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Human-Computer Interaction 8

Editors:Thomas P. Moran
Publisher:Lawrence Erlbaum Associates
Standard No:ISSN 0737-0024
Links:Table of Contents
  1. HCI 1993 Volume 8 Issue 1
  2. HCI 1993 Volume 8 Issue 2
  3. HCI 1993 Volume 8 Issue 3
  4. HCI 1993 Volume 8 Issue 4

HCI 1993 Volume 8 Issue 1


An Empirical Evaluation of Some Articulatory and Cognitive Aspects of Marking Menus BIBA 1-23
  Gordon P. Kurtenbach; Abigail J. Sellen; William A. S. Buxton
We describe marking menus, an extension of pie menus, which are well suited for stylus-based interfaces. Pie menus are circular menus subdivided into sectors, each of which might correspond to a different command. One moves the cursor from the center of the pie into the desired sector. Marking menus are invisible pie menus in which the movement of the cursor during a selection leaves an "ink trail" similar to a pen stroke on paper. The combination of a pie menu and a marking menu supports an efficient transition from novice to expert performance. Novices can "pop-up" a pie menu and make a selection, whereas experts can simply make the corresponding mark without waiting for the menu to appear.
   This article describes an experiment in which we explored both articulatory and cognitive aspects of marking menus for different numbers of items per menu and using different input devices (mouse, trackball, and stylus). The articulatory aspects are how well subjects could execute the physical actions necessary to select from pie marking menus. Articulatory aspects were investigated by presenting one group of subjects with the task of selecting from fully visible menus. Because one feature of marking menus is that users should be able to select from them without seeing the menus (by making a mark), we also ran two groups of subjects with invisible pie menus: one group with an ink trail and one without. These subjects were therefore faced with the task of either mentally representing the menu or associating marks with the commands they invoked through practice. These then are the cognitive aspects to which we refer. Our results indicate that subjects' performance degraded as the number of items increased. When menus were hidden, however, subjects performance did not degrade as rapidly when menus contained even numbers of items. We also found subjects performed better with the mouse and stylus than with the trackball.
Internalization and the Use Specificity of Device Knowledge BIBA 25-56
  Peter A. Bibby; Stephen J. Payne
Four experiments were performed to test the relationship between instructionally derived knowledge and practice in the use of a simple device. Using a derivative of Kieras and Bovair's (1984) device, we show that different subjects can be given instructions that convey equivalent information but that lead to crossovers in the time to perform different tasks (i.e., one task is easier with one set of instructions, a second task is easier with other instructions).
   Experiment 1 shows that the performance crossover between question types perseveres when subjects relinquish the instructions, after they have been committed to memory. Experiment 2 shows that the performance crossover perseveres over considerable experience using the device. Experiment 3 shows that the crossover can disappear if sufficient practice is given with the particular question types. Experiments 2 and 3 taken together suggest that subjects may only be able to overcome the computational disadvantages of their initial instructional material by adopting task-specific strategies. Experiment 4 shows that when new problems are introduced after the point at which the crossover disappears then a new crossover appears, implying that, even with extended practice of operating the device and solving problems on the device, some features of the initial instructional device description are preserved and continue to determine the users' behavior. We argue that a definition of internalization coupled with Anderson's (1983, 1987) ACT* theory of skill acquisition provides a good account of these results.
A Wizard of Oz Study of Advice Giving and Following BIBA 57-81
  William C. Hill
To guide the design of advice-offering user-assistance software, "Wizard of Oz" techniques were used to observe the interaction between users of a graphical statistical package and a human playing the role of a simulated intelligent advisory system. The results emphasize the complexities of advisory processes. Video data for 34 cases of advice seeking, giving, and following were analyzed in detail. The evidence indicates that clients followed prescriptive advice effectively and efficiently in slightly more than half the cases. For other cases, clients performed twice as many actions as needed in three times as much time and never reached prescribed states. A hypothesis that observed advice-following difficulties were correlated with advice abstractness was not supported. Rather, it seems advice did not match well with client's knowledge of the system. Impacts on advisory system design are discussed.

HCI 1993 Volume 8 Issue 2


Understanding Calendar Use BIBA 83-100
  Stephen J. Payne
This article is an interview study of calendar use and a cognitive analysis of the interactions between the design of calendars and the task of prospective remembering.
   The study and analysis are coordinated to present a general critique of current electronic calendar designs and to note opportunities for future designs. The interview data reveal continued use of paper calendars in a highly computerized setting. A key conclusion is that paper calendars support prospective remembering by promoting browsing of existing appointments during subsequent calendar keeping but that this advantage is compromised in current electronic designs. Other aspects of the interviews and the analyses address the representational limitations of both paper and electronic calendars.
   This research explores a methodology in which design implications of qualitative empirical data are understood and systematized through theoretical analyses of existing artifacts.
Automated Protocol Analysis BIBA 101-145
  John B. Smith; Dana Kay Smith; Eileen Kupstas
Over the past 8 years, The TextLab Research Group within the Department of Computer Science at the University of North Carolina has developed a collection of tools and techniques for recording users' interactions with graphics-based direct manipulation computer systems in machine-readable form and for automatically analyzing and displaying those data. This article describes these tools, discusses their methodological context, and considers their implications for software design and studies of human-computer interaction.
   Tools discussed include the following: tracking users' behaviors and producing a machine-recorded protocol at the level of users' actions, replaying users' sessions from the protocol data, modeling users' strategies using formal cognitive grammars, analyzing user sessions by parsing them with the grammars, and displaying results in visual form -- both static and animated -- to facilitate interpretation and understanding by researchers. These tools are placed in a methodological context by reviewing issues associated with concurrent think-aloud, keystroke, X-Windows, and video protocols; other support systems for working with these forms of protocol data are also reviewed. The discussion concludes with our reflections on the methodology and its application to computer systems and research objectives different from our own.
Text-Based On-Line Conferencing: A Conceptual and Empirical Analysis Using a Minimal Prototype BIBA 147-183
  John C. McCarthy; Victoria C. Miles; Andrew F. Monk; Michael D. Harrison; Alan J. Dix; Peter C. Wright
This article is concerned with an analysis of the requirements for text-based on-line conferencing. From a system perspective, text-based on-line conferencing can be viewed as either message passing or data sharing. These complementary views give rise to different design dimensions. For example, the message-passing view is concerned with granularity, channels, message labels, and so on. The data-sharing view is concerned with the access different individuals have to the text: read only, appending, editing, pointing, and so on. A deliberately sparse prototype was built and placed in this design space. This minimal prototype has limited functionality so that the real problems experienced by users can show through. Relevant literature from disciplines such as social psychology, conversational analysis, and linguistics is briefly reviewed in terms of three generic communication tasks: synchronizing communication, maintaining structural coherence, and maintaining referents. An empirical analysis of subjects' use of the sparse prototype was analyzed to establish the relevance of the generic communication tasks to text-based on-line conferencing. Possible forms that support for these tasks might take are discussed.


Predicting the Skilled Use of Hierarchical Menus With the Keystroke-Level Model BIBA 185-192
  David M. Lane; H. Albert Napier; Richard R. Batsell; John L. Naman
This article addresses a key question in the application of Card, Moran, and Newell's (1983) keystroke-level model to software in which users specify a command by working through a system of hierarchical menus. For example, to insert a row in Lotus 1-2-3, the user makes three menu choices: W for worksheet, I for insert, and R for row. In the keystroke-level model, it is assumed that a time-consuming mental operation precedes each command. The question in the application of the keystroke-level model to hierarchical menu systems is whether the keystrokes WIR in the previous example constitute the execution of three commands and thus require three mental operations or whether WIR acts as a single command and requires only one mental operation. Data were collected from four highly experienced Lotus 1-2-3 users as they went about their day-to-day work. Strong evidence that only one mental operation is involved in choosing from a hierarchical menu system was obtained. We hypothesize that the discrepancy of our results from the data of others is due to the fact that our subjects were more experienced. The implications of fur findings for the design of menus is discussed.

HCI 1993 Volume 8 Issue 3


Animated Demonstrations for Learning Procedural Computer-Based Tasks BIBA 193-216
  Susan Palmiter; Jay Elkerton
Animated demonstrations display the execution of interface procedures. They appear to be a natural and fast way for users to learn direct-manipulation interfaces by watching. To assess their effectiveness for users learning HyperCard, we compared carefully matched animated demonstrations, procedural textual instructions, and demonstrations combined with spoken procedural text. During training, demonstration users were faster and more accurate than text-only users. Without the instructions, 7 days later, text-only users were faster and as accurate as demonstration users in recalling and performing identical and similar tasks without the instructions. Surprisingly, users of the combined demonstrations with spoken text closely mirrored the results of the demonstration-only users. The poor retention and transfer for the demonstration users appeared to be due to mimicry of the demonstrated procedures. Even with accompanying spoken text, the simplicity of using animated demonstrations may encourage superficial processing and disregard for the procedural text.
Who Controls the Technology in Group Support Systems? Determinants and Consequences BIBA 217-236
  Laurel C. Austin; Jeffrey K. Liker; Poppy L. McLeod
Student groups completed a rank-ordering task in a "low-structure" computerized meeting room where all group members had equal access to a shared computer with a large monitor. Strategies used by the groups to distribute control over the public monitor, determinants of which members took control, and the consequences of control strategies were examined. Groups adopted either a dedicated-scribe strategy, in which one member had control throughout the session, or a non-dedicated-scribe strategy, in which control of the public monitor passed among members. Groups with at least one member who had low proficiency with the technology were very likely to adopt a dedicated-scribe strategy. Social influence within the group, proficiency with the computer system, and gender predicted which group members would take control of the public monitor. The results suggest that a group's social structure may be altered by the use of low-structure computer support, depending on the distribution of technical proficiency in the group. Dedicated-scribe groups had marginally better task performance but reported less increase in satisfaction (over previous work together) than non-dedicated-scribe groups. The implications of this research for the design and use of group computer support are discussed.
Project Ernestine: Validating a GOMS Analysis for Predicting and Explaining Real-World Task Performance BIBA 237-309
  Wayne D. Gray; Bonnie E. John; Michael E. Atwood
Project Ernestine served a pragmatic as well as a scientific goal: to compare the worktimes of telephone company toll and assistance operators on two different workstations and to validate a GOMS analysis for predicting and explaining real-world performance. Contrary to expectations, GOMS predicted and the data confirmed that performance with the proposed workstation was slower than with the current one. Pragmatically, this increase in performance time translates into a cost of almost $2 million a year to NYNEX. Scientifically, the GOMS models predicted performance with exceptional accuracy.
   The empirical data provided us with three interesting results: proof that the new workstation was slower than the old one, evidence that this difference was not constant but varied with call category, and (in a trial that spanned 4 months and collected data on 72,450 phone calls) proof that performance on the new workstation stabilized after the first month. The GOMS models predicted the first two results and explained all three.
   In this article, we discuss the process and results of model building as well as the design and outcome of the field trial. We assess the accuracy of GOMS predictions and use the mechanisms of the models to explain the empirical results. Last, we demonstrate how the GOMS models can be used to guide the design of a new workstation and evaluate design decisions before they are implemented.

HCI 1993 Volume 8 Issue 4


Using ITS to Create an Insurance Industry Application: A Joint Case Study BIBA 311-336
  Stephen J. Boies; Jacob P. Ukelson; John D. Gould; David Anderson; Watt Babecki; Jerry Clifford
In a joint case study, IBM and Continental Insurance evaluated the use of a new software development environment (called ITS) to implement a portion of an important Continental Insurance underwriting application. IBM and Continental's data-processing management jointly concluded that ITS (a) is fairly easy to learn and use; (b) substantially reduces application development time; (c) is capable of doing a range of Continental applications; and (d) produces applications that are easier to maintain over the years as usage patterns, insurance laws, and evolving technology require that these applications be changed.
Is It Easier to Hop or Walk? Development Issues in Interface Design BIBA 337-352
  Erik F. Strommen
Thirty-six 3-year-old children used a Nintendo controller to play a simple video game that required the child to capture both moving and stationary onscreen targets by positioning a Sesame Street character under them, then making the character jump to capture them. Two different forms of character movement were tested: moving in discrete steps ("hopping") and moving in a smooth, continuous motion ("walking"). Targets were the same for both movement types. Results indicated that, although there was no difference between movement types in number of targets successfully captured, continuous movement was significantly more challenging for children, both when positioning the cursor and when trying to capture targets. Results are discussed with reference to possible cognitive factors governing children's game performance, and implications for the design of interactive materials for preschoolers are considered.
A Cognitive Model for Understanding Graphical Perception BIBA 353-388
  Gerald Lee Lohse
This article describes a computer program, UCIE (Understanding Cognitive Information Engineering) that simulates graphical perception. UCIE predicts response time to answer a question posed to a graphic display from assumptions about the sequence of eye fixations, short-term memory capacity and duration limits, and the degree of difficulty to acquire information in each glance. An empirical study compared actual performance to UCIE predictions over a range of display types and question types. The results yielded some support for the cognitive model. A zero-parameter model explains 37% of the variance in average reaction times (N = 1,128). However, the zero-parameter model only explains about 10% of the individual variation in reaction times across 28 subjects (N = 15,200). Although this is an important start to understand how we interpret visual displays for meaning, additional research is needed to explain individual differences in performance.
Conversations Over Video Conferences: An Evaluation of the Spoken Aspects of Video-Mediated Communication BIBA 389-428
  Brid O'Conaill; Steve Whittaker; Sylvia Wilbur
Recent trends toward telecommuting, mobile work, and wider distribution of the work force, combined with reduced technology costs, have made video communications more attractive as a means of supporting informal remote interaction. In the past, however, video communications have never gained widespread acceptance. Here we identify possible reasons for this by examining how the spoken characteristics of video-mediated communication differ from face-to-face interaction, for a series of real meetings. We evaluate two wide-area systems. One uses readily available Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) lines but suffers the limitations of transmission lags, a half-duplex line, and poor quality video. The other uses optical transmission and video-switching technology with negligible delays, full duplex audio, and broadcast quality video
   To analyze the effects of video systems on conversation, we begin with a series of conversational characteristics that have been shown to be important in face-to-face interaction. We identify properties of the communication channel in face-to-face interaction that are necessary to support these characteristics, namely, that it has low transmission lags, it is two way, and it uses multiple modalities. We compare these channel properties with those of the two video-conferencing systems and predict how their different channel properties will affect spoken conversation. As expected, when compared with face-to-face interaction, communication using the ISDN system was found to have longer conversational turns; fewer interruptions, overlaps, and backchannels; and increased formality when switching speakers. Communication over the system with broadcast quality audio and video was more similar to face-to-face meetings, although it did not replicate face-to-face interaction. Contrary to our expectations, formal techniques were still used to achieve speaker switching. We suggest that these may be necessary because of the absence of certain speaker-switching cues. The results imply that the advent of high-speed multimedia networking will improve but not remove all the problems of video conferencing as an interpersonal communications tool, and we describe possible solutions to the outstanding problems.