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Human-Computer Interaction 18

Editors:Thomas P. Moran
Publisher:Lawrence Erlbaum Associates
Standard No:ISSN 0737-0024
Links:Table of Contents
  1. HCI 2003 Volume 18 Issue 1/2
  2. HCI 2003 Volume 18 Issue 3
  3. HCI 2003 Volume 18 Issue 4

HCI 2003 Volume 18 Issue 1/2

Talking About Things in Mediated Conversations

Introduction to This Special Issue on Talking About Things in Mediated Conversations BIB 1-11
  Elizabeth F. Churchill; Thomas Erickson
Visual Information as a Conversational Resource in Collaborative Physical Tasks BIBA 13-49
  Robert E. Kraut; Susan R. Fussell; Jane Siegel
In this article we consider the ways in which visual information is used as a conversational resource in the accomplishment of collaborative physical tasks. We focus on the role of visual information in maintaining task awareness and in achieving mutual understanding in conversation. We first describe the theoretical framework we use to analyze the role of visual information in physical collaboration. Then, we present two experiments that vary the amount and quality of the visual information available to participants during a collaborative bicycle repair task. We examine the effects of this visual information on performance and on conversational strategies. We conclude with a general discussion of how situational awareness and conversational grounding are achieved in collaborative tasks and with some design considerations for systems to support remote collaborative repair.
Fractured Ecologies: Creating Environments for Collaboration BIBA 51-84
  Paul Luff; Christian Heath; Hideaki Kuzuoka; Jon Hindmarsh; Keiichi Yamazaki; Shinya Oyama
It is increasingly recognized that social interaction and collaboration rely on the participants' abilities to access and use a range of resources including objects and artifacts from within the immediate environment. In recent years, system support for remote collaboration has begun to address this issue, and we have witnessed the emergence of a number of technologies designed to provide remote participants with access to (features of) each others' environment. In this article we examine the use of one such system, an innovative mixed media environment designed to enable participants to refer to and point at objects and artifacts within each other's remote environment. The article addresses the ways in which participants use the system to undertake various collaborative activities and discusses the problems and issues that emerge, for the participants' themselves, in coordinating action with and through objects. We then consider these issues with regard to interaction and collaboration in more conventional environments such as work settings, and we discuss the ways in which the interpretation and production of action are inextricably embedded within the immediate environment, an environment of action that is inadvertently fractured in even this more sophisticated media space.
Ceci n'est pas un Objet? Talking About Objects in E-mail BIBA 85-110
  Nicolas Ducheneaut; Victoria Bellotti
E-mail, far from being a poor, technically limited substitute for face-to-face communication, has some unique and compelling properties that make it ideally suited for talking about objects. In this article we show how e-mail users have evolved new forms of electronic deictic references to refer to work objects and have taken full advantage of the fluid boundaries between the different roles that e-mail can assume. We also illustrate how e-mail users draw on the persistence of the medium to make sense of the objects being talked about and sometimes even transform the conversation itself into an object of conversation. We conclude with several design suggestions for future electronic mail software based on these findings.
Making the Organization Come Alive: Talking Through and About the Technology in Remote Banking BIBA 111-148
  Dave Martin; Mark Rouncefield
Organizations have increasingly been seeking to interact with their customers using more "remote channels" such as telephone and computer-based technologies. This process has been a part of dramatic technological upheavals as technology enters into customer interactions. This article examines examples of this changing relationship, documenting the role of technology in delivering banking services over remote channels. We present details from two ethnographic studies concerning physical and digital representations of artifacts, talk, and the organization of customer-facing work and their relevance in "designing for the expanded interface." In telephone banking, sharing of objects and reconciliation between different instantiations are achieved through conversation. In video-conferencing, despite visual access to the same artifact, operators still need to guide customers around objects, explaining what they are seeing and what is happening. We look at the use of scripts designed to standardize operator interactions, the demeanor work undertaken by operators to account for the behavior of technology, attempts to configure customer interactions, and issues of trust in such technologically mediated communication.
Things to Talk About When Talking About Things BIBA 149-170
  Steve Whittaker
This commentary reviews the existing research literature concerning support for talking about objects in mediated communication, drawing three conclusions: (a) speech alone is often sufficient for effective conversations; (b) visual information about work objects is generally more valuable than visual information about work participants; and (c) disjoint visual perspectives can undermine communication processes. I then comment on the four articles in the light of these observations, arguing that they broadly support these observations. I discuss the paradoxical failure of current technologies to support talk about objects, arguing that these need to be better integrated with existing communication applications. I conclude by outlining a research agenda for supporting talk about things, identifying outstanding theoretical, empirical, and design issues.
Talking About Distributed Communication and Medicine: On Bringing Together Remote and Local Actors BIBA 171-180
  Teun Zuiderent; Brit Ross Winthereik; Marc Berg
In this commentary we reflect on the articles in this special issue on computer-mediated communication (CMC) "about things." We do this from our perspective as researchers of the sociotechnical practices of developing, using, and evaluating information technologies for health care work. The relevance of the articles for a medical setting is evaluated, and we also indicate that the material embeddedness of CMC should be "unpacked." By focusing on the materiality of CMC in its working practice, we can see the otherwise invisible work that performs the ecology needed to "make a CMC work." Only when seeing these activities, and when realizing the risks of possible miscommunications, can we assess the desirability and feasibility of (telemedicine) CMC projects.
Talking About Talking About Things BIBA 181-191
  Sara Bly
The articles in this special issue on "talking about things" address very different aspects of conversations around objects in computer-mediated collaborative environments. Although the authors have similar goals, they differ widely in the part of the problem space they tackle. The authors choose different ways to address common grounding and shared understanding in their study plans and environments. The articles raise a paradox between the need to see things while talking about them and the lack of demonstrated success when doing so in CMC environments. When conversations include physical objects, a computer-mediated collaborative environment must be able to allow a representation and transformation of those objects in the conversation. The extent to which this is accomplished in a way that minimizes the loss of shared context and shared experience will provide the ability to talk about things remotely in a useful way.

HCI 2003 Volume 18 Issue 3

Theory of Personalization of Appearance: Why Users Personalize Their PCs and Mobile Phones BIBA 193-228
  Jan O. Blom; Andrew F. Monk
Three linked qualitative studies were performed to investigate why people choose to personalize the appearance of their PCs and mobile phones and what effects personalization has on their subsequent perception of those devices. The 1st study involved 35 frequent Internet users in a 2-stage procedure. In the 1st phase they were taught to personalize a commercial Web portal and then a recommendation system, both of which they used in the subsequent few days. In the 2nd phase they were allocated to 1 of 7 discussion groups to talk about their experiences with these 2 applications. Transcripts of the discussion groups were coded using grounded theory analysis techniques to derive a theory of personalization of appearance that identifies (a) user-dependent, system-dependent, and contextual dispositions; and (b) cognitive, social, and emotional effects. The 2nd study concentrated on mobile phones and a different user group. Three groups of Finnish high school students discussed the personalization of their mobile phones. Transcripts of these discussions were coded using the categories derived from the 1st study and some small refinements were made to the theory in the light of what was said. Some additional categories were added; otherwise, the theory was supported. In addition, 3 independent coders, naive to the theory, analyzed the transcripts of 1 discussion group each. A high degree of agreement with the investigators' coding was demonstrated. In the 3rd study, a heterogeneous sample of 8 people who used the Internet for leisure purposes were visited in their homes. The degree to which they had personalized their PCs was found to be well predicted by the dispositions in the theory. Design implications of the theory are discussed.
Hands-Free, Speech-Based Navigation During Dictation: Difficulties, Consequences, and Solutions BIBA 229-257
  Andrew Sears; Jinhuan Feng; Kwesi Oseitutu; Claire-Marie Karat
Speech recognition technology continues to improve, but users still experience significant difficulty using the software to create and edit documents. In fact, a recent study confirmed that users spent 66% of their time on correction activities and only 33% on dictation. Of particular interest is the fact that one third of the users' time was spent simply navigating from one location to another. In this article, we investigate the efficacy of hands-free, speech-based navigation in the context of dictation-oriented activities. We provide detailed data regarding failure rates, reasons for failures, and the consequences of these failures. Our results confirm that direction-oriented navigation (e.g., Move up two lines) is less effective than target-oriented navigation (e.g. Select target). We identify the three most common reasons behind the failure of speech-based navigation commands: recognition errors, issuing of invalid commands, and pausing in the middle of issuing a command. We also document the consequences of failed speech-based navigation commands. As a result of this analysis, we identify changes that will reduce failure rates and lessen the consequences of some remaining failures. We also propose a more substantial set of changes to simplify direction-based navigation and enhance the target-based navigation. The efficacy of this final set of recommendations must be evaluated through future empirical studies.
DENIM: An Informal Web Site Design Tool Inspired by Observations of Practice BIBA 259-324
  Mark W. Newman; James Lin; Jason I. Hong; James A. Landay
Through a study of Web site design practice, we observed that designers employ multiple representations of Web sites as they progress through the design process and that these representations allow them to focus on different aspects of the design. In particular, we observed that Web site designers focus their design efforts at 3 different levels of granularity-site map, storyboard, and individual page-and that designers sketch at all levels during the early stages of design. Sketching on paper is especially important during the early phases of a project, when designers wish to explore many design possibilities quickly without focusing on low-level details. Existing Web design tools do not support such exploration tasks well, nor do they adequately integrate multiple site representations. Informed by these observations we developed DENIM: an informal Web site design tool that supports early phase information and navigation design of Web sites. It supports sketching input, allows design at different levels of granularity, and unifies the levels through zooming. Designers are able to interact with their sketched designs as if in a Web browser, thus allowing rapid creation and exploration of interactive prototypes. Based on an evaluation with professional designers as well as usage feedback from users who have downloaded DENIM from the Internet, we have made numerous improvements to the system and have received many positive reactions from designers who would like to use a system like DENIM in their work.

HCI 2003 Volume 18 Issue 4

Using Film Cutting Techniques in Interface Design BIBA 325-372
  Jon May; Michael P. Dean; Philip J. Barnard
It has been suggested that computer interfaces could be made more usable if their designers utilized cinematography techniques, which have evolved to guide the viewer through a narrative despite frequent discontinuities in the presented scene (i.e., cuts between shots). Because of differences between the domains of film and interface design, it is not straightforward to understand how such techniques can be transferred. May and Barnard (1995) argued that a psychological model of watching film could support such a transference. This article presents an extended account of this model, which allows identification of the practice of collocation of objects of interest in the same screen position before and after a cut. To verify that filmmakers do, in fact, use such techniques successfully, eye movements were measured while participants watched the entirety of a commercially released motion picture, in its original theatrical format. For each of 10 classes of cut, predictions were made about the use of collocation. Peaks in eye movements between 160 and 280 msec after the cut were detected for 6 of the 10 classes, and results were broadly in line with collocation predictions, with two exceptions. It is concluded that filmmakers do successfully use collocation when cutting in and out from a detail, following the motion of an actor or object, and in showing the result of an action. The results are used to make concrete recommendations for interface designers from the theoretical analysis of film comprehension.
Generating Systems Requirements With Facilitated Group Techniques BIBA 373-394
  Evan W. Duggan
Ineffective systems requirements determination (SRD) has been a major problem in information systems delivery. Researchers have linked this problem to poor communication among systems designers and users. Several facilitated group techniques have been used to bring system developers, users, and managers together. These approaches have generally outperformed the traditional interviewing method. However, these group meetings are typically conducted with freely interacting group techniques (FIGT), which are prone to some of the classical relational problems and make successful outcomes critically reliant on excellent facilitation. The nominal group technique, which was designed to reduce the impact of negative group dynamics, is proposed as a crutch to help reduce the facilitator's burden of controlling relational problems during SRD. This approach, which was tested empirically in a laboratory experiment, appeared to outperform FIGT in the areas tested and seemed to contribute to excellent group outcomes even with less than excellent facilitation.
Improving Navigation and Learning in Hypertext Environments With Navigable Concept Maps BIBA 395-428
  Sadhana Puntambekar; Agnes Stylianou; Roland Hubscher
This article discusses the design of Concept Mapped Project-Based Activity Scaffolding System (CoMPASS) and the theoretical foundations that it is based on. CoMPASS is a hypertext system that presents students with external, graphical representations in the form of concept maps as well as textual representations both of which change dynamically as students traverse through the domain and make navigational decisions. In a study in which middle school students used CoMPASS, students' navigation paths, as well as their learning outcomes, were analyzed. A comparison class in which students used the system without the maps for navigation provided information about students' use of the maps for navigation and its effect on their learning. It was found that students who used the maps version of the system performed significantly better in a concept mapping test as well as an essay test, and their navigation was more focused. This article discusses the findings of the study and its implications for designing hypertext systems.