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Human-Computer Interaction 20

Editors:Thomas P. Moran
Publisher:Lawrence Erlbaum Associates
Standard No:ISSN 0737-0024
Links:Table of Contents
  1. HCI 2005 Volume 20 Issue 1/2
  2. HCI 2005 Volume 20 Issue 3
  3. HCI 2005 Volume 20 Issue 4

HCI 2005 Volume 20 Issue 1/2

Introduction to This Special Issue on Revisiting and Reinventing E-Mail BIBFull-Text 1-9
  Steve Whittaker; Victoria Bellotti; Paul Moody
In Search of Coherence: A Review of E-Mail Research BIBAFull-Text 11-48
  Nicolas Ducheneaut; Leon A. Watts
E-mail research encompasses a vast and diverse body of work that accumulated over the past 30 years. In this article, we take a critical look at the research literature and ask two simple questions: What is e-mail research? Can it help us reinvent e-mail? Rather than defining an overarching framework, we survey the literature and identify three metaphors that have guided e-mail research up to this day: e-mail as a file cabinet extending human information processing capabilities, e-mail as a production line and locus of work coordination, and, finally, e-mail as a communication genre supporting social and organizational processes. We propose this taxonomy so that designers of future e-mail systems can forge their own direction of research, with knowledge of other directions that have been explored in the past. As an illustration of the possible future work we want to encourage with this review, we conclude with a description of several guidelines for the reinvention of e-mail inspired by our journey through the literature.
Supporting Collaborative Task Management in E-mail BIBAFull-Text 49-88
  Steve Whittaker
E-mail is one of the most successful computer applications ever developed. Despite its success, it is now dogged by numerous problems. Users complain about feeling overwhelmed by the volume of messages they receive, they have difficulties too in organizing and managing their e-mail data but, most importantly, they have problems in using e-mail to manage collaborative tasks (Bellotti, Ducheneaut, Howard, & Smith, 2003; Balter, 1998, 2000; Mackay, 1988; Whittaker, Jones, & Terveen, 2002a; Whittaker & Sidner, 1996). These require extended interaction with others for their definition and execution (Bellotti et al., 2003; Venolia, Gupta, Cadiz, & Dabbish, 2001; Whittaker & Sidner, 1996). As a result, users are often concurrently working on multiple outstanding tasks as they await responses from others concerning these tasks. This requires users to (a) create reminders, (b) identify messages that relate to the same task, and (c) combine information from these related messages. Currently, people try to use the e-mail inbox to do this but our data indicate it is ineffective for these purposes. Other recent approaches attempt to tackle Collaborative Task Management but we show that these offer at best only partial solutions. In contrast, we present two systems, TeleNotes and ContactMap, that directly address Collaborative Task Management. These are motivated by empirical research into paper-based and people-based task management strategies. We describe how our systems implement these different strategies and present evaluation data for each system in use. We contrast the success of these two approaches with earlier work and discuss outstanding design and theory problems arising from our research.
Quality Versus Quantity: E-Mail-Centric Task Management and Its Relation With Overload BIBAFull-Text 89-138
  Victoria Bellotti; Nicolas Ducheneaut; Mark Howard; Ian Smith; Rebecca E. Grinter
It is widely acknowledged that many professionals suffer from "e-mail overload." This article presents findings from in-depth fieldwork that examined this phenomenon, uncovering six key challenges of task management in e-mail. Analysis of qualitative and quantitative data suggests that it is not simply the quantity but also the collaborative quality of e-mail task and project management that causes this overload. We describe how e-mail becomes especially overwhelming when people use it for tasks that involve participation of others; tasks cannot be completed until a response is obtained and so they are interleaved. Interleaving means that the e-mail user must somehow simultaneously keep track of multiple incomplete tasks, often with the only reminder for each one being an e-mail message somewhere in the inbox or a folder. This and other insights from our fieldwork led us to a new design philosophy for e-mail in which resources for task and project management are embedded directly within an e-mail client as opposed to being added on as separate components of the application. A client, TaskMaster, embodying these ideas, was developed and tested by users in managing their real e-mail over an extended period. The design of the client and results of its evaluation are also reported.
E-Mail Research: Targeting the Enterprise BIBAFull-Text 139-162
  Martin Wattenberg; Steven L. Rohall; Daniel Gruen; Bernard Kerr
The research program at IBM's Collaborative User Experience (CUE) group supports an e-mail system used by millions of people. We present three lessons learned from working with real-world enterprise e-mail solutions. First, a pragmatic, system-level approach reveals that e-mail programs are generally used idiosyncratically, often for many different goals at once. This fact has strong implications for both the design and assessment of new features. Second, we discuss how viewing e-mail as an element of corporate collaboration -- not just communication -- provides insights into problems with current systems as well as potential solutions. Third, we describe constraints imposed by the realities of software development and how they shape the space of feasible new designs. Finally, we illustrate these lessons with an overview of CUE research strategies in the context of an extended case study of one specific new technology: Thread Arcs. Although not all researchers work with an enterprise-level product team, we believe the experiences described here will be useful to anyone wishing to see their ideas ultimately implemented on a broad scale.
Active Messenger: E-Mail Filtering and Delivery in a Heterogeneous Network BIBAFull-Text 163-194
  Chris Schmandt; Stefan Marti
Active Messenger (AM) is a software agent that dynamically filters and routes e-mail to a variety of wired and wireless delivery channels, monitoring a message's progress through various channels over time. Its goal is to ensure that desired messages always reach the subscriber, while decreasing message volume when the user is less reachable through location awareness. AM acts as a proxy, hiding the identity of the multiple device addresses at which the subscriber may be found and caches channels to guarantee seamless information delivery in a heterogeneous network. Our previous experience with mobile messaging influenced the initial requirements and design of AM. We describe the operation and evolution of AM to meet changing user needs, and how our own communication patterns and expectations have changed as we relied increasingly on mobile delivery.
Pricing Electronic Mail to Solve the Problem of Spam BIBAFull-Text 195-223
  Robert E. Kraut; Shyam Sunder; Rahul Telang; James Morris
Junk e-mail or spam is rapidly choking off e-mail as a reliable and efficient means of communication over the Internet. Although the demand for human attention increases rapidly with the volume of information and communication, the supply of attention hardly changes. Markets are a social institution for efficiently allocating supply and demand of scarce resources. Charging a price for sending messages may help discipline senders from demanding more attention than they are willing to pay for. Price may also credibly inform recipients about the value of a message to the sender before they read it. This article examines economic approaches to the problem of spam and the results of two laboratory experiments to explore the consequences of a pricing system for electronic mail. Charging postage for e-mail causes senders to be more selective and to send fewer messages. However, recipients did not interpret the postage paid by senders as a signal of the importance of the messages. These results suggest that markets for attention have the potential for addressing the problem of spam but their design needs further development and testing.

HCI 2005 Volume 20 Issue 3

Automating Human-Performance Modeling at the Millisecond Level BIBAFull-Text 225-265
  Alonso H. Vera; Bonnie E. John; Roger Remington; Michael Matessa; Michael A. Freed
A priori prediction of skilled human performance has the potential to be of great practical value but is difficult to carry out. This article reports on an approach that facilitates modeling of human behavior at the level of cognitive, perceptual, and motor operations, following the CPM-GOMS method (John, 1990). CPM-GOMS is a powerful modeling method that has remained underused because of the expertise and labor required. We describe a process for automatically generating CPM-GOMS models from a hierarchical task decomposition expressed in a computational modeling tool, taking advantage of reusable behavior templates and their efficacy for generating zero-parameter a priori predictions of complex human behavior. To demonstrate the process, we present a model of automated teller machine interaction. The model shows that it is possible to string together existing behavioral templates that compose basic HCI tasks, (e.g., mousing to a button and clicking on it) to generate powerful human performance predictions. Because interleaving of templates is now automated, it becomes possible to construct arbitrarily long sequences of behavior. In addition, the manipulation and adaptation of complete models has the potential of becoming dramatically easier. Thus, the tool described here provides an engine for CPM-GOMS that may facilitate computational modeling of human performance at the millisecond level.
Exploring the Functional Specifications of a Localized Wayfinding Verbal Aid for Blind Pedestrians: Simple and Structured Urban Areas BIBAFull-Text 267-314
  Florence Gaunet; Xavier Briffault
We propose functional specifications for a localized verbal wayfinding aid for blind pedestrians, in simple and structured urban areas. A user-centered design approach, that is, the analyses of route descriptions produced by blind pedestrians, allowed first to evidence verbal guidance rules and then to elaborate route descriptions of unfamiliar paths; their efficiency was confirmed. We found that specific database features are streets, sidewalks, crosswalks, and intersections and that guidance functions consist of a combination of orientation and localization, goal location, intersection, crosswalks, and warning information as well as of progression, crossing, orientation, and route-ending instructions; they have to be provided between 5 to 10 meters before an intersection, after crossing, at middle block, and after entering a street. Last, verbal guidance is possible in simple and structured urban areas, with no localization aid, and is optimal within 5 meters' precision. The outcomes and limits of the requirements of the navigational aid evidenced are discussed.
Information Theoretic Models of HCI: A Comparison of the Hick-Hyman Law and Fitts' Law BIBAFull-Text 315-352
  Steven C. Seow
The Hick-Hyman Law and Fitts' Law are two surviving human performance principles based on Shannon and Weaver's (1949) Information Theory. In the early 1980s, Card, Moran, and Newell (1983) presented the laws as design principles for developers to maximize usability in the design of human-computer interfaces. A search of the current human-computer interaction (HCI) literature, however, will reveal that the Hick-Hyman Law failed to gain momentum in the field of HCI, whereas Fitts' Law received, and continues to receive, substantial attention. This article begins with a discussion the common information theoretical concepts of the two laws, and then examines each law with respect to its origins, theoretical formulation, theoretical development, research, and applications and examines the possible contributing factors responsible for the failure of Hick-Hyman Law to gain momentum in the field.

HCI 2005 Volume 20 Issue 4

Complex Mediation BIBAFull-Text 353-402
  Susanne Bødker; Peter Bogh Andersen
This article has its starting point in a large number of empirical findings regarding computer-mediated work. These empirical findings have challenged our understanding of the role of mediation in such work; on the one hand as an aspect of communication and cooperation at work and on the other hand as an aspect of human engagement with instruments of work. On the basis of previous work in activity-theoretical and semiotic human -- computer interaction, we propose a model to encompass both of these aspects. In a dialogue with our empirical findings we move on to propose a number of types of mediation that have helped to enrich our understanding of mediated work and the design of computer mediation for such work.
Toward a Multidisciplinary Model of Context to Support Context-Aware Computing BIBAFull-Text 403-446
  Nicholas A. Bradley; Mark D. Dunlop
Capturing, defining, and modeling the essence of context are challenging, compelling, and prominent issues for interdisciplinary research and discussion. The roots of its emergence lie in the inconsistencies and ambivalent definitions across and within different research specializations (e.g., philosophy, psychology, pragmatics, linguistics, computer science, and artificial intelligence). Within the area of computer science, the advent of mobile context-aware computing has stimulated broad and contrasting interpretations due to the shift from traditional static desktop computing to heterogeneous mobile environments. This transition poses many challenging, complex, and largely unanswered research issues relating to contextual interactions and usability. To address those issues, many researchers strongly encourage a multidisciplinary approach. The primary aim of this article is to review and unify theories of context within linguistics, computer science, and psychology. Summary models within each discipline are used to propose an outline and detailed multidisciplinary model of context involving (a) the differentiation of focal and contextual aspects of the user and application's world, (b) the separation of meaningful and incidental dimensions, and (c) important user and application processes. The models provide an important foundation in which complex mobile scenarios can be conceptualized and key human and social issues can be identified. The models were then applied to different applications of context-aware computing involving user communities and mobile tourist guides. The authors' future work involves developing a user-centered multidisciplinary design framework (based on their proposed models). This will be used to design a large-scale user study investigating the usability issues of a context-aware mobile computing navigation aid for visually impaired people.