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Human-Computer Interaction 13

Editors:Thomas P. Moran
Publisher:Lawrence Erlbaum Associates
Standard No:ISSN 0737-0024
Links:Table of Contents
  1. HCI 1998 Volume 13 Issue 1
  2. HCI 1998 Volume 13 Issue 2
  3. HCI 1998 Volume 13 Issue 3
  4. HCI 1998 Volume 13 Issue 4

HCI 1998 Volume 13 Issue 1

Promoting Active Learning: The Role of System Structure in Learning from Hypertext BIBA 1-35
  Amy M. Shapiro
Since its conception, hypertext has attracted the attention of educators and psychologists alike. Although a great deal is known about learning from text, little is understood about the process of learning from hypertext or what benefit it offers over traditional text. This study is an attempt to (a) determine whether theories of learning from text may be extended to learning from hypertext, and (b) learn more about the general effectiveness of hypertext on learning. Seventy-two college undergraduates participated in a study of hypertext-based learning. Each participant was assigned to work with one of three hypertext systems. All systems contained the same documents. Two of these contained the same electronic links (pathways) between documents and the third system condition served as a control. It was presented as a digitized book (linear text) rather than as a linked system. Participants' navigation behavior was logged electronically as they worked. Posttests included an essay, a series of short-answer questions, and a concept mapping task. Analyses revealed that learning from hypertext bears many similarities to learning from text, as the predictions made by Kintsch's (1988) construction integration model were borne out. System structure systematically altered what was learned from hypertext, just as characteristics of text alter text-based learning. System structure was also relevant to the way in which learners approached the material, as navigation behavior was affected. The less structured system seems to have promoted more active processing and a deeper level of learning. In addition, hypertext was revealed to have only limited educational benefit for users in this study. Although no benefit of either hypertext system was observed over the linear system on the essay or short-answer questions, it was revealed that the presence of system links affects internal representations: Participants who were exposed to the hypertext systems produced concept maps that largely reflected their system links. Results are examined with reference to cognitive theory and the implication for system design is discussed.
The Work of IT System Developers in Context: An Organizational Case Study BIBA 37-71
  Gillian Symon
The HCI community has become increasingly interested in analyzing the organizational context of systems design (e.g., Curtis, Krasner, & Iscoe, 1988). Previous work has focused on product development organizations in identifying organizational constraints on the work of system designers (Grudin, 1991b). This case study focuses on the working practices of internal system developers as they both developed a new IT system for the organization and managed the concomitant process of change. Here the organizational context (in terms of shared beliefs, politics and inter- and intragroup relations) is seen as informing both the manner in which the project was conducted and, to some extent, the customization of the product. The role of internal system developers as organizational change agents is highlighted, with emphasis on their image management and political strategies in effecting change.
Cognitive Support: Extending Human Knowledge and Processing Capacities BIBA 73-106
  Mark A. Neerincx; H. Paul de Greef
The idea of aiding as cognitive support is to offer the user the knowledge he or she is missing. Recently, we developed a design method for aiding that is based on explicit requirements of the human problem solver. This proved to be able to supplement a lack of human knowledge in a statistical analysis task. In this article we extend the aiding concept to time-pressured tasks and we investigate whether aiding can supplement lack of knowledge and capacity under tasks with high mental loading, such as dealing with irregularities in process control. We developed a simulator of the workplace of a railway traffic controller with an aiding function for dealing with irregularities (e.g., a switch getting out of order). Application of the design method proved to be possible for this task. We then conducted an experiment to study effects of the aiding on task performance, mental effort, and learning under low and high task load conditions. Users of the simulator dealt better and faster with irregularities when the computer provided aiding. The higher the task load was, the larger this beneficial effect was. For theory about human-computer interaction, this research points to possible positive effects of aiding on performance and learning as a consequence of reducing cognitive demands.

HCI 1998 Volume 13 Issue 2

Understanding Representation in Design BIBA 107-125
  Susanne Bødker
Representing computer applications and their use is an important aspect of design. In various ways, designers need to externalize design proposals and present them to other designers, users, or managers. This article deals with understanding design representations and the work they do in design. The article is based on a series of theoretical concepts coming out of studies of scientific and other work practices and on practical experiences from design of computer applications. The article presents alternatives to the ideas that design representations are mappings of present or future work situations and computer applications. It suggests that representations are primarily containers of ideas and that representation is situated at the same time as representations are crossing boundaries between various design and use activities. As such, representations should be carriers of their own contexts regarding use and design. The article proposes that abstraction, elevating the representation from the situation, is not the only way to do this, and it proposes alternatives.
Developing and Using Interaction Coding Systems for Studying Groupware Use BIBA 127-165
  Timothy Nyerges; T. J. Moore; Robb Montejano; Marcie Compton
Groupware use can be described as a process of social (human-computer-human) interaction. For example, small groups can use a group-based geographic information system (GIS) to share maps and decision tables during a discussion about selection of sites for salmon habitat improvement in Seattle, Washington. Empirical research about groupware use is intended to improve our understanding of the dynamics of the process, as well as improve our understanding of the development requirements for information technology. Gaining a detailed understanding of the human-computer-human interaction process requires reasonably unobtrusive observation-for example, using video cameras to capture and replay the ebb and flow of interaction. From each replay of videotape we can abstract a different research view, hence characterize the ebb and flow of interaction from a different perspective, giving us deeper insight into the interaction. Interpreting and synthesizing the raw observations to make sense of "what went on during interaction" can be accomplished through the use of interaction coding systems. In this article, we report on the development of three interaction coding systems that were created for studying the use of a group-based, research prototype GIS software, called Spatial Group Choice. We wrote this article to help researchers compare approaches to the development of coding systems and compare the value of their use. Despite previous use of coding systems by others, there are no detailed reports in the literature of how researchers devised their coding systems. We discuss in detail the process of creating and using such coding systems, describing the advantages and disadvantages of performing interaction coding to foster an understanding of group dynamics in different settings and for designing new groupware.
MUST: A Method for Participatory Design BIBA 167-198
  Finn Kensing; Jesper Simonsen; Keld Bødker
The article presents a conceptual framework and a coherent method for design in an organizational context within the participatory design tradition. The MUST method has been developed throughout 10 projects in Danish and American organizations, and it has recently been evaluated and adopted by 3 Danish organizations. The method is based on thorough participation with users and managers, and it combines the use of ethnographic techniques and intervention. The article describes the application area and perspective of the method, presents 6 general principles on which the method is based, and describes 5 main activities providing a stepwise decision-making process in the overall design process. Each of the main activities is illustrated by an example taken from our last project. The article concludes by summing up the main points.

HCI 1998 Volume 13 Issue 3

Introduction to This Special Issue on Experimental Comparisons of Usability Evaluation Methods BIB 199-201
  Gary M. Olson; Thomas P. Moran
Damaged Merchandise? A Review of Experiments That Compare Usability Evaluation Methods BIBA 203-261
  Wayne D. Gray; Marilyn C. Salzman
An interest in the design of interfaces has been a core topic for researchers and practitioners in the field of human-computer interaction (HCI); an interest in the design of experiments has not. To the extent that reliable and valid guidance for the former depends on the results of the latter, it is necessary that researchers and practitioners understand how small features of an experimental design can cast large shadows over the results and conclusions that can be drawn. In this review we examine the design of 5 experiments that compared usability evaluation methods (UEMs). Each has had an important influence on HCI thought and practice. Unfortunately, our examination shows that small problems in the way these experiments were designed and conducted call into serious question what we thought we knew regarding the efficacy of various UEMs. If the influence of these experiments were trivial, then such small problems could be safely ignored. Unfortunately, the outcomes of these experiments have been used to justify advice to practitioners regarding their choice of UEMs. Making such choices based on misleading or erroneous claims can be detrimental -- compromising the quality and integrity of the evaluation, incurring unnecessary costs, or undermining the practitioner's credibility within the design team. The experimental method is a potent vehicle that can help inform the choice of a UEM as well as help to address other HCI issues. However, to obtain the desired outcomes, close attention must be paid to experimental design.
Commentaries on "Damaged Merchandise?" BIB 263-323
Repairing Damaged Merchandise: A Rejoinder BIBA 325-335
  Wayne D. Gray; Marilyn C. Salzman
Our goal in writing "Damaged Merchandise?" (DM) was not to have the last word on the subject but to raise an awareness within the human-computer interaction (HCI) community of issues that we felt had been too long ignored or neglected. On reading the 10 commentaries from distinguished members of the HCI community, we were pleased to see that they had joined the debate and broadened the discussion. Subsequently, we were some what torn by how to proceed. Our first thought was to respond point by point, commentary by commentary. However, we refrain from addressing many specific issues here, as a full discussion would involve an article at least as long as DM. Instead we focus on a few important themes that emerged throughout our article and the ensuing discussion:
  • What is usability, how do we measure it, and what do we need to know about
       our usability evaluation methods (UEMs)?
  • Why do we find ourselves where we are?
  • What is the role of experiments versus other empirical studies in HCI? Are
       there common issues in the design of empirical studies?
  • How do we judge the value of a study?
  • Where do we go from here?
  • HCI 1998 Volume 13 Issue 4

    Syndetic Modelling BIBA 337-393
      David J. Duke; Philip J. Barnard; David A. Duce; Jon May
    User and system models typically are viewed as independent representations that provide complementary insights into aspects of human-computer interaction. Within system development, it is usual to see the 2 activities as separate, or at best loosely coupled, with either the design artifact or some third "mediating" expression providing the context in which the results of modelling can be related. This article proposes that formal system models can be combined directly with a representation of human cognition to yield an integrated view of human-system interaction: a syndetic model. Aspects of systems that affect usability then can be described and understood in terms of the conjoint behavior of user and computer. This article introduces and discusses, in syndetic terms, 2 scenarios with markedly different properties. We show how syndesis can provide a formal foundation for reasoning about interaction.
    On "Technomethodology": Foundational Relationships between Ethnomethodology and System Design BIBA 395-432
      Paul Dourish; Graham Button
    Over the past 10 years, the use of sociologial methods and sociological reasoning have become more prominent in the analysis and design of interactive systems. For a variety of reasons, one form of sociological inquiry -- ethnomethodology -- has become something of a favored approach. Our goal in this article is to investigate the consequences of approaching system design from the ethnomethodological perspective. In particular, we are concerned with how ethnomethodology can take a foundational place in the very notion of system design, rather than simply being employed as a resource in aspects of the process, such as requirements elicitation and specification.
       We begin by outlining the basic elements of ethnomethodology and discussing the place that it has come to occupy in computer-supported cooperative work and, increasingly, in human-computer interaction. We discuss current approaches to the use of ethnomethodology in systems design, and we point to the contrast between the use of ethnomethodology for critique and for design. Currently, understandings of how to use ethnomethodology as a primary aspect of system design are lacking. We outline a new approach and present an extended example of its use. This approach takes as its starting point a relationship between ethnomethodology and system design that is a foundational, theoretical matter rather than simply one of design practice and process. From this foundation, we believe, emerges a new model of interaction with computer systems, which is based on ethnomethodological perspectives on everyday human social action.
    Concerns at Work: Designing Useful Procedures BIBA 433-457
      John C. McCarthy; Peter C. Wright; Andrew F. Monk; Leon A. Watts
    The conceptual basis for designing procedures is confused by the problematics of characterizing a relation between procedures and work practices. As they emerge from scientific management theory, procedures connote a means of rationalizing and controlling work. However, interpretations of the use of procedures reveal differences in emphasis on the work required to relate procedures to practice, from comprehending to evaluating appropriateness or reasonableness. These evaluations point to a moral character in this work, which we characterize in terms of workers' concerns. Moreover, as conceptual differences in emphasis such as these can prove intractable, we argue that a more productive approach to resolving the problematics would be to evaluate the usefulness of a sensitivity to concerns in designing procedures.
       Three brief case studies of the use of procedures in safety-critical settings point to workers making judgments when relating procedures to their practice, including judgments of the value of the procedures they were using. These cases also demonstrated the complexity of concerns that were multiple and interacting and that had spatial and temporal characteristics. A review of approaches to work that inform HCI design suggests that activity-based approaches, which contextualize goals and actions in terms of both origins and personal investment, provide the minimum meaningful context required to accommodate concerns.
       Finally, we present an analysis of the implementation of medical guidelines in Britain that exemplifies the transformation in thinking required to design practically useful procedures: from models of work that emphasize control to those that emphasize commitment, and from conceptualizations of procedures as rationalizing and controlling to conceptualizations of procedures as educational. This analysis features the sensitivity to concerns in this particular case and draws some suggestive lines from what this case reveals about concerns to the kind of contributions a sensitivity to concerns would make to a contextual design process.