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Behaviour and Information Technology 11

Editors:Tom Stewart
Publisher:Taylor & Francis, Ltd.
Standard No:ISSN 0144-929X
Links:Table of Contents
  1. BIT 1992 Volume 11 Issue 1
  2. BIT 1992 Volume 11 Issue 2
  3. BIT 1992 Volume 11 Issue 3
  4. BIT 1992 Volume 11 Issue 4
  5. BIT 1992 Volume 11 Issue 5
  6. BIT 1992 Volume 11 Issue 6

BIT 1992 Volume 11 Issue 1

Editorial BIB i-ii
  T. F. M. Stewart

Human Variety Adds Richness to Life

Designing for Diversity: The User Interface for a Hypermedia Information System on a University Campus BIBA 1-12
  Joan M. Cherry; James M. Turner; Geoffrey M. Rockwell
The University of Toronto hopes to encourage development of a campus-wide information system consisting of many walk-up-and-use components. The first component to be developed was an instructional program for users of the library's online catalogue. The interface had to be attractive, usable by novices, and flexible enough to carry the content. Much effort was expended in ensuring that it met these criteria. User testing played an important role in the design of the interface. The design and testing of the system's entry point, navigation aids, and templates for spatial arrangements of information on the screen are discussed.
A Comparative Study of Gestural, Keyboard, and Mouse Interfaces BIBA 13-23
  Catherine G. Wolf
This paper presents results from three experiments which compared gestural, keyboard, and mouse/keyboard interfaces to a spreadsheet program. This is the first quantitative comparison of these types of interfaces known to the author. The gestural interface employed gestures (hand-drawn marks such as carets or brackets) for commands, and handwriting as input techniques. In one configuration, the input/output hardware consisted of a transparent digitizing tablet mounted on top of an LCD which allowed the user to interact with the program by writing on the tablet with a stylus. The experiments found that participants were faster with the gestural interface than with the keyboard or mouse/keyboard interface. In addition, subjects tended to prefer the gestural interface over the keyboard interface. Inexperienced mouse users also tended to prefer the gestural interface over the mouse/keyboard interface, although experienced mouse users preferred the mouse. The main difficulties with the gestural interface had to do with poor display legibility and problems with the stylus. The benefits of the gestural interface are explained in terms of the fewer number of steps required to carry out an operation, the greater ease of remembering gestural commands, and the ability to focus on a single surface for input and output.
A Framework to Identify Applications of Information Technology to Improve Service Quality BIBA 24-31
  Ravinder Nath
More and more organizations are seeking innovative ways to use information technology (IT) for strategic advantage. One way to gain this competitive edge is by differentiating the services provided to customers. This paper provides a framework to identify areas ripe for the implementation of IT to enhance and improve customer service. The framework is based upon the examination of the existing service delivery system of an organization and how applications of IT might change the interfaces among the various players (customers, employees, etc.) in the service delivery system. Further, examples are presented to illustrate how some organizations have achieved superior service quality by creatively utilizing simple IT tools.
Learning Text Editing Tasks from Examples: A Procedural Approach BIBA 32-45
  Dan H. Mo; Ian H. Witten
Reformatting blocks of semi-structured information is a common editing task that typically involves highly repetitive action sequences, but ones where exceptional cases arise constantly and must be dealt with as they arise. This paper describes a procedural programming-by-example approach to repetitive text editing which allows users to construct programs within a standard editing interface and extend them incrementally. Following a brief practice period during which they settle on an editing strategy for the task at hand, users commence editing in the normal way. Once the first block of text has been edited, they inform the learning system which constructs a generalized procedure from the actions that have been recorded. The system then attempts to apply the procedure to the next block of text, by predicting editing actions and displaying them for confirmation. If the user accepts a prediction, the action is carried out (and the program may be generalized accordingly); otherwise the user is asked to intervene and supply additional information, in effect debugging the program on the fly. A pilot implementation is described that operates in a simple interactive point-and-click editor (Macintosh MINI-EDIT), along with its performance on three sample tasks. In one case the procedure was learned correctly from the actions on the first text block, while in the others minor debugging was needed on subsequent text blocks. In each case a much smaller number of both keystrokes and mouse-clicks was required than with normal editing, without the system making any prior assumptions about the structure of the text except for some general knowledge about lexical patterns. Although a smooth interactive interface has not yet been constructed, the results obtained serve to indicate the potential of this approach for semi-structured editing tasks.

Older and Wiser but Not Necessarily Happier

Technological Change and the Older Employee: Implications for Introduction and Training BIBA 46-52
  Michael Staufer
How do older employees cope with technological change at their place of work? To answer this question, an exploratory study was conducted in which interviews were held with 34 older employees in the office, 23 supervisors, personnel managers and representatives of workers, and seven computer trainers. The older employees were classified into three groups depending on their dominant form of appraisal of computers: threat/challenge/irrelevant. While participants who experienced computers as a challenge favoured information-seeking activities, older staff members who felt threatened by computers reacted rather passively and often complained about increasing time-pressure and health-related problems. In contrast, members of the group which appraised computers as irrelevant were quite satisfied with their work and consequently reported hardly any coping behaviour. A further analysis showed that organizational factors were closely connected with the dominant form of appraisal. Therefore recommendations are given concerning the introductory phase of technological change and qualificational measures.
Training and Experience as Predictors of Job Satisfaction and Work Motivation when Using Computers: A Correlational Study BIBA 53-60
  Howard Kahn; Ivan T. Robertson
This paper examines the extent to which the previous work experience and method of training to use computer systems augment the predictability of the motivation and satisfaction of computer users. A sample of 154 computer users are studied, utilizing a version of the Job Diagnostic Survey questionnaire (Hackman and Oldham 1975). The job characteristics model upon which the questionnaire is based contends that the internal work motivation and general job satisfaction of job holders can be predicted from core job characteristics (task identity, task significance, skill variety, autonomy, and feedback from the job itself). Results show that type of training and previous experience add little more to the job-holder's job satisfaction and internal work motivation than is predicted by the job characteristics model. The implications of the results for the management and staffing of computer-based systems are noted. Limitations of the data are recognized.

BIT 1992 Volume 11 Issue 2

Editorial BIB i-ii
  T. F. M. Stewart

Experiments in Human-Computer Interpretation

A Task-Action Trace for Exploratory Learners BIBA 63-70
  Stephen J. Payne; Andrew Howes
We motivate and describe the design of a tool for exploratory learners. A task-action trace displays a history of user actions that collapses into verbal descriptions of task accomplishments, derived from a task-action grammar analysis of the interface. Previous tasks, and the actions through which the user achieved them, remain available for browsing; the display of actions shows those that were strictly necessary. We describe the implementation of such a tool for a simulation of the RATES line-diagnosis system. Preliminary empirical evaluation suggests that some users find the trace sufficiently helpful to interact with it repeatedly during the first 4 h of learning.
The Influence of Screen Size and Text Layout on the Study of Text BIBA 71-78
  David de Bruijn; Sjaak de Mul; Herre van Oostendorp
This study investigates the effects of screen size (12 inch versus 15 inch) and text layout (well structured and ill structured) on the learning of text presented on the monitor of a personal computer. Two aspects of learning are assessed. A summary and a multiple-choice test are employed to measure the amount of information retained. Efficacy of learning is assessed by learning time and by cognitive effort, as measured by the performance on a secondary task. The results indicate that neither screen size nor text layout has a significant influence on the required cognitive effort or on the amount of information acquired. There is, however, a significant (main) effect of screen size on learning time: subjects using a 15 inch screen need less learning time than subjects using a 12 inch screen, with no difference in learning performance. It is suggested that more efficient integration processes in constructing the semantic representation are responsible for this reduction in learning time. Implications for future research are discussed.
Analogously Based Reusability BIBA 79-98
  Neil Maiden; Alistair Sutcliffe
A study is reported in which 10 expert analysts were requested to reuse a specification to develop a solution for an analogous problem. The study examined analytic and problem-solving strategies used by analysts to understand and reuse the analogous specification. Results revealed that painstaking and careful reuse of the specification was a critical determinant of analytic success, although results varied by individual. However, the reusable specification proved less effective for evaluation of the analyst's solution. Analysts preferred to assimilate and understand the analogy from a narrative describing the underlying reusable domain rather than from the reusable specification, hence knowledge about the problem domain appeared to be more important than solution knowledge in determining the analogy. Strategies employed by expert analysts have implications for didactic and reuse strategies incorporated in an intelligent advisor to assist inexperienced analysts to reuse analogous specifications.


The Concept and Correlates of Computer Anxiety BIBA 99-108
  Gholamreza Torkzadeh; Irma E. Angulo
The introduction of computers into the lives and workplaces of many individuals represents a dramatic change. Zuboff has used the term 'computer-mediated' work to describe how the increasingly intellectual nature of work and the availability of computers is creating a revolution in the workplace. There is a real concern about how individuals react both cognitively and emotionally to the introduction of computer technology. The growth of the end-user computing phenomenon has made this concern more acute. Although many individuals have little difficulty using computers, there remains a far larger population of users who experience considerable difficulty learning how to use computer systems. Computer anxiety is a widely occurring phenomenon for this group of users, whose job performance and success may depend on their interaction with computers. Reviewing the literature, this paper describes the nature and correlates of computer anxiety and assesses training as a mechanism for reducing the impact of this anxiety. Limitations in current knowledge are noted and suggestions for further research are described.
Automatic Speech Recognition in Practice BIBA 109-122
  Dylan M. Jones; Clive R. Frankish; Kevin Hapeshi
There is a growing interest in the commercial possibilities offered by automatic speech recognition (ASR) technology. Unfortunately the prospective user has little independent guidance with respect to the potential success of any proposed implementation. There do exist a few general human factors guidelines on the use of ASR, but most of the corpus of knowledge that forms part of the lore within the ASR community is based on the unpublished experiences of system developers and users themselves. The present paper attempts to redress this balance; it is a summary of the experiences of users and system designers at 30 research and commercial sites in the UK and USA where ASR has been extensively used or tested. The application represented were classified as vehicle, office, industrial, and aids for disabled people. A number of important human factors issues were identified, and the relative success of the various applications are discussed.
Unheard of Working Conditions BIB 123-124
  Heimrich Kanis; Frank Leopold; Bart Kip; Jan Wulffele

Book Review

"Architecture; The Story of Practice," by Dana Cuff BIB 125-126
  Kathleen Carter

BIT 1992 Volume 11 Issue 3

Editorial BIB i
  T. F. M. Stewart

Special Issue: Methods and Frameworks for System Design

Editorial: Collection of Papers from Symposium on 'Methods and Frameworks for System Design' BIB ii
  Mike Fitter
The Process of Deriving Requirements for a Hospital Information System BIBA 131-140
  Gillian Symon; Mike Fitter; Clare Radstone; Ian Kunkler; Barry Hancock
This paper describes the process through which a small regional oncology hospital derived information and implementation requirements for an organization-wide information system. In part, this was in response to the recent changes in the UK National Health Service. The project was conducted in the action research tradition, combining both practical and theoretical goals, and took a stakeholder perspective. A range of methods were used to explore the issues of information and organizational needs, including questionnaires, interviews, discussion groups and 'tracer' studies. As a result of the intervention, a framework of information needs and an implementation strategy were drawn up as a plan for the hospital's continuing work in this area.
Job Design within a Human Centred (System) Design Framework BIBA 141-150
  I. Franklin; D. Pain; E. Green; J. Owen
This paper describes the job design research of the Human Centred Office Systems Project (funded by the SERC/ESRC), which is working with a local government department. The originality of the research involves the application of human centred ideas, which have until recently only been used to address the situation of male skilled workers, either in British engineering or Scandinavian contexts. Our approach adapts these ideas in relation to the design of women clerical workers' jobs. Feminist perspectives on women in work are also drawn upon. This approach represents a break with other research on job design within computerization, most of which has been informed by socio-technical theory and human-computer interaction. We draw upon new case-study research involving design groups who have tackled job design using a bottom-up approach. The study involves women clerical workers, both defining their particular skills and how they would wish a new computer system to complement and enhance them. The methods used were qualitative and involved: women clerical workers, senior management and trade unionists. Our conclusions concentrate on the opportunities provided by the use of human centred perspectives for tacking job design, with particular reference to office systems and women clerical workers.
Supportive Evaluation Methodology: A Method to Facilitate System Development BIBA 151-159
  Dave Robinson; Mike Fitter
This paper presents an overview of the 'supportive evaluation methodology', a method of facilitating system development in the health care domain. Supportive evaluation methodology has a number of defining characteristics. Firstly, it is a formative evaluation whose primary aim is to support and improve the development of a prototype system. Secondly, it is an iterative process providing rapid feedback to designers. Thirdly, 'human factors' issues such as functionality, usability, and clinical and social impact are the primary focus of the evaluation. Finally, the evaluation is carried out by a team independent of the designers of the prototype. The complete supportive evaluation methodology involves iterative cycles in which requirements are analysed, designs put forward and prototypes developed. The prototypes are then assessed in order to refine the requirements and designs. A key element in the methodology is the 'formative assessment workshop' in which potential users test the systems in simulations of their usual environment. Role playing is often used to simulate doctor-patient interactions. Users' responses to the systems are analysed through observations, questionnaires and group discussions. The contexts in which the methodology has been used and our experiences in applying it are described.
Human and Organizational Issues in Information Systems Development BIBA 160-174
  P. Hornby; C. W. Clegg; J. I. Robson; C. R. R. Maclaren; S. C. S. Richardson; P. O'Brien
The paper describes the first phase of a project funded in the UK by the Department of Trade and Industry and the Science and Engineering Research Council (Project IED 1249). The paper reviews a number of systems development methods, examines the extent to which they incorporate consideration of a set of relevant human and organizational issues, and describes the findings of an exploratory study of the ways in which systems analysts work, including their use of methods.
Information Systems Design and Planned Organization Change: Applying Unger's Theory of Social Reconstruction BIBA 175-183
  Frank Blackler
Much has been learned in recent years about how information technologies can be introduced effectively to established organizations. Progress has been more limited, however, in exploring the opportunities the technologies provide to rethink conventional assumptions about organizing. Traditional approaches to planning require an early specification of desired end results and are of limited value in the development of unfamiliar roles and structures. Unger's social theory suggests a different approach. It emphasizes how the cognitive schemas people use in everyday life interact with social and institutional structures to provide a set of pragmatic assumptions which obscures recognition of alternatives. The approach can be used to explain why ambitions for organizational change through the introduction of new technologies are likely to be limited, but it suggests that techniques can be developed to alert designers and end-users to the 'formative contexts' within which they are working, to review their inevitability, and to develop alternatives.

Book Reviews

"Design at Work: Co-Operative Design of Computer Systems," by Joan Greenbaum and Morten Kyng BIB 184-187
  Mike Robinson
"Cognitive Aspects of Computer-Supported Tasks," by Yvonne Wærn BIB 184-187
  R. H. R. Harper

BIT 1992 Volume 11 Issue 4

Editorial BIB i-ii
  T. F. M. Stewart

It's Just the Same, Only Different

Teleshopping or Going Shopping? An Information Acquisition Perspective BIBA 189-198
  Ilan Salomon; Frank S. Koppelman
Shopping is the acquisition of information that precedes the purchase of goods and services for household or individual consumption. New telecommunications technologies enable individuals to shop and purchase without leaving the home. Teleshopping options put the individual in a choice situation between home-based shopping and store shopping. This involves a trade-off between the costs (in terms of time and money) and benefits of making a trip or of communicating with vendors. Teleshopping serves as a useful case study for examining the demand for videotex-based services and some psychological factors involved in their adoption. Two major factors associated with the benefits of shopping appear to affect that choice. First, the direct experience of multi-sensory stimulation of store or shopping-mall environments is superior in terms of information quality and quantity to that obtained through teleshopping for many products. Thus, teleshopping may not reduce the uncertainty involved in purchasing decision to the extent possible in store shopping and therefore, may not be a satisfactory substitute. Second, the recreational and psychological gratification (or costs) that many people experience in store shopping activity but which do not exist in teleshopping may affect the adoption of teleshopping. The relative importance of these factors varies across product or service type and individual shopper's preferences.
Learning New Programming Languages: An Analysis of the Process and Problems Encountered BIBA 199-215
  Jean Scholtz; Susan Wiedenbeck
Experienced programmers transferring to a new language have a far easier time than the novice learning a first language. However, they still experience considerable difficulties. The objective in this exploratory study was to characterize the kinds of learning and transfer that take place in the early stages of using a new programming language and where difficulties develop. 'Think-aloud' protocols were videotaped as subjects went about trying to write a program in a new programming language. Subjects used one of two unfamiliar languages, one similar to their known language (Pascal) and the other dissimilar. Three types of analyses were done on the recorded protocols: a procedural analysis showing the activities the subjects engaged in as they learned the new language, a programming knowledge analysis showing in which areas of program development difficulties were encountered, and a solutions analysis showing how successful the programmers were at using unique features of the new language. We found that the procedures programmers used to learn a new language were independent of the language being learned. The slight differences that existed in procedures were between levels of expertise. Programmers spent the majority of their time reading a language textbook. The programming knowledge analysis showed that programmers' main area of concentration was planning how to implement their approach given the constructs available in the language. We observed many iterations of programmers trying to implement plans, failing and having to revise their plans. Examination of the subjects' solutions and implementation approaches in Pascal led us to believe that programmers learning a new language are often biased by their implementation of algorithms in previous languages.

Experiments in Interface Design

Can Speech be Used for Alarm Displays in 'Process Control' Type Tasks? BIBAK 216-226
  C. Baber; N. A. Stanton; A. Stockley
There has been much research into the feasibility of speech in aircraft cockpits, but little in human supervisory control tasks. Speech displays can provide a number of benefits over conventional, visual displays, particularly as a means of providing alarm information. We discuss the term 'alarm', and suggest that different alarm situations will have different information requirements. Thus, a single type of alarm display may not be suitable for the complete range of situations encountered in the control room. We investigated the use of speech for different 'alarm-initiated actions'; recording, urgency rating, location identification, and action specification. These tasks varied in terms of difficulty, and this affected performance. We also varied the quality of speech, comparing synthesized with human speech. While speech quality affected performance on the recording task, we found that task difficulty interacted with speech quality on the other tasks. This means that definable 'trade-offs' exist between the use of speech and the situation in which it is to be used.
Keywords: Alarm, Speech synthesis, Alarm-initiated actions
An Empirical Comparison of Menu-Selection (CUI) and Desktop (GUI) Computer Programs Carried Out by Beginners and Experts BIBA 227-236
  Matthias Rauterberg
As advantages and disadvantages of graphical user interfaces are still controversial, this study focuses on an empirical comparison of a desktop interface (GUI) and a conventional user interface with menu selection (CUI). A total of 24 users (six novices and six experts with GUI; six novices and six experts with CUI) were given 20 benchmark tasks. Except for an introduction given by the investigator (1.5 h) the beginners had no or very little previous experience with electronic data processing, while the experts had previous experience of 3,700 h (desktop) or 7,500 h (menu selection), respectively. The results showed for both beginners and experts a statistically significant superiority of GUI of the desktop user interface with 'mouse' over the conventional user interface with menu selection and function keys (CUI). The experts in GUI needed 51% less time to complete the tasks averaged across all tasks, as compared to the experts using CUI. Moreover a significant interaction was found between tasks and user interfaces in the context of GUI.
Information Systems Design: An Empirical Study of Feedback Effects BIBA 237-244
  Jane E. Humble; Robert T. Keim; James C. Hershauer
Feedback is an important component of any dynamic system, and should receive attention as a design issue in information systems. The study presents a model which shows the function of feedback in management information systems. The potential effect of task-specific feedback on the judgement of the decision-maker is tested empirically. Both the model and empirical results provide guidance about the role of feedback in information systems design. Empirical results demonstrate that there remains a strong bias towards overconfidence even with feedback. However, the presence of immediate feedback does lower confidence and raise decision quality.

Book Review

"Computer Systems Development: History, Organization and Implementation," by A. Friedman with D. Cornford BIB 245-246
  Jorgen Bansler

BIT 1992 Volume 11 Issue 5

Editorial BIB i-ii
  Tom Stewart

Developing Theory in Human-Computer Interaction

Integrating Theory Development with Design Evaluation BIBA 247-255
  John M. Carroll; Mark K. Singley; Mary Beth Rosson
In this paper, we recruit the construct of psychological design rationale as a framework for integrating theory development with design evaluation in HCI. We propose that, in some cases, part of an artefact's psychological design rationale can be regarded as inherited from second-order artefacts (prescriptive design models, architectures and genres, tools and environments, interface styles). We show how evaluation data pertaining to an artefact can be used to test and develop the second-order artefact from which it inherits.
Human Aspects in Object-Oriented Design: An Assessment and a Methodology BIBAK 256-261
  Zhengxin Chen
Object-oriented design has attractive features, but using an object-oriented technique does not necessarily guarantee a good design. In this paper an assessment is made which is concerned with human aspects in object-oriented design. Particularly, the important role of user's mental models in object-oriented design is emphasized. The relationship between analogical reasoning and software reuse is examined. To support the assessment in regard to human aspects, some methodological considerations are outlined, which are further examined through case studies.
Keywords: Object-oriented design, Mental model, Conceptual model, Software reuse, Analogical reasoning

Conducting Experiments to Address Simple Issues

VDU Work, Contrast Adaptation, and Visual Fatigue BIBAK 262-267
  Reidulf G. Watten; Ivar Lie; Svein Magnussen
Prolonged VDU work leads to a number of detrimental changes in visual performance and to frequent complaints about asthenopic, musculoskeletal, and other symptoms. The relationship between changes in contrast adaptation at five spatial frequencies and workrelated symptoms were studied in an experimental approach with two groups, one working 2 h (n=13) and the other 4 h (n=17). Both groups showed a significant reduction in visual acuity and contrast sensitivity, but there were no significant differences between working two or four hours. The relationship between contrast adaptation and symptoms showed a mixed pattern. For the 2 h group there was significant positive correlation between symptoms and all spatial frequencies. For the 4 h group there were mixed correlations between symptoms and contrast adaptation. The results offer only partial support to Lunn and Bank's hypotheses on contrast adaptation, accommodation control and visual fatigue symptoms. Contrast adaptation saturates after 1-2 h and induces a short term effect on visual fatigue. For longer work periods posture-ergonomic and oculomotor factors will penetrate and dilute the contrast sensitivity effect.
Keywords: VDU displays, Visual acuity, Contrast adaptation, Symptoms
Note: Short Paper
Problem-Solving Performance as a Function of Problem Type, Number Progression, and Memory Load BIBAK 268-280
  Mary J. LaLomia; Michael D. Coovert; Eduardo Salas
Problem-solving performance with tabular and graphical computer displays was examined as problem type, number progression, and memory capacity were systematically manipulated. Participants used tables and line graphs that depicted linear or multilinear number progressions to solve location, interpolation, trend analysis, and forecasting problems. Experiment 1, in which the displayed information was continuously available, indicated that participants' performance for identifying specific values was better with tables than with graphs. For trend analysis and interpolation problems graphs with multilinear data facilitated performance. While the forecasting tasks did not show any systematic effect of the factors. In Experiment 2, the displayed information was not continuously available, participants performed best with the graphical displays for most conditions. These results are discussed in terms of designing computer information displays.
Keywords: Problem-solving, Tabular displays, Graphical displays, Visual displays, Errors, Display preference
The Need for a New Experimental Environment for HCI Research into Multi-Agent, Real-Time Systems BIBAK 281-292
  Philip A. Scown
Much of the current research in HCI is carried out using experimental environments based on word processors, database search, or other conventional office automation. While this approach meets many needs it lacks the power required for investigating many unconventional situations. Complex multi-agent real-time systems are not typically found in offices and cannot easily be investigated in typical word processing or office automation contexts. The paper refers to four environments where multi-agency exists in a real-time environment: flight systems, plant control, telephone networks, and complex office systems. Consideration is given to the requirements of an alternative experimental environment which could allow HCI research to explore a wider range of issues.
Keywords: Multi-agent, Real-time, CSCW, Critical systems, Experimental design

Involving Users -- A Case Study

User Participation in Context: A Case Study in a UK Bank BIBAK 293-307
  Pat Hornby; Chris Clegg
This paper describes a case study of user participation focusing on the introduction of a new computer-based system in a large UK bank. We use Wall and Lischeron's (1977) characterization of participation as consisting of three interrelated elements (i.e., interaction, information, and influence) and Gowler and Legge's (1978) contextual interpretation exploring user participation as a 'dependent' rather than an 'independent' variable. The study examines the process of participation using a range of research methods. We argue that user participation in systems development can only be properly understood through consideration of the nature of the organizational context (e.g., structures and processes), the system and its users, and by analysis of the interactions between these elements.
Keywords: Participation in decision making (PDM), User participation, Organizational context

BIT 1992 Volume 11 Issue 6

Editorial BIB i-ii
  Tom Stewart
Imaginal Technology and Management Information Processing: A Review of the Applied Literature BIBA 309-318
  Joel D. Nicholson; Nick Maddox; William P. Anthony; Walt Wheatley
Cognitive systems for receiving, processing, storing, and using information are of fundamental importance for managers. (Ungson et al. 1981, Schank and Abelson 1977, Isenberg 1986, Axelrod 1972, 1976, Boynton and Zmud 1984, Lord 1985). Hogarth (1987) has demonstrated that judgements are made in reference to other information sources or to cues during decision-making. References or cues may be either induced imaginally or perceived environmentally. Hogarth specifies two conditions that influence references and cues:
  • 1. Availability of information: If there is plenty of information, there is
        also likely to be a good cue context upon which the decision-maker can
        draw. If there is information scarcity, the decision-maker will struggle
        to find salient cues and will tend to rely on habitual responses.
  • 2. Effects of data presentation: As noted, task directions and instructions are
        cues that influence decision-maker strategies. Choice evolves as the
        individual references available cues, adjusts his or her strategies based
        on cues, and selects a course of action. This paper reviews the pertinent literature on the role that cues or symbols play in structuring and processing information in problem-solving and decision-making.
  • Some Surprising Differences between Novice and Expert Errors in Computerized Office Work BIBA 319-328
      Jochen Prumper; Dieter Zapf; Felix C. Brodbeck; Michael Frese
    This paper investigates the impact of different levels of expertise on errors in human-computer interaction. In a field study 174 clerical workers from 12 different companies were observed during their normal office work and were questioned on their expertise with computers. The level of expertise was determined by (a) the length of time an employee had worked with a computer (computer expertise); (b) the number of programs s/he knew (program expertise); and (c) the daily time s/he spent working with the computer (daily work-time expertise). These different operationalizations of novices and experts led to different results. In contrast to widespread assumptions, experts did not make fewer errors than novices (except in knowledge errors). On the other hand, experts spent less time handling the errors than novices. A cluster analysis produced four groups in the workforce: occasional users, frequent users, beginners, and general users.
    The Influence of Computerized Feedback on Overconfidence in Knowledge BIBAK 329-333
      Dan Zakay
    Subjects were tested on general knowledge questions. They had to give their answer to each question and to state their level of confidence in its correctness. This was done under four conditions: by a paper and pencil test with and without feedback; and by computerized testing, again, with and without feedback. All in all, subjects demonstrated overconfidence in their knowledge under all conditions. However, feedback by a computerized system was effective in reducing the overconfidence level. The implications of this finding to the domain of computer-based educational systems is discussed.
    Keywords: Computerized feedback, Overconfidence, Computerized testing

    Short Paper

    Time Course of Contrast Adaptation to VDU-Displayed Text BIBAK 334-337
      Svein Magnussen; Stein Dyrnes; Mark W. Greenlee; Knut Nordby; Reidulf Watten
    VDU text-editing induces contrast adaptation at the predominant spatial frequencies (periodicity) of the text page. Visual contrast sensitivity was tested after 10 and 60 min reading of VDU-displayed text of positive and negative contrast polarity. Contrast sensitivity impairments in the order of 0.4 to 0.7 log unit change in contrast thresholds were observed. This contrast threshold elevation after-effect decays as a power function of time, with time required to recover from adaptation approximately corresponding to the reading times. At low spatial frequencies (horizontal periodicity of rows), displays of negative polarity induce stronger contrast adaptation than displays of positive polarity at medium spatial frequencies (vertical periodicity of characters) no effect of contrast polarity was observed. The results are discussed in relation to VDU-induced visual fatigue.
    Keywords: VDU, Text editing, Contrast adaptation, Recovery
    Job Satisfaction and Visual Display Unit (VDU) Usage: An Explanatory Model BIBA 338-344
      Jane M. Carey
    This study explores the relationship between job satisfaction and the daily usage of visual display units (VDUs). A negative correlation is found to exist between job satisfaction and utilization of the VDU. Workers who have utilized the VDU alone for data entry were more satisfied with their jobs than those workers who had used the key punch for data entry and then switched to the VDU, although they said they preferred the VDU over the key punch. The following model was found to be statistically significant:
       Job satisfaction = f(-VDU Usage + Supervisor intervention +
        Team membership + job utility - performance
        of the task)

    Case Study

    What Price Usability Audits? The Introduction of Electronic Mail into a User Organization BIBA 345-353
      Bharat Malde
    This case study charts the course of the attempts to introduce electronic mail into a large public sector organization. It outlines the main facets and findings of a usability audit. It discusses and interprets the main messages from the evaluation, and offers a number of personal and organization factors other than the strict findings of an ergonomic audit that will influence the take-up of a major software application in a real-life setting.

    Book Review

    "Human-Computer Interaction (Research Directions in Cognitive Science: European Perspectives, Vol. 3)," edited by J. Rasmussen, H. B. Anderson, and N. O. Bernsen BIB 354-355
      Liam Bannon