT, relative to performance with print on paper. Two groups of 16 people each proof-read four published texts, roughly 1500 words per text. For all readers, half the texts were presented as print on paper and half were presented on a 12 in. CRT screen. The two groups differed in whether the errors found in the screened text were recorded on the screen or on paper. The results suggested that the method of recording errors on the screen was quickly learned, but that both speed and accuracy were impaired when the text was presented on the screen. The implications of this for refereeing electronic journals is discussed.
The Effect of System Response Delay and Delay Variability on Inexperienced Videotex Users BIBA 237-251
  Robert P. Murray; David S. Abrahamson
To test the effects of system response delay and delay variability on users of videotex it was decided to experiment in a context close to that of the service under consideration. Accordingly 165 subjects were drawn from the general public to try videotex in a series of four experiments. An emphasis on performance-related outcome measures was deemed inappropriate. Accordingly, a strategy using stepwise multiple regression followed by factor analysis selected 11 important variables from an original 38. Then these were clustered into four linear combinations or scales labelled session length, passivity, speed of response and difficulty. All four experiments failed to find any significant effects due to mean response delay. Two of the three experiments that tested ranges of randomized delay with rectangular distributions found significant disruptive effects on users. These results replicate earlier studies, and extend their generality to the context of naive users of videotex. The results also support the concept of using response-style scales rather than performance measures in non-work settings, and they contribute to the construct validity of the scales.
Designing for the Day After Tomorrow: I. The Interaction Between Communications Systems Design and Social Change BIBA 253-261
  K. P. Szlichcinski
Social and behavioural changes usually follow the introduction of new communications services or systems. These changes may in turn affect the way the system is used and therefore have implications for system design. The social and behavioural changes promoted by the introduction of the electric telegraph, the telephone, tele-conferencing, electronic mail and communicating office systems are reviewed and their impacts on system design discussed. Users' interactions with the telegraph and telephone are relatively simple and the social changes they brought about occurred over long timescales, so that their impact on system design is difficult to isolate. Computer conferencing and office automation systems require more complex interactions between the user and the system, and, in the case of office systems, play an intimate role in the users' work. Substantial changes in behaviour occur quite rapidly, and need to be taken into account in system design.
Review and Reappraisal of Human Aspects in Planning Robotic Systems BIBA 263-287
  Gavriel Salvendy
The social issues of worker displacement and worker retraining due to introduction of robotics are discussed and the impact of industrial robots on organization design and job design are reviewed and safety issues mentioned. The impact of human industrial work performance on designing robotics systems is reviewed with special reference to the range of human performance abilities; human information-processing, memory and decision making capabilities; paced-work; supervisory control of robotics systems; and, social and management impacts of robot diffusion.


The Dangers of Fifth-Generation Ballyhoo BIB 289-295
  Malcolm Peltu

BIT 1983 Volume 2 Issue 4

Editorial BIB 297
  Tom Stewart


Human Factors in Teleinformatics BIB 299-300
  Ken Eason
International Studies of Human Factors in Teleinformatics BIBA 301-311
  Willy Jensen; Ken Eason
This paper presents the history and context of the COST II bis work on human factors in teleinformatics. It describes the technical developments to be expected in networked systems which will change the capabilities that will be available to users and discusses the range of human-factors issues which will arise if users are to be able to master complex systems. The paper concludes by reporting the early debates of the working group and the classification of issues which identified the problems requiring human-factors attention.
On the Implications of User Variability in Open Systems: An Overview of the Little We Know and of the Lot We Have to Find Out BIBA 313-326
  Bert Van Muylwijk; Gerrit Van Der Veer; Yvonne Wærn
As the use of computers increases, the cost of educating computer users rises. Therefore the need for extensive education of users should be avoided as much as possible. Instead computer systems should be adapted to the requirements and characteristics of computer users. Hereby the need to identify user characteristics arises. The less computer educated the users, the more their requirements of the systems will differ. Where user characteristics are difficult to change, it will be worthwhile to attend to user differences in the design of systems. The implications of user differences may vary depending upon the type of task to be performed. The present paper presents an analysis of different user characteristics and their possible interactions with different task requirements. Hereby some recommendations regarding the need to educate users or adapt systems to the user were derived.
Data Communication -- Some Interorganizational Aspects BIBA 327-333
  Jostein Fjalestad
The need for integrating human factors into the design of data-communication systems is discussed. This should be extended to comprise also inter- and intraorganizational aspects. Various patterns of communication and communication strategies are discussed. Electronic funds transfer is presented as an example of some interorganizational problems to be encountered when designing data-communication systems.
Human Factors in and Requirements of the OSI Environment BIBA 335-344
  Timothy Wheeler; Peter Innocent
This paper examines the ISO open systems interconnection model as promulgated, from the standpoint of human factors research rather than from the traditional telecommunications perspective. It argues that the model needs refining in its top layer and that this layer should be considered as a general 'function' layer oriented towards users rather than just an applications layer. The vertical relationship between layers and the horizontal relationships within a layer are discussed with regard to the implications that a small change in user behaviour has for the technical specifications of the system and vice versa. Particular stress is placed on the need for a core 'native' language which would operate at any level to support human factors requirements. The surface features of the system that need to be optimized for the user are defined in the context of existing human factors research. The paper concludes by specifying the human factors requirements for OSI.
Human-Factors Standards: The Design of Conceptual Language Interfaces to Open Computer Network Application and Management Systems BIBA 345-356
  Gisle Hannemyr
The justification for standardization of human-computer and control interfaces is discussed. Various approaches are explored. Special emphasis is placed on the functionality of user interfaces in network environments of interconnected, heterogeneous, open computer systems. Finally, a linguistic and functional model of the user interface is proposed as a basis for further research.
Methodological Issues in the Study of Human Factors in Teleinformatic Systems BIBA 357-364
  Ken Eason
The rapid technological developments in teleinformatics and their many implications for their users means that a human-factors contribution to both research and application is very pressing. This paper reviews the methodological problems confronting human-factors specialists in making this contribution. It examines methodological issues in research and design at the levels of (i) the man-computer interface and (ii) the organizational implications. The paper ends by presenting an idealized, integrated strategy which emphasizes action research to give priority to multidisciplinary teams of information technologists and human and social scientists working together to construct and evaluate teleinformatic systems.

Book Review

"Language as a Cognitive Process. Volume 1: Syntax," by Terry Winograd BIB 365-366
  Stephen Payne