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Human-Computer Interaction 15

Editors:Thomas P. Moran
Publisher:Lawrence Erlbaum Associates
Standard No:ISSN 0737-0024
Links:Table of Contents
  1. HCI 2000 Volume 15 Issue 1
  2. HCI 2000 Volume 15 Issue 2/3
  3. HCI 2000 Volume 15 Issue 4

HCI 2000 Volume 15 Issue 1

Analyzing Human-Computer Interaction as Distributed Cognition: The Resources Model BIBA 1-41
  Peter C. Wright; Robert E. Fields; Michael D. Harrison
In this article we present a new approach to interaction modeling based on the concept of information resources. The approach is inspired by recent distributed cognition (DC) literature but develops a model that applies specifically to human-computer interaction (HCI) modeling. Of course, there are many approaches to modeling HCI, and the motivation of this article is not to offer yet another approach. Rather, our motivation is that the recent developments in DC are so obviously relevant to HCI modeling and design, yet the ideas have lacked visibility in the HCI community. By providing a model whose concepts are rooted in DC concepts, we hope to achieve this visibility. DC research identifies resources for action as central to the interaction between people and technologies, but it stops short of providing a definition of such resources at a level that could be used to analyze interaction. The resources model described in this article defines a limited number of resource types as abstract information structures that can be used to analyze interaction. We demonstrate how these abstract types can be represented differently in an interface. The resources model uses the concept of interaction strategy to describe the way in which different configurations of resources can differently shape users' actions. These 2 components of the resources model (information structures and interaction strategies), through the process of coordination and integration, provide a link among devices, representations, and actions that is not well articulated in the DC literature.
Understanding the Relation Between Network Quality of Service and the Usability of Distributed Multimedia Documents BIBA 43-68
  Andrew Sears; Julie A. Jacko
Network quality of service, as manifest in the delays users experience, effects both user perceptions and performance. Unfortunately, existing research on the usability of network-based documents and applications does not always adequately address the issue of network delays. In this article, we assert that researchers must document, and should consider manipulating, the delays users experience during studies exploring the usability of network-based computing systems. This article provides an overview of the factors that contribute to the delays users experience and the issues involved in modeling these delays. It also provides advice on how delays should be documented and discusses the advantages and disadvantages of the various techniques available for integrating delays into usability studies and controlled experiments. The existing literature reports numerous inconsistent results, which may be due to different experimental designs, participants, tasks, independent variables, and dependent variables. Therefore, this article concludes by outlining the experimental design considerations that must be considered as the relation between network quality of service and the usability of network-based computing systems is investigated. The result is a framework that will guide future research and allow more effective comparisons of the results of that research.

HCI 2000 Volume 15 Issue 2/3

Introduction to This Special Issue on New Agendas for Human-Computer Interaction BIB 69-74
  Wendy A. Kellogg; Clayton Lewis; Peter Polson
Let's Stop Pushing the Envelope and Start Addressing It: A Reference Task Agenda for HCI BIBA 75-106
  Steve Whittaker; Loren Terveen; Bonnie A. Nardi
We identify a problem with the process of research in the human-computer interaction (HCI) community-an overemphasis on "radical invention" at the price of achieving a common research focus. Without such a focus, it is difficult to build on previous work, to compare different interaction techniques objectively, and to make progress in developing theory. These problems at the research level have implications for practice, too; as researchers we often are unable to give principled design advice to builders of new systems. We propose that the HCI community try to achieve a common focus around the notion of reference tasks. We offer arguments for the advantages of this approach as well as consider potential difficulties. We explain how reference tasks have been highly effective in focusing research into information retrieval and speech recognition. We discuss what factors have to be considered in selecting HCI reference tasks and present an example reference task (for searching speech archives). This example illustrates the nature of reference tasks and points to the issues and problems involved in constructing and using them. We conclude with recommendations about what steps need to be taken to execute the reference task research agenda. This involves recommendations about both the technical research that needs to be done and changes in the way that the HCI research community operates. The technical research involves identification of important user tasks by systematic requirements gathering, definition and operationalization of reference tasks and evaluation metrics, and execution of task-based evaluation, along with judicious use of field trials. Perhaps more important, we have also suggested changes in community practice that HCI must adopt to make the reference tasks idea work. We must create forums for discussion of common tasks and methods by which people can compare systems and techniques. Only by doing this can the notion of reference tasks be integrated into the process of research and development, enabling the field to achieve the focus it desperately needs.
The Strategic Use of Complex Computer Systems BIBA 107-137
  Suresh K. Bhavnani; Bonnie E. John
Several studies show that despite experience, many users with basic command knowledge do not progress to an efficient use of complex computer applications. These studies suggest that knowledge of tasks and knowledge of tools are insufficient to lead users to become efficient. To address this problem, we argue that users also need to learn strategies in the intermediate layers of knowledge lying between tasks and tools. These strategies are (a) efficient because they exploit specific powers of computers, (b) difficult to acquire because they are suggested by neither tasks nor tools, and (c) general in nature having wide applicability. The above characteristics are first demonstrated in the context of aggregation strategies that exploit the iterative power of computers. A cognitive analysis of a real-world task reveals that even though such aggregation strategies can have large effects on task time, errors, and on the quality of the final product, they are not often used by even experienced users. We identify other strategies beyond aggregation that can be efficient and useful across computer applications and show how they were used to develop a new approach to training with promising results. We conclude by suggesting that a systematic analysis of strategies in the intermediate layers of knowledge can lead not only to more effective ways to design training but also to more principled approaches to design systems. These advances should lead users to make more efficient use of complex computer systems.
Distance Matters BIBA 139-178
  Gary M. Olson; Judith S. Olson
Giant strides in information technology at the turn of the century may have unleashed unreachable goals. With the invention of groupware, people expect to communicate easily with each other and accomplish difficult work even though they are remotely located or rarely overlap in time. Major corporations launch global teams, expecting that technology will make "virtual collocation" possible. Federal research money encourages global science through the establishment of "collaboratories." We review over 10 years of field and laboratory investigations of collocated and noncollocated synchronous group collaborations. In particular, we compare collocated work with remote work as it is possible today and comment on the promise of remote work tomorrow. We focus on the sociotechnical conditions required for effective distance work and bring together the results with four key concepts: common ground, coupling of work, collaboration readiness, and collaboration technology readiness. Groups with high common ground and loosely coupled work, with readiness both for collaboration and collaboration technology, have a chance at succeeding with remote work. Deviations from each of these create strain on the relationships among teammates and require changes in the work or processes of collaboration to succeed. Often they do not succeed because distance still matters.
The Intellectual Challenge of CSCW: The Gap Between Social Requirements and Technical Feasibility BIBA 181-203
  Mark S. Ackerman
Over the last 10 years, Computer-Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW) has identified a base set of findings. These findings are taken almost as assumptions within the field. In summary, they argue that human activity is highly flexible, nuanced, and contextualized and that computational entities such as information sharing, roles, and social norms need to be similarly flexible, nuanced, and contextualized. However, current systems cannot fully support the social world uncovered by these findings. In this article I argue that there is an inherent gap between the social requirements of CSCW and its technical mechanisms. The social-technical gap is the divide between what we know we must support socially and what we can support technically. Exploring, understanding, and hopefully ameliorating this social-technical gap is the central challenge for CSCW as a field and one of the central problems for human-computer interaction. Indeed, merely attesting the continued centrality of this gap could be one of the important intellectual contributions of CSCW. I also argue that the challenge of the social-technical gap creates an opportunity to refocus CSCW.
Future Design Mindful of the MoRAS BIBA 207-261
  George W. Furnas
As human-computer interaction (HCI) expands its scope, the proper context for the design of information technology (IT) is increasingly an interconnected mosaic of responsive adaptive systems (MoRAS) including people's heads, organizations, communities, markets, and cultures. The introduction of IT not only perturbs the individual systems but also critically changes the coupling structure of the whole mosaic that comprises them. These various systems respond and adapt to these changes, in effect undertaking their own sort of "design" efforts, sometimes at odds with explicit intentions. The need to understand the role of all these different systems in the outcome explains why IT design has become an increasingly interdisciplinary effort. It is likely that our designs will be more successful if we become more mindful of this bigger picture. This article discusses the motivations for the MoRAS perspective; briefly sketches the MoRAS itself; and presents some tales that illustrate its dynamics, the role of IT within it, and the implications for the future trajectory of HCI. The article concludes with design implications and an agenda for furthering the framework.

HCI 2000 Volume 15 Issue 4

Designing the User Interface for Multimodal Speech and Pen-Based Gesture Applications: State-of-the-Art Systems and Future Research Directions BIBA 263-322
  Sharon Oviatt; Phil Cohen; Lizhong Wu; Lisbeth Duncan; Bernhard Suhm; Josh Bers; Thomas Holzman; Terry Winograd; James Landay; Jim Larson; David Ferro
The growing interest in multimodal interface design is inspired in large part by the goals of supporting more transparent, flexible, efficient, and powerfully expressive means of human-computer interaction than in the past. Multimodal interfaces are expected to support a wider range of diverse applications, be usable by a broader spectrum of the average population, and function more reliably under realistic and challenging usage conditions. In this article, we summarize the emerging architectural approaches for interpreting speech and pen-based gestural input in a robust manner-including early and late fusion approaches, and the new hybrid symbolic-statistical approach. We also describe a diverse collection of state-of-the-art multimodal systems that process users' spoken and gestural input. These applications range from map-based and virtual reality systems for engaging in simulations and training, to field medic systems for mobile use in noisy environments, to web-based transactions and standard text-editing applications that will reshape daily computing and have a significant commercial impact. To realize successful multimodal systems of the future, many key research challenges remain to be addressed. Among these challenges are the development of cognitive theories to guide multimodal system design, and the development of effective natural language processing, dialogue processing, and error-handling techniques. In addition, new multimodal systems will be needed that can function more robustly and adaptively, and with support for collaborative multiperson use. Before this new class of systems can proliferate, toolkits also will be needed to promote software development for both simulated and functioning systems.
Troubles With the Internet: The Dynamics of Help at Home BIBA 323-351
  Sara Kiesler; Bozena Zdaniuk; Vicki Lundmark; Robert Kraut
Despite advances in technology, nearly everyone experiences technical challenges using home computers and the Internet. In a field trial of household Internet usage, 89% of 93 families needed support from a computer help desk in the 1st year they used the Internet. However, usually only the most technically involved members of the family requested external technical support, and this behavior was associated with other computer-related behaviors in the household. We explore the process by which a family member with comparatively high technical skill or enthusiasm, often a teenager, becomes the family guru, makes external support requests, and becomes the person in the family to whom others turn for technical help. The family guru benefits from this role, influences the household's adoption of technology, and represents an important link between households and computer support professionals. The role also is a fascinating example of the evolution of intergeneration relationships.
Prototyping Praxis: Constructing Computer Systems and Building Belief BIBA 353-383
  Douglas Tudhope; Paul Beynon-Davies; Hugh Mackay
This article explores the consequences of the uncertainty introduced into the system-development life cycle by a prototyping approach and the practical strategies employed by developers in prototyping projects. Drawing on various strands of the sociology of technology, the article discusses findings from a multidisciplinary research project, which investigated the use of prototyping in commercial information systems development in the United Kingdom during the period 1995 to 1998. Qualitative semistructured interviews with commercial practitioners were followed by a series of mini case studies. We draw on interview and participant observation material and the practitioner literature on Rapid Application Development. In the course of the project, we encountered a variety of practical strategies that attempted to extend the sphere of developers' influence beyond the technical realm to affect (but not determine) how the user and customer participate in the development process. Various techniques attempt to create a climate of joint ownership and shared approaches to change management. For example, the role of an ambassador user encompasses shaping the environment in which the system will operate via information, training, and advocacy. Rather than a cause-and-effect model from user requirements to specification to implementation, developer strategies usefully can be considered in terms of sociological work on reflexive elaboration of networks. From this perspective, prototyping is more akin to trying to stabilize a network of evolving prototypes, user expectations, requirements, and working practices than meeting a fixed specification.