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Human-Computer Interaction 16

Editors:Thomas P. Moran
Publisher:Lawrence Erlbaum Associates
Standard No:ISSN 0737-0024
Links:Table of Contents
  1. HCI 2001 Volume 16 Issue 1
  2. HCI 2001 Volume 16 Issue 2/4

HCI 2001 Volume 16 Issue 1

Note-Taking as a Strategy for Self-Explanation and Problem Solving BIBA 1-38
  J. Gregory Trafton; Susan B. Trickett
We explore the effects of interfaces to take notes on problem solving and learning in a scientific discovery domain. In 2 experiments (1 correlational, 1 experimental), participants solved a series of 5 scientific reasoning problems in a computer environment. We provided some participants with access to an online notepad and found 3 main results: (a) Using the notepad helped participants solve the problems more accurately; (b) the benefits of using the notepad persisted after participants had stopped using it; and (c) participants who used the notepad for problem solving and self-explanation learned more, regardless of the type of notepad interface that was provided. Implications for learning systems with online notepads are discussed.
Automated Eye-Movement Protocol Analysis BIBA 39-86
  Dario Salvucci; John R. Anderson
This article describes and evaluates a class of methods for performing automated analysis of eye-movement protocols. Although eye movements have become increasingly popular as a tool for investigating user behavior, they can be extremely difficult and tedious to analyze. In this article we propose an approach to automating eye-movement protocol analysis by means of tracing-relating observed eye movements to the sequential predictions of a process model. We present three tracing methods that provide fast and robust analysis and alleviate the equipment noise and individual variability prevalent in typical eye-movement protocols. We also describe three applications of the tracing methods that demonstrate how the methods facilitate the use of eye movements in the study of user behavior and the inference of user intentions.

HCI 2001 Volume 16 Issue 2/4

Introduction to This Special Issue on Context-Aware Computing BIBPDF 87-95
  Thomas P. Moran; Paul Dourish
A Conceptual Framework and a Toolkit for Supporting the Rapid Prototyping of Context-Aware Applications BIBA 97-166
  Anind K. Dey; Gregory D. Abowd; Daniel Salber
Computing devices and applications are now used beyond the desktop, in diverse environments, and this trend toward ubiquitous computing is accelerating. One challenge that remains in this emerging research field is the ability to enhance the behavior of any application by informing it of the context of its use. By context, we refer to any information that characterizes a situation related to the interaction between humans, applications, and the surrounding environment. Context-aware applications promise richer and easier interaction, but the current state of research in this field is still far removed from that vision. This is due to 3 main problems: (a) the notion of context is still ill defined, (b) there is a lack of conceptual models and methods to help drive the design of context-aware applications, and (c) no tools are available to jump-start the development of context-aware applications. In this anchor article, we address these 3 problems in turn. We first define context, identify categories of contextual information, and characterize context-aware application behavior. Though the full impact of context-aware computing requires understanding very subtle and high-level notions of context, we are focusing our efforts on the pieces of context that can be inferred automatically from sensors in a physical environment. We then present a conceptual framework that separates the acquisition and representation of context from the delivery and reaction to context by a context-aware application. We have built a toolkit, the Context Toolkit, that instantiates this conceptual framework and supports the rapid development of a rich space of context-aware applications. We illustrate the usefulness of the conceptual framework by describing a number of context-aware applications that have been prototyped using the Context Toolkit. We also demonstrate how such a framework can support the investigation of important research challenges in the area of context-aware computing.
Privacy in Context BIBA 167-176
  Mark Ackerman; Trevor Darrell; Daniel J. Weitzner
Context-aware computing offers the promise of significant user gains-the ability for systems to adapt more readily to user needs, models, and goals. Dey, Abowd, and Salber (2001 [this special issue]) present a masterful step toward understanding context-aware applications. We examine Dey et al. in the light of privacy issues-that is, individuals' control over their personal data-to highlight some of the thorny issues in context-aware computing that will be upon us soon. We argue that privacy in context-aware computing, especially those with perceptually aware environments, will be quite complex. Indeed, privacy forms a co-design space between the social, the technical, and the regulatory. We recognize that Dey et al. is a necessary first step in examining important software engineering concerns, but future research will need to consider how regulatory and technical solutions might be co-designed to form a public good.
Changing Places: Contexts of Awareness in Computing BIBA 177-192
  Philip E. Agre
By allowing any social institution to structure activity in any place, wireless information services break down the traditional mapping between institutions and places. This phenomenon greatly complicates the analysis of context for purposes of designing context-aware computing systems. Context has a physical aspect, but most aspects of context will also be defined in institutional terms. This essay develops two conceptual frameworks for the analysis of context in mobile and ubiquitous computing. The first framework concerns the relation between architecture, practices, and institutions; it directs attention to the complex middle ground in which information services make use of whatever computational resources happen to be in the user's physical surroundings. The second framework is called the capture model; it rationally reconstructs the traditional systems analysis methods, which reorganize work activities to enable a computer to capture the information it needs. Context-aware computing devices that depart from the capture model face a difficult set of design tradeoffs.
Intelligibility and Accountability: Human Considerations in Context Aware Systems BIBA 193-212
  Victoria Bellotti; Keith Edwards
This essay considers the problem of defining the context that context-aware systems should pay attention to from a human perspective. In particular, we argue that there are human aspects of context that cannot be sensed or even inferred by technological means, so context-aware systems cannot be designed simply to act on our behalf. Rather, they will have to be able to defer to users in an efficient and nonobtrusive fashion. Our point is particularly relevant for systems that are constructed such that applications are architecturally isolated from the sensing and inferencing that governs their behavior. We propose a design framework that is intended to guide thinking about accommodating human aspects of context. This framework presents four design principles that support intelligibility of system behavior and accountability of human users and a number of human-salient details of context that must be accounted for in context-aware system design.
Distributed Context-Aware Systems BIBA 213-228
  Massimo Benerecetti; Paolo Bouquet; Matteo Bonifacio
Currently, context-aware applications are defined as applications that react appropriately to information sensed in the environment, as opposed to applications that elaborate only information explicitly provided by users. Context is (implicitly or explicitly) thought of as a collection of features of the (physical or virtual) environment, which can affect the behavior of an application. Though this notion of context is relatively unproblematic in systems with central control, it raises a number of challenging issues when applied to distributed systems-namely, systems in which control is distributed over a group of heterogeneous, autonomous, interacting entities (typically, agents). Indeed, in distributed applications, we cannot assume that autonomous entities share a context, even though each of them uses contextual information for its operations. In this essay, we discuss in detail this claim and present a notion of context that seems to be adequate for distributed systems. For the sake of illustration, we outline how this notion of context can be used to design distributed context-aware systems.
Seeking a Foundation for Context-Aware Computing BIBA 229-241
  Paul Dourish
Context-aware computing is generally associated with elements of the ubiquitous computing program, and the opportunity to distribute computation and interaction through the environment rather than concentrating it at the desktop computer. However, issues of context have also been important in other areas of human-computer interaction research. I argue that the scope of context-based computing should be extended to include not only ubiquitous computing, but also recent trends in tangible interfaces as well as work on sociological investigations of the organization of interactive behavior. By taking a view of context-aware computing that integrates these different perspectives, we can begin to understand the foundational relations that tie them all together, and that provide a framework for understanding the basic principles behind these various forms of embodied interaction. In particular, I point to phenomenology as a basis for the development of a new framework for design and evaluation of context-aware technologies.
Articulating the Task at Hand and Making Information Relevant to It BIBA 243-256
  Gerhard Fischer
Building truly "context-aware" environments presents a greater challenge than using data transmitted by ubiquitous computing devices: It requires shared understanding between humans and their computational environments. This essay articulates some specific problems that can be addressed by representing context. It explores the unique possibilities of design environments that model and represent domains, tasks, design guidelines, solutions, and their rationale, and the larger context of such environments embedded in the physical world. Context in design is not a fixed entity sensed by devices, but it is emerging and it is unbounded. Context-aware environments must address these challenges to be more supportive to all stakeholders who design and evolve complex design artifacts.
Context as a Dynamic Construct BIBA 257-268
  Saul Greenberg
Context is a dynamic construct. Although some contextual situations are fairly stable, discernable, and predictable, there are many others that are not. Similar looking contextual situations may actually differ dramatically, due perhaps to people's previous episodes of use, the state of their social interactions, their changing internal goals, and the nuances of local influences. The consequence is that, for all but simple cases, the designer of a context-aware application may find it difficult or even impossible to (a) enumerate the set of contextual states that may exist, (b) know what information could accurately determine a contextual state within that set, and (c) state what appropriate action should be taken from a particular state.
Desituating Action: Digital Representation of Context BIBA 269-286
  Jonathan Grudin
Many psychological studies have shown that when we act, and especially when we interact, we consciously and unconsciously attend to context of many types. Sensors can pick up some but not all context that is acquired through our senses. Some context is lost, some is added, and captured context is presented in new ways. Digital aggregators and interpreters do not aggregate and interpret the same way we do. Missing or altered context disrupts our processing of information in ways that we may not recognize. To address the disruption we may use additional sensors to capture and deliver some of the missing context. Learning to handle these new conduits is then a further source of disruption, and on it can go. With greater knowledge of context, we can work and interact more efficiently, assuming that we can learn to take advantage of the information without being overwhelmed. However, converting contextual information to a digital format changes it in specific ways. Transient information becomes more permanent, local information is made available globally, and information that once spread slowly can spread much more quickly. The information can enable us to work more efficiently, but these changes in its nature have profound indirect effects. The potential loss of privacy is widely discussed, but other effects may be more significant. In particular, the loss of confinement and transience of information creates an environment that is fundamentally unnatural, in conflict with the one we evolved to live in.
An Infrastructure Approach to Context-Aware Computing BIBA 287-303
  Jason I. Hong; James A. Landay
The Context Toolkit (Dey, Abowd, and Salber, 2001 [this special issue]) is only one of many possible architectures for supporting context-aware applications. In this essay, we look at the tradeoffs involved with a service infrastructure approach to context-aware computing. We describe the advantages that a service infrastructure for context awareness has over other approaches, outline some of the core technical challenges that must be addressed before such an infrastructure can be built, and point out promising research directions for overcoming these challenges.
The Context of Work BIBA 306-322
  David Kirsh
The question of how to conceive and represent the context of work is explored from the theoretical perspective of distributed cognition. It is argued that to understand the office work context we need to go beyond tracking superficial physical attributes such as who or what is where and when and consider the state of digital resources, people's concepts, task state, social relations, and the local work culture, to name a few. In analyzing an office more deeply, three concepts are especially helpful: entry points, action landscapes, and coordinating mechanisms. An entry point is a structure or cue that represents an invitation to enter an information space or office task. An activity landscape is part mental construct and part physical; it is the space users interactively construct out of the resources they find when trying to accomplish a task. A coordinating mechanism is an artifact, such as a schedule or clock, or an environmental structure such as the layout of papers to be signed, which helps a user manage the complexity of his task. Using these three concepts we can abstract away from many of the surface attributes of work context and define the deep structure of a setting-the invariant structure that many office settings share. A long-term challenge for context-aware computing is to operationalize these analytic concepts.
Mobile Devices and Mobile Data -- Issues of Identity and Reference BIBA 323-336
  Peter Lucas
As we begin to develop architectures to guide the engineering of context-aware computing systems, we will need to apply significantly more precision to the notion of "context" than is afforded by common usage of this term. In this essay, I identify three distinct realms of contextual reference. First, the physical context allows us to imbue our machines with a sense of "place" in the most literal sense of that term. Second, the device context concerns the relations among information processing systems as such. Finally, computing systems have an information context. The study of information contexts is the province of the discipline of Information Architecture, which we may define as the design of information entities abstracted from the machines that process them. Although these topics raise diverse issues, they arguably all share a need for a uniform basis for dealing with matters of identity and naming. The first step in developing such a basis is the adoption of a uniform scheme for universally unique identifiers, both for identifying digital objects and for referring to physical phenomena.
On Typologies of Situated Interaction BIBA 337-349
  Malcolm McCullough
Consideration of context raises issues of design. The complexity of these issues calls for a typological approach, in which conventional configuration of space plays a greater role. Theories of phenomenology, embodiment, and periphery underlie the argument that we must design for recurrent situations of everyday life, and that we must do so in a manner quite different from the anytime/anyplace universality so often held out as an objective for ubiquitous computing. Architecture, the more established discipline of physical context, demonstrates the importance of type to usable design. Not merely a functional classification, typology here is a generative abstraction, by which good design creates new instances from inexhaustible themes. This essay explains typology as a design philosophy, toward which its suggests possible steps forward from current developments in context-aware applications of computing.
Context Shifts: Extending the Meanings of Physical Objects with Language BIBA 351-362
  David R. McGee; Misha Pavel; Philip R. Cohen
The influence that language has on contextual interpretations cannot be ignored by computer systems that strive to be context aware. Rather, once systems are designed to perceive language and other forms of human action, these interpretative processes will of necessity be context dependent. As an example, we illustrate how people simply and naturally create new contexts by naming and referring. We then describe Rasa, a mixed-reality system that observes and understands how users in a military command post create such contexts as part of the process of maintaining situational awareness. In such environments, commander's maps are covered with Post-it notes. These paper artifacts are contextually transformed to represent units in the field by the application of multimodal language. Rasa understands this language, thereby allowing paper-based tools to become the basis for digital interaction. Finally, we argue that architectures for such context-aware systems will need to be built to process the inherent ambiguity and uncertainty of human input in order to be effective.
Interaction Issues in Context-Aware Intelligent Environments BIBA 363-378
  Steven A. N. Shafer; Barry Brumitt; JJ Cadiz
Context-aware intelligent environments are computing systems embedded within physical spaces. They are equipped with input and output computing devices for users and sensors to provide contextual information to the system. These environments provide new challenges to interface designers due to a number of differences from typical desktop computing environments, including the lack of a single focal point for the user, a dynamic set of interaction devices, the sensor-rich nature of the environment, the potential of multiple simultaneous users, and the opportunity for diverse interaction modalities. This essay describes these challenges and focuses on issues involving multiple interaction modalities and automatic system behaviors.
Context-Aware Technology: A Phenomenological Perspective BIBA 379-400
  Dag Svanaes
Context-aware systems are currently to a large extent designed from a systems perspective. Research on these technologies has so far mostly been focused on exploring what can be built and less on how it will show up in people's lives. The existing theory and practice in human-computer interaction has mainly evolved from work on graphical user interfaces, and additional theory is required to enable user-centered design of context-aware systems. Interaction with such systems is to a larger extent physical, and an appropriate theory consequently needs to account for the user's bodily nature. We have found the phenomenology of Merleau-Ponty to be a good starting point for the development of such theory. With its first-person focus on the lived body and its relation to the environment, it provides a conceptual framework well suited for understanding context-aware systems from the user's perspective. The perspective moves the focus from seeing a context-aware system as an artifact "sensing" information, to seeing it as an interactive system with a physical user interface. This makes the distinction between foreground and background interaction a property not of the system, but of the situation. A consequence of this philosophical standpoint is that context can never be a property of the world, but that context rather is the horizon within which the user makes sense of the world. The phenomenological perspective enables a systematic exploration of the design space for context-aware systems-as they appear to the user. It further enables an analysis of the requirements for a seamless integration between screen-based and context-aware systems. The essay ends by pointing to the need for making the technology available in a form that can be easily utilized by interaction designers.
Architectures for Context BIBA 401-419
  Terry Winograd
The development of context-aware applications will require tools that are based on clearly defined models of context and system software architecture. This essay introduces models for each of these, examines the tradeoffs among the different alternatives, and describes a blackboard-based context architecture that is being used in the construction of interactive workspaces.