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BIT Tables of Contents: 01020304050607080910111213141516

Behaviour and Information Technology 6

Editors:Tom Stewart
Publisher:Taylor & Francis, Ltd.
Standard No:ISSN 0144-929X
Links:Table of Contents
  1. BIT 1987 Volume 6 Issue 1
  2. BIT 1987 Volume 6 Issue 2
  3. BIT 1987 Volume 6 Issue 3
  4. BIT 1987 Volume 6 Issue 4

BIT 1987 Volume 6 Issue 1

Editorial BIB 1-2
  Tom Stewart
Proof-Reading on VDUs BIBA 3-13
  Anthony Creed; Ian Dennis; Stephen Newstead
Two experiments are reported which compared proof-reading performance cross three different modes of presentation. The results of Experiment 1 indicated that proof-reading accuracy was significantly worse on a VDU than on paper, with a photograph of the VDU display producing intermediate performance. It was also demonstrated that substitutions of visually similar errors were harder to detect than other error types. The results of Experiment 2 replicated these findings, but failed to find any difference between twin-column and single-column presentation. The findings are interpreted as indicating that character font may be a major factor in the poor performance with the VDU. It is suggested that the present experimental paradigm could be a useful assessment tool for the evaluation of display design.
On the Limits of Expert Systems and Engineering Models in Process Control BIBA 15-36
  Bernhard Zimolong; Shimon Y. Nof; Ray E. Eberts; Gavriel Salvendy
The review is based on an analysis of current literature of expert systems and of system engineering models in dynamic process control. It starts with an analysis of the mental operations and cognitive requirements needed for supervisory control. Mental models are discussed as a function of situational requirements as well as of personal strategies. System engineering models and expert systems are briefly described and their function as decision support tools evaluated. Criteria are the overall functionality, similarity of knowledge bases and reasoning strategies of the human and the support system, adaptability to the operator's skill level and self-explanation of the support system in the interaction mode. As a result, system engineering models are only of limited value for knowledge-based process control. Expert systems seem to be very valuable tools for augmenting human decision making in process control, if the interaction problem can be solved.

Short Paper

An Expert System within a Supportive Interface for UNIX BIB 37-41
  Jennifer Jerrams-Smith
Performance and Preference in Videotex Menu Retrieval: A Review of the Empirical Literature BIBA 43-68
  James N. MacGregor; Eric S. Lee
This article reviews the literature on behavioural factors in menu retrieval from computerized databases. The belief that menus are easy to learn and easy to use is questioned; in laboratory-based experiments error rates were uniformly high, success rates less than perfect, searches inefficient, and search times long. General problems with the menu method and possible cognitive factors contributing to these problems are discussed. This analysis suggests several approaches for improving menu retrieval performance: optimal index structuring, reclassification and relabelling of problem menus, the addition of descriptors on top index levels, and practice. Each was found to be effective to some degree in improving performance. A major weakness of menu systems was found to be their unsuitability for experienced users. The addition of menu keywords to a menu system overcomes this problem: menu keywords permit users, as they gain in experience, to access directly deeper and deeper levels in the menu index, substantially improving both preference and performance. The addition of user-defined keywords appears promising as another method for improving performance, particularly for experienced users. The paper concludes with a discussion of recommendations for practitioners as well as for researchers.
Individual Differences and Ergonomic Factors in Performance on a Videotex-Type Task BIBA 69-88
  Perry R. Morrion; Grant Noble
This study manipulated ergonomic aspects of a videotex-type task and attempted to relate paper and pencil measures of field dependence-independence, intelligence, capacity to complete a computer science curriculum and attitudes toward computers, to the performance of novice users. Results indicated that fault-tolerant aspects of the software and the use of self-defined commands resulted in superior performance. In addition, field independence and higher intelligence were associated with better performance. No substantial relationship was found between ability to complete a computer science curriculum and performance on the task. Those subjects who expressed an 'awesome' view of the nature of computers appeared to perform less well and it was suggested that this may be related to this lack of experience, although it was not possible to statistically verify this interpretation.
A Menu Selection Algorithm BIBA 89-94
  Harold Thimbleby
A simple algorithm for menu selection, which enhances existing methods for small menus (e.g., fewer than 20 entries) is discussed. Algorithms are presented in Pascal.

BIT 1987 Volume 6 Issue 2

Editorial BIB 95-96
  Tom Stewart
An Evaluation of Jump-Ahead Techniques in Menu Selection BIBA 97-108
  Alan Laverson; Kent Norman; Ben Shneiderman
Menu selection systems provide a means of selecting operations and retrieving information which requires little training and reduces the need for memorizing complex command sequences. However, a major disadvantage of many menu selection systems is that experienced users cannot traverse the menu tree significantly faster than novices. A common solution to this problem is to provide the menu selection system with a jump-ahead capability.
   The purpose of this research was to evaluate two jump-ahead methods (type-ahead and direct-access). In the type-ahead method the user anticipates a selection on each of several successive menus and enters as many selections at one time as desired. In the direct-access method, each menu frame is assigned a unique name which the user must enter to locate it.
   Thirty-two students were given training on an information retrieval system for college course information and were required to learn the two jump-ahead methods in a counterbalanced design. The direct-access method resulted in fewer traversals to learn the system, lower error rates, and reduced learning time. The subjective impressions, obtained from post-experiment questionnaires and oral comments, indicated that the direct-access jump-ahead method was also preferred in a frequently used menu selection system.
Information Technology and Job Design: A Case Study on Computerized Numerically Controlled Machine Tool Working BIBA 109-124
  Nigel J. Kemp; Chris W. Clegg
A detailed case study is presented of the use of CNC machine tools in an engineering factory. This examines what choices were made regarding the management and operation of CNC machines, and why, and the impact of these choices on the firm and its employees. Contrary to a deskilling hypothesis, the findings showed that CNC machinists exercised high levels of operational control, were very skilled, satisfied with the content of their jobs, but critical of work coordinating mechanisms. These job designs are linked to internal and external contingencies. The paper concludes with predictions concerning job designs associated with the move to complex information technology systems.
Proof-Reading: VDU and Paper Text Compared for Speed, Accuracy and Fatigue BIBA 125-133
  R. T. Wilkinson; Helen M. Robinshaw
Proof-reading on either a cathode ray tube visual display unit (VDU) of average quality or on conventional paper typescript was carried out for four 50-min sessions, two in each condition. The method of signaling errors in the script was identical in each case: verbally and by line reference. VDU scripts were presented in a standard Wordstar format; paper text was a normal print-out of that script. With the VDU as compared to paper, more proof-reading errors were missed, fewer pages were read, and there was a greater accumulation of fatigue during the reading session as indexed by an increase in the number of errors missed. It is suggested that (i) material be printed for proof-reading, and (ii) the present technique be used for comparison of different VDUs for speed and accuracy of reading and resistance to fatigue.
Metaform: Updatable Form Screens and their Application to the Use of Office Metaphors in Query Language Instruction BIBA 135-157
  David Volk Beard; Marilyn M. Mantei; Toby J. Teorey
A database interface language and system, called Metaform, which automatically generates multi-relational form screen interfaces for use by non-computer professionals has been developed. A form screen is a subset of the relational database, with a particular relation or combination of relations being represented. Through form screens, users can simultaneously query and update several relations in the database without having to know about its underlying structure. An overview of the Metaform system is presented and several examples of the use of the Metaform query language and update operators are described.
   A series of 'usability' studies were conducted on a prototype of the Metaform system to examine the claims that the form concept aids computer-naive users in building complex database queries. These studies adopted the form screen concept to present six office paper work analogies to users to help them to understand the database retrieval concepts. The analogies of a file cabinet, a file folder, a stack of forms, a single form, a table of information on a form and a field of information were used in a two-staged training module.
   At the end of each training sequence, users answered questions with the prototype and with paper and pencil which tapped their understanding of the database retrievals they were learning to perform. The results from these questionnaires were mixed. Users performed successful relational queries for simple retrievals and for those using existential quantifiers. They had difficulty with queries involving multiple steps and intermediate stages. Although users understood and used the analogies, they ran into difficulties with the ambiguities in the English statements of the queries, thus suggesting a need for another level of metaphors and/or problem representation tools not associated with the machine but with the user's comprehension of database retrieval problems.
Characterizing User Performance in Command-Driven Dialogue BIBA 159-205
  N. V. Hammond; P. J. Barnard; J. Morton; J. B. Long; I. A. Clark
To learn to use an interactive system, a person typically has to acquire a good deal of new knowledge. The ease of learning will depend on the extent to which the design of the task and the interface capitalizes on the user's pre-existing knowledge and his or her cognitive capabilities for learning. This paper explores the nature of both design decisions and user learning with a command-based system. Three studies were conducted, all involving a task in which secret messages were decoded by means of a sequence of commands (based on the task used by Barnard et al. 1981). In Study I, software specialists designed command structures for the task and gave reasons for their choices. In Study II, naive subjects chose between alternative command terms. In Study III, subjects learned to use interactive versions of the task in which dialogue factors (command terms and argument structures) were systematically varied. The results enabled the development of user knowledge of the system to be specified in detail. Comparisons across the three studies highlighted the diversity of the factors determining both design decisions and user behaviour.

Book Review

"Computer Ethics," by Deborah G. Johnson BIB 207-208
  David J. Pullinger

BIT 1987 Volume 6 Issue 3


Editorial: ERGODESIGN'86 -- The Evolution of the Electronic Workplace BIB 213-214
  Tom Stewart
Conflict between Computers and Furniture BIB 215-218
  Karl Dittert
Ergo Design as a Corporate Strategy BIB 219-227
  R. Blaich
Methods of Planning the Electronic Workplace BIBA 229-238
  K. D. Eason
Traditional data processing methods of implementing systems have led to many human problems and have often not been successful. This paper reviews a number of alternative design methods, both centralized methods such as structured design methods, and decentralized or end user-developed systems. It concludes that, whilst the new methods are all more user-centred in concept, they may still fail because the methods necessary to deal with user issues are not widely available. The paper ends by reviewing the required methods which include task analysis, prototype evaluation, interface design and continued user support. Some examples of the required methods are provided.
Design as a Mirror of Culture BIB 239-242
  Gillo Dorfles
Mental and Physical Strain at VDT Workstations BIBA 243-255
  Michael J. Smith
There are millions of workers worldwide who use video display terminals (VDTs) on a daily basis. Over the past decade VDT users have reported a variety of health complaints that have been associated with VDTs including visual and musculoskeletal discomfort and psychological distress. In addition VDT users have expressed fears about radiation from VDTs and more recently concerns about adverse reproductive effects. This paper explores the potential health effects of working at a VDT based on an evaluation of current research literature and indicates where more research is underway or needed to better define health risks. Some conclusions about the seriousness of potential health effects are presented.
Biomechanical Aspects of Sitting: An Application to VDT Terminals BIBA 257-269
  Gunnar B. J. Andersson
In order to avoid musculoskeletal problems when working at a VDT terminal, biomechanical aspects of sitting and of working in a sedentary position need to be considered. This paper reviews relevant biomechanical knowledge and relates it to field studies of VDT users and their preferred workstation settings. It is concluded that even though good agreement exists between subject comfort rating and preferred postures on the one hand and biomechanical data on the other, an ergonomic work organization is necessary to achieve the best possible work conditions.
Software Ergonomics of Interface Design BIBA 271-278
  Jean-Claude Sperandio
This paper provides an overview of software ergonomics in human-computer interface design, with a particular emphasis on the pre-requisites concerning user and task analysis. It is stressed that a consistent ergonomical analysis has to be carried out following a top-down approach, and not as a checklist of ingredients in cookery book recipes. Several criteria and critical issues are discussed regarding the design process itself, the dialogue and alternative input/output devices. Dialogues using synthesized voice and human voice recognition are discussed. The ergonomics of programming is briefly mentioned.
Office Productivity: Contributions of the Workstation BIBA 279-284
  David L. Dressel; Joellen Francis
To determine if there was an economic justification for purchasing new, task-oriented and ergonomically-suitable workstations for an office in which automation was being introduced, a study was designed which examined the effect of a more comfortable and functional office setting on employee satisfaction and productivity. This study was conducted at a United States Government installation. Through task analysis questionnaires and interviews, workstation and layout requirements were defined for an organization of procurement agents and support staff. These personnel were to receive computers at their workstations -- one terminal for every two people. Designs for typical workstations were created as well as a layout for two typical workgroups of 17 employees. The workstations and layout were implemented using two different types of furniture: one work group received Systems Furniture, while the other received additional pieces of their existing Conventional Furniture (Improved-Conventional). Four work groups within the same division served as the Control (received no environmental manipulation). Archival performance data consisting of workhours and the number of line items produced was formulated into a productivity ratio. Productivity of each group, as well as satisfaction ratings, were gathered before and after the application of the improved workstations. The results of the study supported the hypothesis that improvements to the workstations would significantly, and positively, impact both productivity and satisfaction. The Systems Furniture group demonstrated a significant increase in both productivity (20.6%) and satisfaction after moving into the new workstations, while the Improved-Conventional group showed a non-significant increase (4%) in productivity but a significant increase in workstation satisfaction. The control group did not significantly change on either measure. It can be concluded from this and other studies that satisfying office requirements can improve both productivity and employee satisfaction. This result can be translated into economic terms. The cost of providing the Systems workstations was amortized, due to space saving and increases in productivity, in only 10.8 months.
Toshiba House Reorganization: The Pragmatic Use of Space in an Existing Industrial Building BIB 285-289
  David A. Hutchison
The Effects of CIM on Work Structures BIBA 291-298
  Heinz Stupp
The present communication structures of many organizations are governed by extensive manual information transfer, long processing times and receptive recording of data. The introduction of computer-integrated manufacturing (CIM) has the aim of integrating administrative data in manufacturing data, that is to say, the operational EDP-systems of all company sections will be -- as far as possible -- cross-linked. Existing data can be used by all departments of the company for administrative operations, due the cross-linkage of data transfer. In this way, recording and processing errors will be avoided or minimized. Transition from information processing to professional (expert) systems requires new and more efficient forms of an employee-oriented work organization.
The Product Development Process: The Wenger 1/1 Office Printer BIBA 299-301
  Ansgar Brossardt
A product that is adapted individually to a specific market segment, that is innovative, and that is constructed aesthetically, will be successful. In this process there is a triangular relationship between designer, client, company and market, where functional communication has to be ensured. Globally the market has segmented into age groups, so that aesthetic attitudes are independent of nationality. Design should distinguish a product from the mass by accentuating its individual characteristics and so enable the consumer to identify with it. Today's design determines tomorrow's quality of life. This article describes the process of product development as exampled by the Wenger 1/1 Office Printer.
   The design development procedure is divided into three phases: (a) planning phase; (b) project phase; (c) realization phase. The printer market is described, and the most important product requirements defined. The design concept was that a product should be developed that combined the advantages of impact- and non-impact printing techniques with a new, market-influencing design. There were two options with regard to the Wenger 1/1; (a) mechanical and electronic parts combined in one housing; (b) mechanical and electronic parts in separate housings. In order to ensure optimal noise silencing, option (b) was chosen. The favored option was realized in a foam-rubber model, and details worked out. A 'function-model' was manufactured and tested to ensure performance and market-adjustment of the new product. The designer and the client then liaised to supervise the product through to serial manufacture.
Ergonomic Keyboard Design BIBA 303-309
  Rolf Ilg
The design of keyboards is still characterized by that of mechanical typewriters. This paper presents a summary of a research project dealing with the ergonomic improvement of keyboards, carried out at the IAO in Stuttgart during the past five years. Extensive laboratory evaluation of experimental keyboards, where different design parameters were tested under real life conditions, have produced a relative optimum regarding ergonomic keyboard design. An accompanying investigation of user acceptance evaluated all realized parameters. In co-operation with a keyboard manufacturer, the results were used to design a marketable product, which may be seen as an important contribution to ergonomic keyboard design.
Ergonomically Determined Pointing Device (Mouse) Design BIBA 311-314
  Charles N. Abernethy; Diane G. Hodes
Observations, comments and results of short studies indicate that daily production use of a mouse can lead to complaints of cramped hands from gripping the case tightly, and stiff finger movements from operating the button(s), plus soreness of the heel of the hand and wrist from rubbing on the work surface. A series of short studies was conducted to develop and prove out design criteria for a new mouse case design. Based on these results and a cost/performance analysis based on marketing data, a decision was made to produce this mouse design. These studies are briefly described along with the arguments used to make the decision, and a description of the ergonomic tools and features incorporated in this design are presented.
A Portable Input Unit for an Electronic Workstation BIBA 315-322
  M. Bareket; R. Holtzman; M. Olin; E. Rosin
This paper describes a collaboration between industrial designers and ergonomic specialists in developing a new input unit for two Scitex prepress systems. Scitex prepress systems are operated with five input devices, most of which are fixed in the workstation, forcing the operator into a rigid sitting posture. A new portable input unit housing three of the input devices was designed in an effort to improve the ergonomic features of the system. The development entailed four states, each of which included the construction of a working model, followed by experimentation and evaluation. Each stage reinforced the positive features of the previous model while correcting its faults. This process resulted in developing a comfortable, convenient-to-use, efficient and attractive input unit.
Control of Data Processing Systems by Voice Commands BIBA 323-326
  F. F. Leopold; F. L. van Nes
A spoken dialogue between a user and a computer system has to be governed by the system because of: (i) the limited capabilities of present word-recognition apparatus; and (ii) the limited possibilities of the system for 'understanding' its user. The user's part of the dialogue therefore needs to be unobtrusively controlled by the system by carefully phrased and timed prompts. Short pauses in these prompts enable the experienced user to make shortcuts through the dialogue, without forsaking complete explanations for the inexperienced user. The user is also able to control the system by utilizing other pauses in the system utterances for corrective words or protests in case of incorrect recognition.
The Analysis of Stress and Strain at the Videotex Workplace BIBA 327-335
  Kurt Landau; Fridrun Jaercke
Analyses of work demands, stress and strain were carried out at videotex workplaces in the laboratory and in private households. The demand analysis showed that a high degree of information resolution and accuracy during information reception leads to high strain and eye fatigue. This effect is increased by a heavy flicker of the CRT screen, an inadequate choice of colour contrast, an inadequately low CRT resolution, and an inadequately small distance between the worker and the screen. High demands in the field of information processing are caused by the degree of difficulty in extracting relevant information from the videotex system using the search trees. In addition, the application of a checklist for CRT workplaces indicates more than 30 design faults. The analysis of the subjective perception of strain showed a significant decrease of the motivation levels following videotex sessions, and a significant increase of the strain level. The only individual factor to increase during videotex sessions was self-confidence. A comparison with findings of Udris and Barth (1976) showed that even videotex sessions which are much shorter than an eight-hour working day result in strain reactions similar to those occurring for eight hours of card-punching.
Inadequate Instruction in the Electronic Workplaces as a Cause of Mental Strain BIBA 337-341
  Ambrose Boner
Mental strain is still a much debated health problem for people working in the electronic workplace. Ergonomics and design help make offices user-friendly, and physical strain can be prevented. A common reason for mental strain is the lack of adequate instruction in the new technologies for employees. An investigation based upon patient information shows the method of instruction used, and recommendations are made as to which ones should be used. The investigation also shows that environmental factors have to be taken into consideration and that often side-effects have to be dealt with.
On the Design of Human-Computer Interaction for Administrative Offices BIBA 343-346
  Helmut von Benda
After pilot research in public sector administration offices of the FRG state Baden-Wurttemberg, the registration and update of personnel data was simulated in an experimental terminal station. The dialogue style was varied: (a) Transaction-oriented: In this mode the data of a complete mask are sent widespread to a host and checked there for input errors. The feedback is then sent back to the terminal. (b) Field-oriented: In this mode the data of every field or character is checked and feedback is sent back immediately. 25 administration officials participated in the trial sessions. They solved real tasks (full case, update) with the different program versions. The experimental data consisted of behaviour registration and interviews about learning, working style and system features. From the results certain design principles were formulated.
The Influence of Furniture Height on Backpain BIBA 347-352
  A. C. Mandal
Modern office furniture is constructed in such a way that nobody is able to use it correctly. Each day people sit for many hours hunched over their tables in positions harmful to the back. The main reason for this seems to be the low, backward sloping seats, which represent an effective hindrance to all types of work over the table. This naturally leads to pronounced flexion and strain of the back and neck. A higher, forward sloping seat will tend to reduce the flexion and strain of the back and bring the person into a more upright balanced position with a greater open angle between the body and the thighs. This resembles the position taken when sitting on horseback. In an experiment with data-entry personnel suffering from chronic back-pain furniture was adjusted to a height which the subjects found most comfortable. On an average they preferred to sit at a table 6.6 cm higher than recommended by European Standardization (CEN). This higher position can only be used when sitting on a forward sloping seat. The pain indication (Huskisson 1974) was for the Standard furniture 67 mm compared to 35 mm on the higher furniture. The flexion of the back was reduced from 75° to 64°. The evaluation was made after a two month trial period.
A User-Designed Terminal Table System BIBA 353-361
  Rindert Vellinga
With the introduction into the Dutch telecommunications service (PTT) of a large number of visual display units and printers as a consequence of the automation of a variety of applications, it became apparent that it was not possible to compose desired workstation lay-outs with the furniture currently in use, which, dated from the fifties; the need was apparent for a new, more up-to-date furniture. Several anthropometric and field studies with regard to the necessary adjustments and table-top shapes were performed. The results indicated that the adjustments could be restricted to one: the height of the table. The users considered shape and flexibility of the table-top very important: it should be possible to create an optimal configuration for each combination of VDU- and pen-and-paperwork. Market-research indicated that state-of-the-art furniture did not meet PTT requirements. It was therefore decided to design the table system in-house. However, because of logistical problems it was decided to call in one of the major Dutch furniture manufacturers for assistance, Gispen. The (almost complete) system is at present commercially available as the Gispen ET ('Ergonomic Table') System.
Evolution and Process of the Design of the Sensor Chair BIBA 363-368
  Paul T. Cornell; Terry West
The Steelcase Sensor chair was introduced in the spring of 1986. It is designed to meet the special needs of modern office workers and their technology by supporting and encouraging movements of the operator while seated. The marketing and research trends that influenced the product philosophy are discussed. The fifteen product criteria achieved in Sensor are described, as are the pertinent ergonomic principles embodied in its design.
Ergonomic Field Analysis of the Software Design Workstation BIBA 369-379
  Ivana Coniglio; Anna Maria Paci
This research has been carried out in order to verify in the field the exigencies yielded by a particular task and report indications for the ergonomic optimization of the relevant workstation. The task under examination was software design executed by 127 subjects in different environments. The steps in which this research was carried out were as follows: analysis of the task; analysis of subjects; analysis of the workstation and environment; and observations on 24 subjects representative of the population. The observations were in order to discover the level of posture variability and establish the physical parameters to be optimized. Results show that, for the activity examined, the heaviest restrictions imposed by the hardware refer to the eye-screen distance, head movement and curvature of the trunk. Therefore, the physical parameters to be optimized are height, width and depth of the table, and height and design of the chair.
Proxemics Field Research in Software Design Offices BIB 381-390
  Francesca Pregnolata Rotta-Loria; Chiara Bandini; Patrizia Borni; Carlotta Lovisetto; Rossella Ottonelli; Marina Zaninetti

BIT 1987 Volume 6 Issue 4

Editorial BIB 391-392
  Tom Stewart
The Answer is in the Question: A Protocol Study of Intelligent Help BIBA 393-402
  Amy Aaronson; John M. Carroll
Thirty advisory interactions between computer system 'help desk' consultants and their clients were transcribed and analysed as part of a project to determine the behavioural requirements for intelligent on-line help facilities. An interesting property of these interactions is that the advice was frequently modified in response to verification requests: questions (often syntactically implicit) which contain presuppositional statements that are partial answers to the asserted query. Designs for intelligent help facilities might exploit this finding by supporting the verification strategy and attempting to extract and use the presupposed statements in these questions to generate advice.
Synthetic Speech in Practice: Acceptance and Efficiency BIBA 403-410
  J. C. Roelofs
The aim of this study was to determine the degree of acceptance of synthetic speech in a practical application and to clarify some of the factors which are important for its acceptance. Synthetic speech was used in two simulated telephone services. The availability of interrupt facilities, the speaking rate and service type were varied. The performance (success in writing down the requested data) and some subjective reactions were recorded. Performance was worse with synthetic speech in comparison with normal speech. Neither the interrupt facilities nor the speaking rate had any influence on performance. The interrupt facilities were appreciated, although they were hardly used. Having the possibility of interrupting the synthetic speech caused the subjects to judge the system as more flexible and to rate the experienced tempo as slower. The answers on the questions about acceptance suggested a positive effect of the interrupt variable, but this was not significant. Suggestions concerning the use of synthetic speech are given.
Evidence for Global Feature Superiority in Menu Selection by Icons BIBA 411-426
  Udo Arend; Klaus-Peter Muthig; Jens Wandmacher
A search-and-select paradigm was adopted to investigate which visual characteristics of icons are relevant for menu selection. Two icon sets (abstract icons, representational icons) were compared to a word command set. For abstract icons, global features were used in order to maximize their visual distinctiveness. For representational icons local features were used in order to ensure a high degree of representativeness and a small 'articulatory distance'. Results revealed that abstract icons were searched and selected much faster than both word commands and representational icons. In addition, response time functions indicated that abstract icons can be searched in parallel (no effect of menu size) whereas word commands and representational icons have to be searched sequentially. Error rates were small in all conditions, and there was no indication of a speed-accuracy tradeoff. Thus, when icons are used in menu selection, visual distinctiveness (due to global features) seems to override representativeness (due to local features).
Eliciting Knowledge for Software Development BIBA 427-440
  Richard J. Koubek; Gavriel Salvendy; Ray E. Eberts; Hubert Dunsmore
A current bottleneck in the automation of cognitive tasks, such as software development, is the lack of available, standardized, reliable and valid methods for extracting knowledge from experts. This paper discusses the development of Computer Aided Protocol (CAP) to automatically collect the general and specific cognitive task components of subjects performing a programming task. The effectiveness of CAP is evaluated in a statistically balanced experimental design (n=30) by comparing it to traditional protocol analysis and a control group. Results indicate that while neither treatment significantly altered the solution process, CAP was able to collect the lower level commands while protocol analysis collected only 56% of these lower level commands. However, protocol analysis was able to obtain significantly more high level goals than CAP. This work suggests that the integration of both protocol and CAP for knowledge extraction would provide more effective information for the development of expert systems than is feasible with either system alone.
A Psychological Study of Advance Manufacturing Technology: The Concept of Coupling BIBA 441-453
  J. M. Corbett
The role played by technology as a discrete independent variable in shaping the design of work is explored. The concept of coupling is developed and an empirical study of work with advanced manufacturing technology (AMT), using measurement scales derived from this concept, is outlined. Results indicate that operators of tightly coupled AMT perceive stronger supervisory influence on their working methods and show signs of lower intrinsic job satisfaction and poorer mental health than operators of more loosely coupled AMT. Implications for job redesign are discussed.
Introducing a Sales Order Processing System: The Importance of Human, Organizational and Ergonomic Factors BIBA 455-465
  Christopher J. Rowe
This paper is a follow-up to an earlier study (Rowe 1985) and considers the addition of a computerized sales order processing system at Barrington's food factory. The earlier stock control system had not been without its problems, and the lessons learned from this experience enabled management to avoid repeating certain mistakes with regard to planning, office provision and training. However, once in operation, the new system also experienced a number of shortcomings, principally because management still overlooked important human, organizational and ergonomic factors. As the previous article pointed out, these factors are often less visible to management, and it resulted in problems with regard to day-to-day operations, office reorganization, work roles and inter-departmental communication. The concluding section advocates the abandonment of 'technology-led system design' in favour of a more evolutionary approach.
The Politics of the Quality of Worklife in Automated Offices in the USA BIBA 467-482
  Benjamin C., III Amick
Rapid adoption of computer and communication equipment in the USA and the changing nature of the US labour force led United States Congress, Office of Technology Assessment to examine whether the current quality of worklife policies and regulations were adequate. The policies for regulating the quality of office worklife are part of a large socio-political regulatory framework dating back to the United States Constitution. Current policy debates about video display terminal health and safety must be considered in terms of this broad regulatory landscape. Central to the debate is the nature of the scientific evidence. Equally important is the ability of current labour law to support user participation in the implementation process. The discussion of office equipment and occupational standards in the USA addresses the paucity and applicability of the existing scientific evidence, and the question of who should develop standards.
Human Biases and Computer Decision-Making: A Discussion of Jacob et al. BIBA 483-487
  J. St B. T. Evans
Jacob et al. (1986) have discussed evidence of bias in the psychological literature on human judgement and decision-making and considered some of the implications for expert system design. The present paper comments upon (a) the problems of interpreting the psychological evidence and (b) the influence of prior knowledge and beliefs on human thought and judgement. The implications for decision-making by computers, with or without the assistance of human experts, are briefly discussed.