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Behaviour and Information Technology 8

Editors:Tom Stewart
Publisher:Taylor & Francis, Ltd.
Standard No:ISSN 0144-929X
Links:Table of Contents
  1. BIT 1989 Volume 8 Issue 1
  2. BIT 1989 Volume 8 Issue 2
  3. BIT 1989 Volume 8 Issue 3
  4. BIT 1989 Volume 8 Issue 4
  5. BIT 1989 Volume 8 Issue 5
  6. BIT 1989 Volume 8 Issue 6

BIT 1989 Volume 8 Issue 1

Editorial BIB 1-2
  Tom Stewart
Asynchronous Parallelism in Human Behaviour: A Cognitive Science Perspective on Human-Computer Interaction BIBA 3-12
  William H. Edmondson
The paper first presents a discussion of non-linearities in human sequential behaviour -- in terms of interleaving -- and then introduces the concepts which underlie non-linear phonology. The paper does not provide a full treatment of the theory of non-linear phonology, nor of its generalization to cover non-speech activities -- these can be found elsewhere in the literature. The significance of the formalism of non-linear phonology for researchers and designers in human-computer interaction is revealed through the discussion of several examples, ranging from general behaviour with a multi-tasking interface, via interleaved activities in the use of a note-taking aid, to programming itself.
Paralanguage and Human-Computer Interaction. Part 1: Identification of Recorded Vocal Segregates BIBA 13-21
  S. E. Avons; R. G. Leiser; D. J. Carr
Vocal segregates are short non-lexical utterances such as 'mm-hmm'. They are frequently observed in natural dialogue, which they help to regulate and maintain. Twenty-five naive subjects were asked to identify the meanings of isolated vocal segregates recorded by unfamiliar speakers. The segregates were recorded both with natural articulation, which enables the differentiation of vowel sounds, and with the speaker's mouth closed. Responses were made using a seven-alternative forced choice procedure. Mean identification accuracy was 69.4% significantly above chance level, and performance was higher for vocal segregates which contained vowel sounds. The possible role of vocal segregates in human-computer interaction is discussed.
Paralanguage and Human-Computer Interaction. Part 2: Comprehension of Synthesized Vocal Segregates BIBA 23-32
  R. G. Leiser; S. E. Avons; D. J. Carr
The comprehension of synthesized vocal segregates was studied using a paired-associate learning task. Twenty-one naive subjects attempted to learn associations between six vocal segregates and assigned meanings, where the segregates were synthesized using the simple sound facilities common to all PC-compatible machines. In the natural condition sounds were paired with the correct meanings, whereas in the random condition sounds were randomly assigned to incorrect meanings. Subjects in the natural condition showed a significant initial advantage over those in the random condition and significantly better overall performance across learning trials. The results show that uninformed subjects are predisposed to make the correct sound-meaning associations for segregates synthesized with inexpensive hardware, and that associations which are not initially identified are quickly learned. Potential applications are discussed.
Reading Dynamically Displayed Text BIBA 33-42
  T. Jin Kang; Paul Muter
Two experiments were carried out to find an optimal electronic text display method given limited display space. The display formats tested fell into two categories: Times Square, in which text is scrolled from right to left; and rapid, serial, visual presentation (RSVP), in which text is presented one or several words at a time to a fixed location in the display. Previous studies have indicated that Times Square format is not as efficient as page format display or, by extrapolation, as RSVP. These studies, unlike the present experiments, did not include a smooth-scrolling (pixel-by-pixel) condition. In Experiment 1, a comparison was made between multiple-word RSVP and three versions of Times Square format, differing only in the size of steps by which the display was scrolled. Except for the largest step-size, comprehension was as high in the Times Square conditions as in the RSVP condition. The subjects expressed a significant preference for smooth scrolling Times Square over any other condition. Experiment 2 showed that comprehension for smooth scrolling Times Square was at least as high as that for RSVP at presentation rates ranging from 100 to 300 words per minute. Times Square reading is discussed in terms of optokinetic nystagmus (OKN).
Graphical Displays in Information Systems: Some Data Properties Influencing the Effectiveness of Alternative Forms BIBA 43-56
  John A. Sparrow
A number of indications which bear upon the utility of graphical representations of data are presented. The indications are based upon the apparent cognitive demands of particular forms of information abstraction. A study is reported where hypotheses concerning the appropriateness of alternative forms of graphical display for the presentation of particular properties of data are tested. A large number of significant differences between alternative forms of presentation in terms of effectiveness for communicating major features of data are identified and discussed.
Efficiency and Satisfaction in Videotex Database Production BIBA 57-63
  Stephen T. Kerr
The costs of designing and producing electronic information products include two important elements not often investigated: production time and worker satisfaction. These aspects of preparation of videotex databases were examined through interviews of industry professionals and a case study. Professional designers and administrators were interviewed to estimate frame production rates and to assess job satisfaction. In the case study, a team created a database of 1273 frames. Average frame creation times were 7.2 min (text), and 10.1 min (text plus graphics). In both studies, job satisfaction came principally from the challenge of working in a new medium. The results suggest: (a) premonitory planning is essential for design and production; (b) frame production depends upon several discrete task elements; and (c) the tension between creativity and productivity is significant for those who produce electronic information products.
Using the Proforma PROGRAM Command BIBA 65-74
  M. J. Collett
A common criticism of authoring languages used for computer aided instruction is that they are too restrictive. This article describes how one command within the Proforma authoring language enables the user to leave the confines of that language, run another program, and then return to the exact spot within the original Proforma study unit at which it was left. Two systems are outlined, one in which the separate program is accessed by chaining, and another in which subprograms are used. An example of an application in French language teaching is described in some detail.

BIT 1989 Volume 8 Issue 2

Editorial BIB 75-76
  Tom Stewart
User Perceptions and Expectations of an Information Retrieval System BIBA 77-88
  Biju Joseph; Esther R. Steinberg; A. Russell Jones
Performance measures are frequently used to evaluate user friendliness of a system. An equally important, but often overlooked factor is the users' attitudes towards a system. A prototype interface for information retrieval was developed for presenting engineering manuals online. It was tested on a representative sample of the intended end user community. We found that subjects' expectations were based on their experience with printed materials and other computer systems. Familiar search mechanisms (e.g., table of contents, index) were important for getting them started, even though they switched to other mechanisms as they gained more experience with the system. The fact that the index was more detailed than the one in the printed manual was seen by the subjects as critical for speedy and efficient information retrieval. Keyword search of the database was generally the preferred retrieval mechanism. However, some users preferred the index. The 'Table of Contents' which was a tree structured menu based system was found to be of limited use in the electronic medium, in contrast to the printed manual.
Evolution of Attitudes Toward Computers: A Retrospective View BIBA 89-98
  Ella Paton Gardner; Peg Young; Stephen R. Ruth
This article reviews three previous factor analysis based studies of aggregate attitudes concerning the computer milieu and compares them with a recent one done by the authors; the four studies span almost twenty years. While providing a useful basis for making generalizations about current perceptions of the computer's role, the latest study also sought to determine whether there was a group of persons who were fearful or anxious about the computer, whose concerns were masked in studies of aggregate attitudes. By using an instrument that was evaluated by an expert in phobic behaviour, it was possible to identify a population that was significantly different from the general population in attitude towards computers. The value of the current study, then, is two-fold. It makes possible a retrospective view of aggregate perceptions of the general population about computers and also offers a glimpse of the attributes of those computer phobic or anxious persons who have not yet adapted to computer technology.
Social Meaning of Personal Computers for Managers and Professionals: Methodology and Results BIBA 99-107
  Frank R. Safayeni; R. Lyn Purdy; Christopher A. Higgins
The social meaning of personal computers for 34 managers and professionals was measured using a situational approach. The results, in general, indicated a positive perception towards computers within the context of their work situations. The methodology was developed in an attempt to overcome some of the difficulties of traditional measures of attitudes. The advantages and the limitations of the method, as well as the process by which impressions are formed, are discussed.
Information Technology and the Accountant: A Case Study BIBA 109-123
  M. King; L. McAulay
The factors leading to the success or failure of IT implementations by accountants are investigated in a health service situation. The case study adopts the participant observation methodology and the factors observed are classified as motivators and demotivators. Using a project dependent definition of success, a catastrophe theory framework is used to describe the outcome of the combined influence of these factors. Four particular IT projects are discussed and the factors observed include: the influence of higher levels in the organizational hierarchy, some systems characteristics, the seduction of technology, external pressures, the 'rate of change', skills shortage and reliability. By comparing the examples described with features mentioned by other authors, it is noted that some factors appear to be generally applicable, whereas others may be context dependent.
The Menu Metaphor: Food for Thought BIBA 125-134
  Kent L. Norman; John P. Chin
Menu selection in human/computer interaction is a metaphor of the restaurant menu. Although menu selection is widely used, its scope is currently limited, ill-defined, and information lean. A comparison of the restaurant menu and the computer menu reveal three avenues of improvement in menu systems. The correspondence of elements and features between restaurant and computer menus suggests that this powerful metaphor should be more fully developed. Second, there are a number of advantages of dynamic computer menus over static listings common to restaurants. Finally, restaurant menus currently have the advantage of breadth, richness, and graphic layout as well as a natural support system (the server) that is unparalleled in current computer applications. An analysis of deficiences in computer menus should prove invaluable in developing the next generation of menu selection techniques.
The Effects of the Availability of Menu Information During Command Learning in a Word Processing Application BIBA 135-144
  Simon P. Davies; Anthony J. Lambert; John M. Findlay
An experiment is reported investigating the transition from relying on an external memory aid for system commands, provided by a permanently visible menu, to relying on internal memory for commands. Menu availability, and the method of command entry (keyboard vs. mouse) were manipulated during the early stages of learning the basic commands required to operate a word processing application. It was found that a group which always had the benefit of a memory aid provided by a menu performed no more efficiently than a group never provided with a menu. A group initially provided with a menu, which was then withdrawn performed significantly more slowly, and with more recourse to help facilities than the later group. When the menu was permanently visible there were no performance differences between the keyboard and mouse methods of command entry. Implications of these findings for interface design are discussed.
Legibility Testing of Visual Display Screens BIB 145-153
  Olov Ostberg; Houshang Shahnavaz; Rikard Stenberg

BIT 1989 Volume 8 Issue 3

Editorial BIB 155-156
  Tom Stewart
Computer Aided Manufacturing and Worker Well-Being: A Review of Research BIBA 157-174
  Jeffrey R. Edwards
Recent technological developments have stimulated the use of computer aided manufacturing (CAM) machinery in industrial settings. Though managers typically consider technical and economic factors in the implementation of CAM, they rarely consider the psychological implications of work in CAM. Recent research indicates that work in CAM may have unintended negative impacts on worker well-being. This paper reviews and evaluates empirical research concerning the impacts of work in CAM on worker well-being, and suggests directions for future research in this area.
Allocating Functions in Computer Integrated Manufacturing: A Review and a New Method BIBA 175-190
  Chris Clegg; Susannah Ravden; Martin Corbett; Graham Johnson
This paper describes the importance of allocating functions in advanced manufacturing systems, both for the system and for the people. Existing approachs to allocation are reviewed, along with some of their weaknesses. A set of requirements of allocation methods is outlined, which if met would promote their 'usability' for designers. As a result of collaborating in an ESPRIT CIM project, a new method for function allocation is described and its potential usability assessed.
Situation Analysis of Design Tasks for CAD Systems BIBA 191-206
  R. N. Pikaar
There has been little empirical research on the human aspects of CAD systems. In this paper observations on the analyses of designer activities are presented, by using a systems design approach.
   The paper concentrates on situation analysis and subsequent allocation of system tasks. A situation analysis was carried out in two design departments. The analysis consisted of a formal system description and a reconstruction interview. During the interview the previous week's activities were reconstructed with the help of photographs of the drawing board and protocols completed by design draughtspersons. This procedure was used for six design projects.
   In this study the technique of the reconstruction interview proved to be very useful and informative, and enabled three general conclusions to be made. First, designers liked the initial design phase and their responsibility for the final result. Second, they disliked the activities associated with drawing as well as the project documentation phase. Third, they preferred to work with two or more drawings on the drawing board. A number of frequent tasks could be identified, for example, large scale manipulation within and between drawings.
   In the final section, an example of a global allocation of system tasks for the design of a CAD system is given.
Back to Thinking Mode: Diaries for the Management of Information Systems Development Projects BIBA 207-217
  Leif Obel Jepsen; Lars Mathiassen; Peter Axel Nielsen
From a practical point of view, systems development methods are important sources of inspiration for the planning and establishment projects, but only to a limited extent do they support the reflections and actions of the participants. We propose the use of diaries as a supplement to conventional methods of reflection on what actually happens and what could happen during the course of a project, i.e., we propose diaries as a medium for the management of information systems development projects. This idea is based on an exploratory study carried out in co-operation with a bank and a research department, and the idea is supported by theoretical arguments from different fields. In conclusion, some practical advice on how to use diaries is given together with some questions for further investigation.
Taskmaster: An Interactive, Graphical Environment for Task Specification, Execution and Monitoring BIBA 219-233
  James D. Arthur; K. S. Raghu
Taskmaster is an interactive environment that employs a unique blend of graphic technologies and iconic images to support user task specification. In this environment, problem solving is based on the selection, specification, and composition of tools that correspond to natural sets of ordered operations. The Taskmaster environment is novel in that it:
  • provides an interactive, visual-based approach to user task specification;
  • encourages and supports task specification and refinement processes from both
       the top-down and bottom-up perspectives; and
  • enables one to specify parallel tasks in a natural and convenient manner. To 'program' a given task within the Taskmaster environment, one decomposes it into an ordered set of conceptually simple, high-level operations, and then combines (composes) a corresponding network of software tools that implements these operations. Execution of the specified network provides a task solution. Major system components supporting user task specification include a network editor, a tools database and a network execution monitor.
  • Density in Scatterplots and the Estimation of Correlation BIBA 235-244
      Thomas W. Lauer; Gerald V. Post
    The construction of a graphical presentation involves the representation of information by means of visual symbols. The acquisition of information from the resultant graph is a perceptual process that involves the decoding and interpretation of the visual symbols. Hence good design decisions will be based on an understanding of the information acquisition process and in particular graphical perception. This study examines the perception of bivariate normal data presented in a scatter diagram, and creates a model that successfully explains how individuals perceive the information contained in scatterplots.
       Subjects were shown a series of scatter diagrams on the CRT of a microcomputer and were asked to estimate correlation. Several variables were examined that explain estimated correlation including regression slope, dispersion, number of points displayed, and the size of the CRT screen. All of these factors were found to significantly affect subjects' estimates of correlation.

    BIT 1989 Volume 8 Issue 4

    Editorial BIB 245-246
      Tom Stewart
    Artifacts as Psychological Theories: The Case of Human-Computer Interaction BIBA 247-256
      John M. Carroll; Robert L. Campbell
    We cast the psychology of human-computer interaction (HCI) in terms of task analysis and the invention of artifacts. We consider the implications of this for attempts to define HCI in terms of a priori conceptions of psychology. We suggest that artifacts can be considered theory-like in HCI, and observe that they do play a theory-like role in the field as practiced. Our proposal resolves the current methodological perplexity about the legitimacy and composition of the field. We conclude that HCI is a distinct sort of science: a design science.
    An Analogue and Propositional Hybrid Model for the Perception of Computer Generated Graphical Images BIBA 257-272
      Woodrow Barfield; Gavriel Salvendy; James Foley
    This research investigated two alternative models, analogue and propositional, which describe how three-dimensional (3-D) graphical images are represented and stored in human memory. In order to differentiate between the two models, three separate experiments were performed using a variation of the Shepard-Metzler mental rotation paradigm (Shepard and Metzler 1971). For each experiment, the effects of three independent variables on the performance of a 'mental rotation' task were examined: (a) three levels of figure complexity, (b) three axes of rotation and (c) four angles of rotation. The subjects' task was to compare specific angle, axis or depth versus picture plane rotations for pairs (rotated and non-rotated versions) of 3-D graphic figures displayed on a CRT. The results indicated that response times varied depending on level of figure complexity, axis or angle of rotation. A new hybrid model integrating components of both the analogue and propositional positions is proposed to explain the reaction time data. In this model, analogue processes occur when processing requirements for cognitive tasks are low, whereas propositional processes occur when processing requirements are high. Implications of the results for the internal representation of 3-D images in human memory and for the design of graphic work stations are discussed.
    Some Uses of the Microcomputer as a Simulation Tool in the Design and Development of Electronic Visual Display Devices BIBA 273-278
      Elwyn Edwards
    During the development of displays employing solid-state devices, the need arises for a technique to assist in the preliminary evaluation of proposed applications of this fast-moving technology. Some examples are given of alphameric and graphic displays which may be simulated using a microcomputer.
    Statistical Methods for Testing the Conformance of Products to User Performance Standards BIBA 279-283
      F. R. Brigham
    User performance testing is an essential part of the development of information technology products. Usability engineering techniques and also methods included in the new International Organization for Standardization (ISO) draft standard for VDTs involve testing products against a standard or benchmark. This paper highlights some of the statistical and methodological problems involved in conformance testing and outlines appropriate procedures. These include the use of sequential tests which, in comparison with conventional tests, can achieve a radical reduction in the number of subjects required.
    Developing and Evaluating an Interactive System for Producing Human-Computer Interfaces BIBA 285-299
      Deborah Hix
    The Author's Interactive Dialogue Environment (AIDE) of the Dialogue Management System is an integrated set of interactive tools for developing human-computer interfaces. AIDE is used by an interface specialist, called a dialogue developer, to implement an interface by directly manipulating and defining its objects, rather than by the traditional method of writing source code. This paper describes the structural dialogue transaction model upon which AIDE is based, describes the use of AIDE for developing human-computer interfaces, and describes an empirical study comparing use of AIDE with use of a programming language for implementing a human-computer interface. Results of this study empirically support, possibly for the first time, the claim that interactive tools for interface development, such as AIDE, can improve productivity and reduce frustration in developing interfaces over traditional programming techniques for interface development.
    The Increasing Utility of Incorporating Keywords in Menu Systems as Users Increase in Experience BIBA 301-308
      Eric Lee; Glena Chao
    The paper begins with a discussion of the problem users experience with menu-retrieval systems and the possible reasons for their relatively poor performance. We propose the addition of menu keywords to menu systems to remedy these problems. Empirical evidence is presented showing that menu keywords are used increasingly with experience and that retrieval performance is thereby enhanced substantially.
    Aged Related Differences in Learning to Use a Text-Editing System BIBA 309-319
      Sara J. Czaja; Katka Hammond; James J. Blascovich; Helen Swede
    The increased use of computer technology in most occupations means that many middle-aged and older workers who lack computer experience will need to acquire skills to interact with this technology. This study examined age-group differences in learning to use a text-editing system. One hundred and thirty-five females ranging in age from 25 to 70 participated in the study. They received training under one of three training conditions: instructor-based, online or manual-based. Age differences were assessed by comparing performance on criterion tasks. Results indicated significant differences among the groups in learning success, younger learners being the most successful. There were no significant age by training interactions. The findings indicate a need to develop more effective training strategies to teach older learners to use computer technologies. They also indicate the need for changes in system design because computer applications are difficult for novice users to learn.

    BIT 1989 Volume 8 Issue 5

    Editorial BIB 321-322
      Tom Stewart

    Towards a Theory of HCI

    A Conceptual Model of Human-Computer Interaction? BIBA 323-334
      Graham Storrs
    A framework is described for conceptualizing the interactions between people and computers which, it is hoped, will provide the basis of a theoretical model of human-computer interaction (HCI) sufficient to stimulate and guide research in the field. HCI is viewed as an exchange whose primary purpose is to affect the states of the agents that are involved. The exchange is ultimately between people but is partly mediated by artefactual agents acting as intermediaries or drones of their human owners. A distinction is drawn between interface and interaction, and the purposes of an interaction in this context are identified and discussed. In particular, the important purpose of morphogenesis is further elaborated. On the basis of this, a brief comment is made on what this implies for the improvement of interactions and then a longer comment is made on the implications for the separability of front ends. The conclusion is reached that, even on engineering grounds, the notion of a separate user interface management system is inherently flawed and that the current trend towards separable 'interfaces' is an undesirable development.

    Computers as Educational Tools

    Computerized Tests and Time: Measuring, Limiting and Providing Visual Cues for Response Time in On-Line Questioning BIBA 335-351
      Sheizaf Rafaeli; Noam Tractinsky
    It is possible and attractive to incorporate time-related measures and techniques in on-line computerized testing systems. However, is it advisable? This study focuses on the measurement of response time, the solicitation of speed, the limitation of allotted time and the provision of on-line visual cues for the passage of time (on-screen hourglass). An experiment was conducted using a standard general knowledge component of a psychometric test; 198 students completed an on-line psychometric test under several time-related experimental conditions. Findings encourage further use of time-related techniques. Positive correlations were found between performance as measured by accuracy in response and speed measures. Time-limiting procedures allowed savings of almost 50% of examinee and examiner's time, without diminishing score reliability. The reliability of the speed measures is at least as high as the reliability of accuracy measures. Examinees' stress was not affected, but intersubjection attitudes are a problem for the incorporation of time-related measures. Finally, while accuracy scores are biased by demographics, speed measures seem to be independent of experience in using computers, gender, age and education.
    Learning Studies in the Use of Computer Aided Design Systems for Discrete-Parts Manufacture BIBA 353-368
      K. Case; B. S. Acar
    Two-dimensional computer aided engineering design systems are recognized as having limitations in comparison with the alternative three-dimensional techniques of solid modelling. The mathematically sounder approach of solid modelling permits far greater integration between the activities of functional design, design analysis and manufacturing. However, the existing methods of specifying design geometry within typical solid modelling systems are deficient in that they relate more to the mathematical needs of the computer system than they do to the needs of the designer. CAPE-LUT (Computer Aided Production Engineering-Loughborough University of Technology) is a prototype system which provides a machining analogy so that geometric and manufacturing ideas can be expressed through familiar engineering terminology, to provide detail designs and outline process plans. CAPE-LUT is an experimental vehicle only and the system has been used to investigate the hypothesis that a 'manufacturing features' approach to design and manufacture is easy to learn, accurate and fast in use, and acceptable to practising designers and manufacturing engineers. This paper describes the experimental work, which provides statistical evidence that the manufacturing features method is significantly easier to learn than a similar CAD system that has a purely geometric interface. It is also shown that CAPE-LUT performed well when used by experienced subjects and was acceptable to a large number of practising engineers.
    The Effects of Two- or Three-Dimensional Graphics on the Problem-Solving Performance of Experienced and Novice Decision Makers BIBA 369-385
      Woodrow Barfield; Robert Robless
    An experiment was performed to investigate the relationship between two-dimensional (2-D) or three-dimensional (3-D) graphs displayed on paper or computer and the problem-solving performance of experienced and novice managers. The effects of these variables on solution times, confidence in answers and effectiveness of solutions for a production management case were examined. It was predicted that experienced managers would engage in forward chaining as a problem-solving strategy, while novices would use backward chaining as a problem-solving technique (Larkin et al. 1980). Results indicated that solution times were faster for computer than for paper presentations of data, but no significant relationship between response times and dimensionality of graphs was found. Novice subjects produced more accurate answers using 2-D paper presentations of graphs, while experienced managers produced more accurate answers when provided with 3-D graphs on computer. Further, experienced and novice managers were more confident of their answers when provided 2-D graphs as decision aids than with any other mode of presentation. Verbal protocols and retrospective reports indicated that in solving the cases experienced managers engaged in forward chaining, backward chaining and means-ends analysis as problem-solving techniques more often than novices.

    Impacts on Organizations

    Evolution of Information Systems in Organizations BIBA 387-398
      Timo Saarinen
    Of all organization phenomena and management techniques, the use of computers and data processing have been perhaps the most distinct and penetrating. The steady progress of technology and common patterns of growth have inspired a whole body of literature on the evolution of information systems. This article reviews the relevant literature and the theoretical underpinnings of different views. We develop a framework which includes elements from economics, diffusion theories, organizational learning and growth and stages theory. Within this framework we integrate different views on the subject and look at what broader theoretical features are applied in the models presented in information systems research. On the basis of the review, we draw some conclusions about the limitations of the models and the need for future research in the field.
    'The Dark Side' of IT: A Personal Comment BIB 399-402
      Chris Clegg

    BIT 1989 Volume 8 Issue 6

    Editorial BIB 403-404
      Tom Stewart
    Modes of Presentation for On-Line Help: Full Screen, Split Screen and Windowed Formats BIBA 405-416
      Joan M. Cherry; Michael J. Fischer; Barbara M. Fryer; Melanie J. Steckham
    The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of the format used to display on-line help (full screen, split screen and windowed) on user performance and attitudes. Three prototypes of a programmer's editor were developed. The first prototype provided help in full screen format. The second prototype provided split screen help and the third windowed help. It was hypothesized that user performance would be best with windowed help, and that attitudes would be most positive toward windowed help. In addition it was believed that windowed help would fare best because it would allow users to see and work with about two-thirds of the product screen while the help was displayed. Forty-five application programmers participated. Each subject performed three editing tasks using one form of on-line help. No significant differences in performance or attitude were found between those who used full screen, split screen and windowed help. However, comments made by subjects during the assessment suggested that the nature of the help text itself may have affected the results. An examination of these comments indicated several ways in which the organization and writing style of the help text could be improved.
    User Support: Revealing Structure Instead of Surface BIBA 417-435
      Riitta Hellman
    The development of different help systems and the application of numerous approaches to user support have shown (a) that end-users may encounter insuperably complex use situations, and (b) that it is possible to assist users significantly by implementing computerized help systems. There are many approaches to the realization of user support, varying from the use of natural language to user modelling. However, the current help systems seem to focus on relatively technical data processing issues, ignoring the organizational context in which the use takes place. It is asserted in this paper that it is relevant for users to perceive the organizational context and that it is possible to reflect the context in a support system. Representing the context in a support system is made possible by introducing a context database. A context database is parallel to the actual database and contains information about task flows, task-connected information objects and the like. Therefore the analysis of work and information systems has to be based on related areas. The areas of inquiry are (a) tasks, (b) job design, (c) organization of work, (d) computer applications and (e) information media. The following kinds of mappings can be incorporated within the context database: [organizational unit O1]-[person P1 in job]-[job task T1]-[task-connected information I1]-[task-connected information I2]-[job task T2]-[person in job P2]-[organizational unit O2]. This type of chain (or parts of it) can then be visualized as context support.
    Survey Steered Design: Evaluating User Recovery and Command Reuse Support by Questionnaire BIBA 437-459
      Yiya Yang
    Evaluation steered design is an important planning strategy in the construction of human-computer interfaces (HCI) and survey-based evaluation is one of the five main evaluation techniques available for use with this strategy. This paper reports on a survey-based evaluation by questionnaire that aims at investigating the serviceability and services required for user recovery and command reuse support. It discusses how to choose an evaluation method in an evaluation steered design process, analyses the problems of evaluation by survey, describes the methodology of conducting a mail questionnaire, reports on the detailed results of this investigation and provides refinement to the mail questionnaire as a valuable evaluation method in HCI research. It also proposes topics for further research in this area.
    Human Factors in Electronic Mail System Design BIBA 461-474
      Ann Hjalmarsson; Lars Oestreicher; Yvonne Wærn
    The current paper analyses how human factors aspects and system design aspects may co-operate in the design of a particular application, i.e. electronic mail systems. A review of research on the experience of electronic mail systems is presented, as well as a pilot study covering the experience of mail systems in different user groups. The users were found to differ mainly in terms of the tasks they performed and wanted to perform. It is therefore suggested that a task analysis is essential in system design. Current practice on task analysis is presented, which shows that a more detailed task analysis is needed to be useful. In order to achieve flexibility, the subtasks found should be designed in a modular way. Here the system designer will need different supports. To facilitate co-operation between end-users and system designers some kind of communication support is also suggested.
    A Review of Speech Recognition Applications in the Office BIBA 475-486
      Jan M. Noyes; Clive R. Frankish
    Since the 1970s, many improvements have been made in the technology available for automatic speech recognition (ASR). Changes in the methods of analysing the incoming speech have resulted in larger, more complex vocabularies being used with greater recognition accuracy. Despite this enhanced performance and substantial research activity, the introduction of voice input into the office is still largely unrealized. This paper reviews the state-of-the-art of office applications of ASR, dividing them into the areas of voice messaging and word processing activities, data entry and information retrieval systems, and environmental control. Within these areas, cartographic computer-aided-design systems are identified as an application with proven success. The slow growth of voice input in the office is discussed in the light of constraints imposed by existing speech technology, and the need for human factors evaluation of potential applications.