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IJHCS Tables of Contents: 54555657585960616263646566676869707172

International Journal of Human-Computer Studies 64

Editors:Enrico Motta; Susan Wiedenbeck
Publisher:Elsevier Science Publishers
Standard No:ISSN 0020-7373; TA 167 A1 I5
Links:Table of Contents
  1. IJHCS 2006 Volume 64 Issue 1
  2. IJHCS 2006 Volume 64 Issue 2
  3. IJHCS 2006 Volume 64 Issue 3
  4. IJHCS 2006 Volume 64 Issue 4
  5. IJHCS 2006 Volume 64 Issue 5
  6. IJHCS 2006 Volume 64 Issue 6
  7. IJHCS 2006 Volume 64 Issue 7
  8. IJHCS 2006 Volume 64 Issue 8
  9. IJHCS 2006 Volume 64 Issue 9
  10. IJHCS 2006 Volume 64 Issue 10
  11. IJHCS 2006 Volume 64 Issue 11
  12. IJHCS 2006 Volume 64 Issue 12

IJHCS 2006 Volume 64 Issue 1

A framework for designing sensor-based interactions to promote exploration and reflection in play BIBAFull-Text 1-14
  Yvonne Rogers; Henk Muller
Sensor-based interactions are increasingly being used in the design of user experiences, ranging from the activation of controls to the delivery of 'context-aware' information in the home. The benefits of doing so include the ability to deliver relevant information to people at appropriate times and to enable 'hands-free' control. A downside, however, is that sensor control often displaces user control, resulting in the user not knowing how to or being able to control aspects of a system. While this can be frustrating in many situations, it provides new opportunities for enhancing or augmenting various kinds of activities, where uncertainty can be exploited to good effect. We describe how we designed an adventure game for young children that incorporated a number of sensor-based interactions. We also present a preliminary conceptual framework intended to help designers and researchers develop novel user experiences using sensor-based interactions. A set of concepts are provided that characterize salient aspects of the user experience involved in sensing together with a discussion of the core properties of sensor technologies.
The perceived utility of standard ontologies in document management for specialized domains BIBAKFull-Text 15-26
  Mihye Kim; Paul Compton
A user-based document management system has been developed for small communities on the Web. The system is based on the free annotation of documents by users. A number of annotation support tools are used to suggest possible annotations, including suggesting terms from external ontologies. This paper outlines some evaluation data on how users actually interact with the system in annotating their document especially on the use of standard ontologies. Results indicate that although an established external taxonomy can be useful in proposing annotation terms, users appear to be very selective in their use of the terms proposed and to have little interest in adhering to the particular hierarchical structure provided.
Keywords: Utility of standard ontologies; User-based document management
Personal assistants: Direct manipulation vs. mixed initiative interfaces BIBAFull-Text 27-35
  Marcelo Armentano; Daniela Godoy; A Analia-Amandi
Interface agents are computer programmes that provide assistance to users dealing with computer-based applications. The introduction of agents to user interfaces caused the exploration of new metaphors to enhance user ability to directly manipulate interfaces. In this regard, mixed-initiative interaction refers to a flexible interaction strategy in which agents contribute with users by providing suitable information at the most appropriate time. Mixed-initiative approaches promise to dramatically enhance human-computer interaction by allowing agents to resemble human assistants. In this paper, we report a study on how the interaction metaphor can affect the user perception of agent capabilities and, in turn, the final success of agents.
Constructing computer-based tutors that are socially sensitive: Politeness in educational software BIBAKFull-Text 36-42
  Richard E. Mayer; W. Lewis Johnson; Erin Shaw; Sahiba Sandhu
Students rated 16 tutorial statements on negative politeness (i.e., how much the tutor "allows me freedom to make my own decisions") and positive politeness (i.e., how much the tutor was "working with me"). Consistent with an adaptation of Brown and Levinson's [1987. Politeness: Some Universals in Language Use. Cambridge University Press, New York] politeness theory, (a) students rated direct commands and commands attributed to machines as lowest in negative and positive politeness, (b) students rated guarded suggestions and guarded questions as highest in negative politeness, and guarded suggestions and statements expressing a common goal as highest in positive politeness, and (c) the pattern of results was stronger for students with low rather than high computing experience. Results have implications for designing polite conversational agents in educational software.
Keywords: Pedagogical agents; Educational technology; Computer-based learning; Information and communication technology
Persuasion and social perception of human vs. synthetic voice across person as source and computer as source conditions BIBAKFull-Text 43-52
  Steven E. Stern; John W. Mullennix; Ilya Yaroslavsky
There is evidence that people react more positively when they are presented with faces that are consistent with their voices. Nass and Brave [2005]. Wired for speech: How voice Activates and Advances the Human-computer Relationship. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA] found that computerized and human faces were perceived more positively when paired, respectively, with synthesized versus human voices than when paired with inconsistent voices. The present study sought to examine whether this type of inconsistency would effect perceptions of persuasive messages delivered by humans versus computers. We created a situation in which reactions to computer synthesized speech were compared to human speech when the speech was either from a person or a computer. This paper presents two studies, one using audio taped stimuli and one using videotaped stimuli, with type of speech (human versus computer synthesized) manipulated factorially with source (person versus computer). As hypothesized, both studies suggest that in the human as source condition, human voice is perceived more favorably than synthetic voice. However, in the computer as source condition, both human and computer voice were rated similarly. We discuss these findings in terms of consistency as well as group processes effects that may be occurring.
Keywords: Human factors; Speech technology; Ingroup/outgroup; Talking computers

IJHCS 2006 Volume 64 Issue 2

The role of moderating factors in user technology acceptance BIBAKFull-Text 53-78
  Heshan Sun; Ping Zhang
Along with increasing investments in new technologies, user technology acceptance becomes a frequently studied topic in the information systems discipline. The last two decades have seen user acceptance models being proposed, tested, refined, extended and unified. These models have contributed to our understanding of user technology acceptance factors and their relationships. Yet they have also presented two limitations: the relatively low explanatory power and inconsistent influences of the factors across studies. Several researchers have recently started to examine the potential moderating effects that may overcome these limitations. However, studies in this direction are far from being conclusive. This study attempts to provide a systematic analysis of the explanatory and situational limitations of existing technology acceptance studies. Ten moderating factors are identified and categorized into three groups: organizational factors, technological factors and individual factors. An integrative model is subsequently established, followed by corresponding propositions pertaining to the moderating factors.
Keywords: User technology acceptance; Conceptual research; Moderating factors; Research model
Current practice in measuring usability: Challenges to usability studies and research BIBAKFull-Text 79-102
  Kasper Hornbaek
How to measure usability is an important question in HCI research and user interface evaluation. We review current practice in measuring usability by categorizing and discussing usability measures from 180 studies published in core HCI journals and proceedings. The discussion distinguish several problems with the measures, including whether they actually measure usability, if they cover usability broadly, how they are reasoned about, and if they meet recommendations on how to measure usability. In many studies, the choice of and reasoning about usability measures fall short of a valid and reliable account of usability as quality-in-use of the user interface being studied. Based on the review, we discuss challenges for studies of usability and for research into how to measure usability. The challenges are to distinguish and empirically compare subjective and objective measures of usability; to focus on developing and employing measures of learning and retention; to study long-term use and usability; to extend measures of satisfaction beyond post-use questionnaires; to validate and standardize the host of subjective satisfaction questionnaires used; to study correlations between usability measures as a means for validation; and to use both micro and macro tasks and corresponding measures of usability. In conclusion, we argue that increased attention to the problems identified and challenges discussed may strengthen studies of usability and usability research.
Keywords: Usability; User-centered design; Usability Engineering
Cultural differences on attention and perceived usability: Investigating color combinations of animated graphics BIBAKFull-Text 103-122
  Jantawan Noiwan; Anthony F. Norcio
This experimental study investigates the effects of animated graphic colors on attention and perceived usability of users from two cultural groups, American and Thai. The experiment employs a three-way split-plot design with one between-subjects factor and two repeated-measures factors. The between-subjects factor contains two cultural groups, American and Thai. The two repeated-measures variables are a banner background color factor with six levels and a banner font color factor with two levels. Participants search for target words from text on Web pages that contain three animated banner graphics. The findings lead to the conclusion that users across cultures tend to ignore animated banner graphics when they look for specific information on highly informative Web pages. This study also suggests influences of culture on overall performance, overall retention, and overall self-reports on usability, regardless of differences in banner color combinations. Moreover, cultural differences on the self-report of attention drawing are also revealed in each banner color usage, except yellow banners with white text. This study does not aim at exploring superiority of participants between cultures. Rather, it attempts to explore some possible cultural differences in interacting with a computer interface that could facilitate cognition and perception of users from different cultural groups.
Keywords: Culture; Animated graphic; Color; Banner; Attention; Usability; Visual search
Cognitive styles as an explanation of experts' individual differences: A case study in computer-assisted troubleshooting diagnosis BIBAKFull-Text 123-136
  Julien Cegarra; Jean-Michel Hoc
Individual differences are a crucial aspect of field studies because of the consequences they can have on performance. However, in Cognitive Ergonomics, individual differences have mainly been interpreted as expertise effects. As can be noted from the literature, this limitation has led to difficulties in explaining differences between experts. Using a case study which identifies significant variations between expert performances [Jouglet, D., Piechowiak, S., Vanderhaegen, F., 2003. A shared workspace to support man-machine reasoning: application to cooperative distant diagnosis. Cognition, Technology & Work 5, 127-139], we attempt to go beyond the traditional approach based on expertise levels. Instead, we refer to the notion of cognitive styles. First, we consider methodological issues raised by a posteriori identification of cognitive styles within this diagnosis task. Second, we present the results of our analysis showing that individual differences are related to a particular dimension of cognitive style in which a balance between task requirements and cognitive resources is managed. Finally, we draw conclusions on the importance of cognitive styles in Cognitive Ergonomics.
Keywords: Individual differences; Cognitive style; Expertise; Diagnosis; Strategy
A Gestalt-like perceptual measure for home page design using a fuzzy entropy approach BIBAKFull-Text 137-156
  Shih-Wen Hsiao; Jyh-Rong Chou
A home page is an entry interface of hyperdocuments for presenting a Website's information to visitors, which is mostly concerned with human perception in terms of users' comprehension and mental representation. As the theory of Gestalt psychology provides an important perspective in human perception, it is appropriate to apply this theory in evaluating the "wholeness" of a perceptual image. In home page design, organizing the visual pattern on the basis of Gestalt principles can lead to an efficient model for a better perception. However, human perception referring to the non-quantifiable, subjective, and affect-based experience is difficult to be objectively and uniformly measured by a conventional research approach. In this paper, we propose a Gestalt-like perceptual measure method by combining Gestalt grouping principles and fuzzy entropy. The purpose of this proposed method is not to evaluate the grades of alternatives, but to measure the Gestalt-like perceptual degrees for home page design. An experimental study was conducted to evaluate the practicability of this method. In Part 1 of the experiment, the weights of evaluated criteria were identified through the analytic hierarchy process (AHP) operation. A Gestalt-like perceptual measure for six selected home pages was further implemented in Part 2 of the experiment. The experimental study has shown a credible result. In addition to measuring the Gestalt perception of a Web page design, the proposed method can also be applied to related design fields such as plane design and other visual interface design.
Keywords: Home page; Human perceptual measure; Gestalt grouping principles; Analytic hierarchy process (AHP); Fuzzy entropy

IJHCS 2006 Volume 64 Issue 3

Interaction with virtual environments BIBFull-Text 157
  John R. Wilson
Virtual and interactive environments for work of the future BIBAKFull-Text 158-169
  John R. Wilson; Mirabelle D'Cruz
Virtual reality (VR) systems and the virtual environments (VEs) experienced within them have presented challenges to human computer interaction over many years. The sheer range of different interfaces which might be experienced and of different behaviours which might be exhibited have caused difficulties in general understanding of participants' performance within VR/VE and in providing coherent guidance for designers. We have recently completed a European Information Society Technologies (IST) project, Virtual and Interactive Environments for Workplaces of the Future (VIEW of the Future), which has made great strides in developing improved VR systems and interaction concepts and devices, based upon good understanding of participation in VEs. Particular emphasis in the VIEW of the Future project has been upon mobility and multiple active collaboration in use of VR/VE. This paper introduces a special issue devoted to this project and overviews the project as a whole. In doing so it also reviews some of the human factors issues defined for VR/VE over the years and the contribution of VIEW of the Future to addressing these.
Keywords: Human factors; Virtual reality; Virtual environments; Mobile systems; Collaboration
Extending the desktop workplace by a portable virtual reality system BIBAFull-Text 170-181
  Hilko Hoffmann; Oliver Stefani; Harshada Patel
Users are increasingly recognizing the potential of virtual reality (VR) technology for applications such as data analysis, design review, product development, production planning, marketing, training, etc. The currently established workflow is to design and construct at a desktop system with CAD or modeling software, and visualize and evaluate the results at one or more VR centers equipped with CAVEs or Powerwalls.
   Discussions with users of VR installations have shown that there is a demand for smaller and more cost efficient VR installations. We have proposed the concept of a small VR system, PI-casso, based on user requirements, guidelines for office workplaces and some end-user tests which showed important limitations and the ergonomics problems of current VR installations. PI-casso is a compact, fully immersive VR system which complements the classic desktop workplace.
   In this paper we describe a set of user requirements and the results of the design in forming end-user tests, in addition to the concept and the technical specifications of the newly developed system. The first prototype of PI-casso was demonstrated at HCII 2003, where specialists from the human factors/ergonomics and the VR communities used our system and provided suggestions for improvement. This expert feedback was used to develop the improved versions described in this paper.
Multimodal astronaut virtual training prototype BIBAFull-Text 182-191
  Jukka Ronkko; Jussi Markkanen; Raimo Launonen; Marinella Ferrino; Enrico Gaia; Valter Basso; Harshada Patel; Mirabelle D'Cruz; Seppo Laukkanen
A few dedicated training simulator applications exist that mix realistic interaction devices -- like real cockpits in flight simulators -- with virtual environment (VE) components. Dedicated virtual reality (VR) systems have been utilized also in astronaut training. However there are no detailed descriptions of projection wall VR systems and related interaction techniques for astronaut assembly training in zero gravity conditions. Back projection technology tends to have certain advantages over head mounted displays including less simulation sickness and less restricted user movement. A prototype was built to evaluate the usefulness of projection technology VEs and interaction techniques for astronaut training. This was achieved by first constructing a PC cluster-based general purpose VE software and hardware platform. This platform was used to implement a testing prototype for astronaut assembly sequence training. An interaction tool battery was designed for the purposes of viewpoint control and object handling. A selected training task was implemented as a case study for further analysis based on laptop usage in the Fluid Science Laboratory (FSL) inside the Columbus module in the International Space Station (ISS). User tests were conducted on the usability of the prototype for the intended training purpose. The results seem to indicate that projection technology-based VE systems and suitably selected interaction techniques can be successfully utilized in zero gravity training operations.
Multiple decoupled interaction: An interaction design approach for groupware interaction in co-located virtual environments BIBAFull-Text 192-206
  Victor Bayon; Gareth Griffiths; John R. Wilson
Interactive visualizations such as virtual environments and their associated input and interface techniques have traditionally focused on localized single-user interactions and have lacked co-present active collaboration mechanisms where two or more co-located users can share and actively cooperate and interact with the visual simulation. VR facilities such as CAVEs or PowerWalls, among many others, seem to promise such collaboration but due to the special requirements in terms of 3D input and output devices and the physical configuration and layout, they are generally designed to support an active controlling participant -- the immersed user -- and a passive viewing only audience. In this paper we explore the integration of different technologies, such as small handheld devices and wireless networks with VR/VEs in order to develop a technical and conceptual interaction approach that allows creation of a more ad hoc, interaction rich, multimodal and multi-device environment, where multiple users can access certain interactive capabilities of VE and support co-located collaboration.
Human centred design of 3-D interaction devices to control virtual environments BIBAFull-Text 207-220
  Harshada Patel; Oliver Stefani; Sarah Sharples; Hilko Hoffmann; Ioannis Karaseitanidis; Angelos Amditis
It is commonly acknowledged that user needs should drive design, but often technical influences prevail. Currently, there are no standard interaction devices or interfaces used in 3-D environments, and there is a lack of specific best practice guidelines to develop these. This paper discusses the process of collecting feedback on prototype designs for VR/VE interaction devices from both expert users and non-expert users, and demonstrates how the information gained from human centred evaluation can be used to further the design process. Experiment 1 examined the usability of two magnetically tracked interaction devices with three different types of menus (Sphere, Linear and Fan). Quantitative and qualitative analysis was carried out on the results, and usability problems with the menus and devices are discussed. The findings from this experiment were translated into general design guidance, in addition to specific recommendations. A new device was designed on the basis of some of these recommendations and its usability was evaluated in Experiment 2. Feedback from participants in Experiment 2 demonstrated that the design recommendations emerging from Experiment 1 were successfully applied to develop a more usable and acceptable device.
Virtual prints: Augmenting virtual environments with interactive personal marks BIBAFull-Text 221-239
  Dimitris Grammenos; Alexandros Mourouzis; Constantine Stephanidis
This paper introduces the concept of Virtual Prints (ViPs) as an intuitive metaphor for supporting interaction and navigation, as well as a number of additional tasks in virtual environments (VEs). Three types of ViPs are described: Virtual Footprints, which are used for tracking user navigation (position, orientation and movement), Virtual Handprints, which are used for tracing user interaction with the VE, and Virtual Markers, which are 'special' marks (usually coupled with information) that can be created upon user request. In a VE, the ViPs concept is instantiated and supported through a software mechanism (the ViPs mechanism) that allows users to create, manage and interact with their personal ViPs, as well as other users' ViPs.
   The paper presents the background and related work upon which the suggested concept builds, as well as the distinctive properties that differentiate ViPs from other related efforts. An account of how users can interact with ViPs is provided and related issues and challenges are discussed along with techniques and methods for addressing them. The paper also describes the process followed towards defining and experimenting with the concept of ViPs by means of iterative design and evaluation of an interactive prototype. This process involved exploratory studies, as well as several inspections and formal tests with both experts and potential end-users, in order to assess the usefulness of the concept and identify possible shortcomings, and also to evaluate and improve the usability of the proposed designs and software prototypes. In general, the findings of the studies reinforce the initial hypothesis that ViPs are an intuitive and powerful concept, and show that the related software is easy to learn and use. Overall, the results of the studies support strong evidence that an appropriately designed and implemented, fully functional ViPs mechanism can significantly increase the usability of VEs.
Performance of new participants in virtual environments: The Nottingham tool for assessment of interaction in virtual environments (NAIVE) BIBAFull-Text 240-250
  Gareth Griffiths; Sarah Nichols Sharples; John R. Wilson
There is a need for an assessment tool which reliably distinguishes levels of participant performance in virtual environments (VEs) built within virtual reality (VR) systems. Such screening might be of potential users amongst a company's staff or might be carried out by human factors experimenters prior to the start of experiments in order to provide a base-line of participant competences. The Nottingham Tool for Assessment for Interaction in Virtual Environments (NAIVE) comprises a set of VE tasks and related tests, with appropriate performance criteria levels, covering the main aspects of navigation (viewpoint) control and object manipulation and operation. Trials with test participants enabled performance levels to be set to distinguish good, adequate and poor performers and tests to be distinguished according to whether performance in the general population is evenly spread or is skewed towards success or failure.
Evaluation of virtual reality products and applications from individual, organizational and societal perspectives -- The "VIEW" case study BIBAFull-Text 251-266
  Ioannis Karaseitanidis; Angelos Amditis; Harshada Patel; Sarah Sharples; Evangelos Bekiaris; Alex Bullinger; Jolanda Tromp
Virtual reality (VR) has evolved in technology and applications within the last decade. Technical advances have led to the development of novel interaction devices, interaction concepts, more reliable and robust VR set-ups, advanced visualization and modeling software. However, decisions regarding which VR set-ups and devices are suitable for particular applications are becoming more difficult due to the rapid stream of technical development.
   In the "VIEW of the Future" project (IST-2000-26089), the development process was coupled with an extensive and multivariable evaluation procedure. The latter has taken advantage of direct neurophysiological and psychophysiological measurements and a variety of self-report tools administered in a set of different but closely linked experiments. Furthermore, the implementation of VR solutions in different applications was examined with a socio-economic perspective, by applying a multi-criteria analysis (MCA) using an analytical hierarchical model.
   The data collected during the experimental trials enabled us to reach general conclusions regarding the systems used, and to derive applicability guidelines to facilitate the implementation of VR products. This paper presents all aspects of the evaluation methodology: Usability Test Battery for neuro- and psycho-physiological measurements, VIEW-IT heuristic assessment tool, questionnaires, MCA methodology). A summary of the results includes usability and ergonomic findings for different VR set-ups, and the impact of VR implementation on a variety of applications.
Practical evaluations of real user company needs for visualization technologies BIBAFull-Text 267-279
  Harshada Patel; Sarah Sharples; Severine Letourneur; Emma Johansson; Hilko Hoffmann; Jean Lorisson; Dennis Saluaar; Oliver Stefani
The use of visualization technologies by the automotive industry is primarily aimed at increasing competitive advantage. Within the VIEW of the Future project (IST-2000-26089), two automotive companies, PSA Peugeot Citroen and Volvo Technology Corporation, had a need for targeted evaluation of practical issues in their potential use of VR/VE technology. PSA Peugeot Citroen would like to use visualization technology to accelerate and increase the efficiency of their product design cycle. A series of short experiments were conducted to enable PSA Peugeot Citroen to define the technological specifications of a CAVE-type system they would be purchasing to achieve their design goals. The results documented the fidelity of the visualization environment and user experience of the different configuration set-ups. For example, although passive stereo offered more brightness and better representation of colours, PSA Peugeot Citroen employees preferred active stereo due to the distracting ghosting effect present when using passive stereo. Thus PSA Peugeot Citroen chose to implement active stereo in their new system.
   There is a need for the engineers at the Volvo product companies to present more realistic vehicle components, e.g. car interior parts, in early product development phases. It is not known if the present computer graphics technology can represent vehicle components with high realism in practical applications. In the study reported here, we investigated the perception of visual appearance of virtual surface materials as well as real material samples by Volvo engineers. There was a general loss of information in the VE material representations, e.g. in terms of depth and colour information resulting in dull images. Further research needs to be conducted to examine different methods of producing virtual materials and compare the differently generated virtual materials, in addition to assessing their realism using different types of display technology. This would enable us to find the best method of virtual material production in conjunction with a system which best displays these virtual representations.

IJHCS 2006 Volume 64 Issue 4

Evidence in favor of visual representation for the dataflow paradigm: An experiment testing LabVIEW's comprehensibility BIBAKFull-Text 281-303
  Kirsten N. Whitley; Laura R. Novick; Doug Fisher
This paper reports an experiment that examined the comprehensibility of the LabVIEW programming representation. LabVIEW is a visual programming language (VPL) based on the dataflow paradigm. The experiment compared LabVIEW to a semantically equivalent textual language using three types of tasks: (1) tracing problems: given code and input values, subjects were asked what output the code would produce if executed. (2) Parallelism problems: given code with several program statements highlighted, subjects were asked about the sequence in which those statements could execute. (3) Debugging problems: given code and its specifications, subjects were asked to find a logic error in the code. The experiment measured the subjects' time to solve the problems and accuracy of the answers. The subjects were upper-level university students who were intermediate-level programmers with no prior exposure to LabVIEW. Their performances showed differences due to representation for all three task types. Subjects using the textual representation completed the tracing problems significantly faster than subjects using the visual representation. In contrast, subjects using the visual representation were significantly faster for the parallelism problems and significantly more accurate for both the parallelism and debugging problems. These results contribute clear evidence for selected benefits of a visual representation for small-sized code segments, evidence that LabVIEW succeeds in highlighting data dependencies, and evidence that LabVIEW helps programmers to maintain an overview of their code. The authors consider the implications of these results for VPLs more generally.
Keywords: Visual programming; LabVIEW; Empirical evaluation
Acquiring user tradeoff strategies and preferences for negotiating agents: A default-then-adjust method BIBAKFull-Text 304-321
  Xudong Luo; Nicholas R. Jennings; Nigel Shadbolt
A wide range of algorithms have been developed for various types of negotiating agents. In developing such algorithms the main focus has been on their efficiency and their effectiveness. However, this is only a part of the picture. Typically, agents negotiate on behalf of their owners and for this to be effective the agents must be able to adequately represent their owners' strategies and preferences for negotiation. However, the process by which such knowledge is acquired is typically left unspecified. To address this problem, we undertook a study of how user information about negotiation tradeoff strategies and preferences can be captured. Specifically, we devised a novel default-then-adjust acquisition technique. In this, the system firstly does a structured interview with the user to suggest the attributes that the tradeoff could be made between, then it asks the user to adjust the suggested default tradeoff strategy by improving some attribute to see how much worse the attribute being traded off can be made while still being acceptable, and, finally, it asks the user to adjust the default preference on the tradeoff alternatives. This method is consistent with the principles of standard negotiation theory and to demonstrate its effectiveness we implemented a prototype system and performed an empirical evaluation in an accommodation renting scenario. The result of this evaluation indicates the proposed technique is helpful and efficient in accurately acquiring the users' tradeoff strategies and preferences.
Keywords: Tradeoff strategy and preference; Knowledge acquisition; Preference acquisition; Automated negotiation; Software agents
Design of animated pedagogical agents -- A look at their look BIBAKFull-Text 322-339
  Agneta Gulz; Magnus Haake
A well-established effect of animated agents in educational and other contexts is their potential to motivate and engage. "Increased motivation in users" is also one of the more frequent answers given to the question, "What is gained by adding an animated pedagogical agent to an intelligent tutoring system?"
   To further develop and exploit this potential, there are, however, several issues that need to be resolved. In this article we discuss the visual form and look of animated pedagogical agents. A survey is presented of how the area is approached (and, in particular, not approached) in research on animated pedagogical agents. Two possible reasons are proposed as to why visual form and look are so little addressed are also proposed. We also propose and discuss some key aspects of look that merit a systematic approach in future research.
   The main thesis of the paper is that users' visuo-aesthetic experience of animated pedagogical agents is too important with respect to the goals to motivate and engage, to be treated as a secondary issue. We do not deny that there are other pressing and fundamental issues that need to be solved, such as those concerning the content of the support and the competence level of agents, as well as various design elements that can contribute to making animated agents lifelike. But we argue that visual rendering issues are pressing and need to be seriously addressed as well.
Keywords: Animated pedagogical agents; Motivational issues; Visual experience; Visual form; Design space
An empirical investigation into user navigation of digital video using the VCR-like control set BIBAKFull-Text 340-355
  Chris Crockford; Harry Agius
There has been an almost explosive growth in digital video in recent years. The convention for enabling users to navigate digital video is the Video Cassette Recorder-like (VCR-like) control set, which is dictated by the proliferation of media players that embody it, including Windows Media Player and QuickTime. However, there is a dearth of research seeking to understand how users relate to this control set and how useful it actually is in practice. This paper details our empirical investigation of the issue. A digital video navigation system with a VCR-like control set was developed and subsequently used by a large sample of users (n=200), who were required to complete a number of goal-directed navigational tasks. Each user's navigational activity was tracked and recorded automatically by the system. Analysis of the navigational data revealed a range of results concerning how the VCR-like control set both enhanced and limited the user's ability to locate sequences of interest, including a number of searching and browsing strategies that were exploited by the users.
Keywords: Digital video; User navigation; Browsing; Searching; VCR; Media players; Multimedia; Empirical study
The frequent wayfinding-sequence (FWS) methodology: Finding preferred routes in complex virtual environments BIBAKFull-Text 356-374
  Pedram Sadeghian; Mehmed Kantardzic; Oleksandr Lozitskiy; Walaa Sheta
Advances in computing techniques, as well as the reduction in the cost of technology, have made possible the viability and spread of complex virtual environments (VEs). However, efficient navigation within these environments remains problematic for the user. Several research projects have shown that users of VEs are often disoriented and have extreme difficulty completing navigational tasks. Furthermore, there is often more than one route to get to a specified destination. Novice users often lack the spatial knowledge needed to pick an appropriate route due to the deficiency of experience with the system. A number of navigation tools such as maps, 3-D thumbnails, trails, and personal agents have been proposed. The introduction of these tools have met with some degree of success, but most researchers agree that new techniques need to be developed to aid users efficiently navigate within complex VEs. In this paper, we propose the frequent wayfinding-sequence (FWS) methodology that uses a modified sequence mining technique to discover a model of routes taken by experienced users of a VE. The model is used to build an interface that provides navigation assistance to novice users by recommending routes. We conducted both real world and simulation experiments using our methodology. Results from the real world experiment suggest that the FWS approach has the potential to improve the user's navigation performance and the quality of the human-computer interaction. Our simulation studies showed that our approach is scalable, efficient, and able to find useful route models for complex VEs.
Keywords: Route recommendations; Wayfinding; Virtual environments; Sequence mining
A method and advisor tool for multimedia user interface design BIBAKFull-Text 375-392
  Alistair G. Sutcliffe; Sri Kurniawan; Jae-Eun Shin
This paper describes a multimedia user interface design method and a design assistant tool which supports the method. The method covers specification of user requirements and information architecture, selection of appropriate media to represent the information content, design for directing attention to important information and interaction design to enhance user engagement. Guidelines for media selection and design for attractiveness, i.e. usability and user experience, are given. The method was evaluated in a case study design of a crowd control simulation training system, which demonstrated the method was usable and gave good solutions against an expert gold standard design. The tool provides advice on media selection and attention effects that match specification of the information content expressed as information types and communication goals. A usability evaluation was carried out to measure the usefulness and effectiveness of the tool in comparison to the method, and the results showed that the tool has a positive impact on multimedia design.
Keywords: Multimedia; Design method; Guidelines; Advisor tool; Aesthetics

IJHCS 2006 Volume 64 Issue 5

The influence of font type and line length on visual search and information retrieval in web pages BIBAKFull-Text 395-404
  Jonathan Ling; Paul van Schaik
Most web sites are heavily text-based. Previous research has indicated that the way in which this text is presented may have a significant impact on usability. This paper reports findings from two experiments that explored the influence of font type and line length on a range of performance and subjective measures. Experiment 1 used a visual search task and Experiment 2 examined information retrieval. Overall, there was little impact of font on task performance, although the effect of line length was significant, with longer line lengths facilitating better scanning (Experiment 1) and shorter line lengths leading to better subjective outcomes (Experiments 1 and 2). Implications of these results for the design of web pages are discussed and recommendations given.
Keywords: Font; Line length; Web; Visual search; Information retrieval
Scale transformations and information presentation in supervisory control BIBAKFull-Text 405-419
  Johannes Petersen; Michael May
It is commonly accepted that designers of supervisory control systems cannot comprehensively anticipate operators' information needs. In order to compensate the lack between the information presented by the supervisory control system and the information needed, operators tailor the information presentation.
   Currently, there is a lack of theoretical understanding of tailoring activities and hence fundamental principles for the design of supervisory control systems that support tailoring activities in a systematic manner.
   Any data being presented to the operator is on one of the four different scale types proposed by Stevens. The scale type of data is determined by how values are assigned to the dimensions of the system being supervised and each scale type specifies a set of operations that can be legitimately applied to data on this scale type.
   Based on the concept of scale transformation the paper proposes systematic principles for operator-initiated adaptation of the interpretation of system properties as presented by the supervisory control system. The value of the approach is illustrated by means of examples.
Keywords: Supervisory control; Human-machine interaction; Information presentation; Tailoring; Scale types
Sensemaking tools for understanding research literatures: Design, implementation and user evaluation BIBAKFull-Text 420-445
  Victoria Uren; Simon Buckingham Shum; Michelle Bachler; Gangmin Li
This paper describes the work undertaken in the Scholarly Ontologies Project. The aim of the project has been to develop a computational approach to support scholarly sensemaking, through interpretation and argumentation, enabling researchers to make claims: to describe and debate their view of a document's key contributions and relationships to the literature. The project has investigated the technicalities and practicalities of capturing conceptual relations, within and between conventional documents in terms of abstract ontological structures. In this way, we have developed a new kind of index to distributed digital library systems. This paper reports a case study undertaken to test the sensemaking tools developed by the Scholarly Ontologies project. The tools used were ClaiMapper, which allows the user to sketch argument maps of individual papers and their connections, ClaiMaker, a server on which such models can be stored and saved, which provides interpretative services to assist the querying of argument maps across multiple papers and ClaimFinder, a novice interface to the search services in ClaiMaker.
Keywords: Modelling interfaces; Search interfaces; User studies
Differential social attributions toward computing technology: An empirical investigation BIBAKFull-Text 446-460
  Richard D. Johnson; George M. Marakas; Jonathan W. Palmer
A debate exists as to whether social cues should be intentionally designed into the user interface. Some have argued that such interfaces will improve comfort with the interface, create a more natural interaction and improve productivity, although others have argued that these interfaces will lead individuals to ascribe characteristics and responsibilities to computing technology that it does not have. Despite the debate, limited research has focused on the impact these interfaces have on how people ascribe responsibility to computing technology. Drawing from social psychology, empirical work regarding social responses toward computing technology, and attribution theory, this research empirically tests a model developed by Marakas et al. [2000. A theoretical model of differential social attributions toward computing technology: when the metaphor becomes the model. International Journal of Human Computer Studies 52, 719-750] which identifies and explains several of the factors that contribute to differential social attributions toward computing technology.
   Using data from 240 students and professionals, results from a laboratory study indicate that attributions toward computing technology are influenced by an individual's core self-evaluations, their generalized beliefs about the social role of computing technology and the nature of the computer interface used. Specifically, the results provide support for the argument that certain individuals do indeed attribute independent agency to computing technology and respond accordingly, and that this propensity is magnified when exposed to a computer with a distinctly social interface. Implications for both the applied and academic research communities are discussed.
Keywords: Interface design; Anthropomorphism; Core self-evaluations; Computer as social actor; Social responses toward computing technology; Attribution theory
Constructing structure maps of multiple on-line texts BIBAFull-Text 461-474
  Stephen J. Payne; William R. Reader
We propose that in many contexts of text use, people need to consult a mental representation of the mapping between the content of documents and their structure. We report three experiments that investigate the construction and use of such 'structure maps.' In each experiment people read multiple on-line texts on the same topic, and then searched for specific pieces of information in those texts. Search performance was compared with people who had not read the texts. People who had read multiple texts were, to some extent, able to recall where information was in the texts as shown by the locations in which they first searched (Experiments 1 and 2) or the number of pages opened during a search (Experiment 3). We also found that readers of multiple texts were able to find facts in those texts faster than were people who had not read the texts, and that this speedup was not a simple effect of faster reading while scanning for facts (Experiments 1 and 2) or of greater familiarity with the general topic (Experiment 3). These incidental effects of reading occurred whether or not participants were warned before reading that they would have subsequently to search the texts and were not compromised by transformations in the appearance of text (double column to single column) that disrupted the positions of facts on pages (Experiment 2). We conclude that readers spontaneously construct structure maps of multiple electronic texts, even when their reading goal stresses abstraction of meaning across sources. Structure maps likely play a vital role in many aspects of text use, such as re-reading and knowledge updating, so that their support is an important consideration in the design of on-line texts.
A powerful pseudo-syllabic text entry paradigm BIBAKFull-Text 475-488
  Francesco Curatelli; Chiara Martinengo
This paper describes a powerful pseudo-syllabic paradigm for improving the efficiency of typing in languages with transparent orthography (i.e., languages with highly regular correspondence of orthography and phonetics). By adopting a novel orthogonal framework, keyboards are defined as two-dimensional regular arrays of keys. Non-expert users can fast and intuitively input any possible combination of pseudo-syllables, which are text entry units with simpler consonant-vowel phonemic structure. Moreover, it is possible to input single characters in the typical letter-by-letter way. For transparent languages such as Italian and Spanish, the performed tests have shown a significant improvement in the efficiency of typing texts.
Keywords: Text entry; Pseudo-syllables; Orthogonal keyboard; Transparent orthography

IJHCS 2006 Volume 64 Issue 6

Methods for inclusion: Employing think aloud protocols in software usability studies with individuals who are deaf BIBAKFull-Text 489-501
  Vera Louise Roberts; Deborah I. Fels
Usability is an important step in the software and product design cycle. There are a number of methodologies such as talk aloud protocol, and cognitive walkthrough that can be employed in usability evaluations. However, many of these methods are not designed to include users with disabilities. Legislation and good design practice should provide incentives for researchers in this field to consider more inclusive methodologies. We carried out two studies to explore the viability of collecting gestural protocols from sign language users who are deaf using the think aloud protocol (TAP) method. Results of our studies support the viability of gestural TAP as a usability evaluation method and provide additional evidence that the cognitive systems used to produce successful verbal protocols in people who are hearing seem to work similarly in people who speak with gestures. The challenges for adapting the TAP method for gestural language relate to how the data was collected and not to the data or its analysis.
Keywords: Usability; Usability evaluation methods; Deaf; Think aloud protocol; Gestural think aloud protocol
Why structure and genre matter for users of digital information: A longitudinal experiment with readers of a web-based newspaper BIBAFull-Text 502-526
  Misha W. Vaughan; Andrew Dillon
In an effort to understand the impact of designing for digital genres on users' mental representations of structure, a two-phase study was conducted. In phase 1, six expert news readers and a panel of HCI experts were solicited for input regarding genre-conforming and genre-violating web news page design, navigation, and story categorization. In phase 2, a longitudinal experiment with a group of 25 novice web news readers who were exposed to one of the two designs over 5 sessions is reported. During these sessions a variety of user data were captured, including: comprehension (recall, recognition), usability (time on task, accuracy, user satisfaction), and navigation (path length, category node hits).
   The between-group difference of web site design was significant for comprehension, usability, and navigation with the users of the genre-conforming design demonstrating better performance. The within-group difference of time was significant across these three measures as well, with performance improving over time. No interaction effect was found between web site design and time on comprehension or usability. However, a surprising interaction effect was found on navigation; specifically the breadth of navigation (i.e. the number of nodes visited for two classes of tasks) increased over time more dramatically for the genre-violating group than for the genre-conforming group. By examining the changes in these data over time and between the two designs, evidence for the development of users' mental representations of structure was captured.
Investigation of multi-modal interface features for adaptive automation of a human-robot system BIBAKFull-Text 527-540
  David B. Kaber; Melanie C. Wright; Mohamed A. Sheik-Nainar
The objective of this research was to assess the effectiveness of using a multi-modal interface for adaptive automation (AA) of human control of a simulated telerobotic (remote-control, semi-autonomous robotic) system. We investigated the use of one or more sensory channels to cue dynamic control allocations to a human operator or computer, as part of AA, and to support operator system/situation awareness (SA) and performance. It was expected that complex auditory and visual cueing through system interfaces might address previously observed SA decrements due to unannounced or unexpected automation-state changes as part of adaptive system control. AA of the telerobot was based on a predetermined schedule of manual- and supervisory-control allocations occurring when operator workload changes were expected due to the stages of a teleoperation task. The task involved simulated underwater mine disposal and 32 participants were exposed to four types of cueing of task-phase and automation-state changes including icons, earcons, bi-modal (combined) cues and no cues at all. Fully automated control of the telerobot combined with human monitoring produced superior performance compared to completely manual system control and AA. Cueing, in general, led to better performance than none, but did not appear to completely eliminate temporary SA deficits due to changes in control and associated operator reorienting. Bi-modal cueing of dynamic automation-state changes was more supportive of SA than modal (single sensory channel) cueing. The use of icons and earcons appeared to produce no additional perceived workload in comparison no cueing. The results of this research may serve as an applicable guide for the design of human-computer interfaces for real telerobotic systems, including those used for military tactical operations, which support operator achievement and maintenance of SA and promote performance in using AA.
Keywords: Adaptive automation; Situation awareness; Multi-modal interface design; Human-robot interaction
Presence, workload and performance effects of synthetic environment design factors BIBAKFull-Text 541-552
  Ruiqi Ma; David B. Kaber
There remains a limited understanding of factors in presence and its relation to performance. This research examined a range of synthetic environment (SE) design features (viewpoint, auditory cue type and visual background) suspected to influence presence, and evaluated differences in presence, workload and task performance caused by manipulations of the factors and task difficulty in a virtual-reality-based basketball free-throw task. Thirty-two research participants were also required to perform secondary-monitoring tasks to assess attention allocation to the virtual and (surrounding) real environments, as an indicator of presence. Analysis of variance results demonstrated immersiveness (viewpoint) and auditory cue type to significantly influence the sense of subjective presence and perceptions of workload. Virtual task performance was significantly affected by task difficultly. This study also provided further evidence of significant positive relations between presence and workload, but no evidence of a correlation of objective presence and performance. These results have general applicability for the design of multimodal SE-based interfaces for real-world tasks, such as telerobot control.
Keywords: Virtual reality; Presence; Multimodal display design; Workload; Secondary-task performance; ANOVA, analysis of variance; HMD, head-mounted display; ITQ, Immersive Tendencies Questionnaire; PQ, Presence Questionnaire; RW, real world; SD, signal detection; SE, synthetic environment; SSQ, Simulator Sickness Questionnaire; VR, virtual reality
A longitudinal evaluation of hands-free speech-based navigation during dictation BIBAKFull-Text 553-569
  Jinjuan Feng; Andrew Sears; Clare-Marie Karat
Despite a reported recognition accuracy rate of 98%, speech recognition technologies have yet to be widely adopted by computer users. When considering hands-free use of speech-based solutions, as is the case for individuals with physical impairments that interfere with the use of traditional solutions such as a mouse, the considerable time required to complete basic navigation tasks presents a significant barrier to adoption. Several solutions were proposed to improve navigation efficiency based on the results of a previous study. In the current study, a longitudinal experiment was conducted to investigate the process by which users learn to use hands-free speech-based navigation in the context of large vocabulary, continuous dictation tasks as well the efficacy of the proposed solutions. Due to the influence initial interactions have on the adoption of speech-based solutions, the current study focused on these critical, initial, interactions of individuals with no prior experience using speech-based dictation solutions. Our results confirm the efficacy of the solutions proposed earlier while providing valuable insights into the strategies users employ when using speech-based navigation commands as well as design decisions that can influence these patterns.
Keywords: Speech; Navigation; Strategy; Errors

IJHCS 2006 Volume 64 Issue 7

Theoretical and empirical advances in groupware research BIBFull-Text 571-572
  Gert-Jan de Vreede; Luis A. Guerrero
On theory-driven design and deployment of collaboration systems BIBAKFull-Text 573-582
  Robert O. Briggs
Early efforts to design and deploy collaboration systems were more art than science, but they produced some solid successes. Commercial groupware products now support millions of collaborations per year. Under certain circumstances teams that use group support systems perform far better than groups that do not. However, as impressive as the achievements are in this field, we can do better. A rigorous theoretical approach to the design of collaboration technology and process can lead us to non-intuitive design choices that produce successes beyond those possible with an intuitive, seat-of-the-pants approach. This paper explains the simple structure of a rigorous scientific theory and offers examples of theory-driven design choices that produced substantial benefits. It then differentiates rigorous theory from several classes of theory that have intuitive appeal, but cannot inform design choices. It concludes that the logic of the theory-driven design approach suggests that the most useful focus for collaboration technology researchers would be the technology-supported work-process, rather than just the technology.
Keywords: Theory; Collaboration; Collaboration technology; Design; System design
A framework for asynchronous change awareness in collaborative documents and workspaces BIBAKFull-Text 583-598
  James Tam; Saul Greenberg
Change awareness is the ability of individuals to track the asynchronous changes made to a collaborative document or graphical workspace by other participants over time. We develop a framework that articulates what change awareness information is critical if people are to track and maintain change awareness. Information elements include: knowing who changed the artifact, what those changes involve, where changes occur, when changes were made, how things have changed and why people made the changes. The framework accounts for people's need to view these changes from different perspectives: an artifact-based view, a person-based view and a workspace-based view. Each information element is further broken down into distinguishing features and matched against these perspectives, e.g., location history within the where category prompts the questions 'where was this artifact when I left' in the artifact-based view, 'where in the workspace has a person visited' in the person-based view and 'where have people been in the workspace' in the workspace-based view. The framework can be used both to inform and critique change awareness tools.
Keywords: Change awareness; Asynchronous awareness
Groupware development support with technology patterns BIBAKFull-Text 599-610
  Stephan Lukosch; Till Schummer
Groupware development support should educate developers on how to design groupware applications and foster the reuse of proven solutions. Additionally, it should foster communication between developers and end-users, since they need a common language and understanding of the problem space. Groupware frameworks provide solutions for the development of groupware applications by means of building blocks. They have become a prominent means to support developers, but from our experience frameworks have properties that complicate their usage and do not sufficiently support groupware developers. We argue for a pattern approach to support the technical aspects of groupware development. Patterns describe solutions to recurring issues in groupware development. They serve as educational and communicative vehicle for reaching the above goals. In this article, we provide a pattern language focusing on technical issues during groupware development. Experiences when using the language in an educational setting and a product development setting have shown that the patterns are a supportive means for the proposed goals.
Keywords: Groupware development; Design patterns; Education of groupware developers; Oregon Software Development Process (OSDP)
A conceptual foundation of the thinkLet concept for Collaboration Engineering BIBAKFull-Text 611-621
  Gwendolyn L. Kolfschoten; Robert O. Briggs; Gert-Jan de Vreede; Peter H. M. Jacobs; Jaco H. Appelman
Organizations increasingly use collaborative teams in order to create value for their stakeholders. This trend has given rise to a new research field: Collaboration Engineering. The goal of Collaboration Engineering is to design and deploy processes for high-value recurring collaborative tasks, and to design these processes such that practitioners can execute them successfully without the intervention of professional facilitators. One of the key concepts in Collaboration Engineering is the thinkLet -- a codified facilitation technique that creates a predictable pattern of collaboration. Because thinkLets produce a predictable pattern of interactions among people working together toward a goal they can be used as snap-together building blocks for team process designs. This paper presents an analysis of the thinkLet concept and proposes a conceptual object model of a thinkLet that may inform further developments in Collaboration Engineering.
Keywords: Collaboration Engineering; ThinkLets; Collaboration; Object oriented modeling; Collaboration process design; Facilitation; Group Support Systems
A layered framework for evaluating on-line collaborative learning interactions BIBAKFull-Text 622-635
  Thanasis Daradoumis; Alejandra Martinez-Mones; Fatos Xhafa
Evaluating on-line collaborative learning interactions is a complex task due to the variety of elements and factors that take place and intervene in the way a group of students comes together to collaborate in order to achieve a learning goal. The aim of this paper is to provide a better understanding of group interaction and determine how to best support the collaborative learning process. To that end, we propose a principled framework for the study and analysis of group interaction and group scaffolding which is built by combining different aspects and issues of collaboration, learning and evaluation. In particular, we define learning activity indicators at several levels of description which prompt to the application of a mixed interaction analysis scheme and the use of different data types and specific tools. At an initial layer, the basis of the approach is set by applying a qualitative process for evaluating the individual and group task performance as well as the group functioning and scaffolding. The interaction analysis process is completed by defining and applying two more layers: a social network analysis of the group activity and participation behaviour and a quantitative analysis of group effectiveness as regards task achievement and active interaction involvement. Our work defines a grounded and holistic conceptual model that describes on-line collaborative learning interactions sufficiently and applies it in a real, web-based, complex and long-term collaborative learning situation. An in-depth empirical evaluation of the conceptual model is fully discussed, which demonstrates the usefulness and value of the approach.
Keywords: Computer-supported collaborative learning; Interaction analysis; Evaluation

IJHCS 2006 Volume 64 Issue 8

User perception of adapting video quality BIBAKFull-Text 637-647
  Nicola Cranley; Philip Perry; Liam Murphy
In general, video quality adaptation and video quality evaluation are distinct activities. Most adaptive delivery mechanisms for streaming multimedia content do not explicitly consider user-perceived quality when making adaptation decisions. Equally, video quality evaluation techniques are not designed to evaluate instantaneous quality where the quality is changing over time. We propose that an Optimal Adaptation Trajectory (OAT) through the set of possible encoding exists, and that it indicates how to adapt encoding quality in response to changes in network conditions in order to maximize user-perceived quality. The subjective and objective tests carried out to find such trajectories for a number of different MPEG-4 video clips are described. Experimental subjective testing results are presented that demonstrate the dynamic nature of user perception with adapting multimedia. The results demonstrate that adaptation using the OAT out-performs conventional adaptation strategies in which only a single aspect of the video quality is adapted. In contrast, the OAT provides a mechanism to adapt multiple aspects of the video quality thereby giving better user-perceived quality in both the short and long term.
Keywords: Video quality; Evaluation/methodology; Perception; Subjective and objective quality; Adaptation
The problem of describing a problem: Supporting laypersons in presenting their queries to the Internet-based helpdesk BIBAKFull-Text 648-669
  Matthias Nuckles; Anna Ertelt
Internet-based helpdesks for hardware and software are a common way to get expert advice. To communicate effectively with experts, laypersons should be able to provide the expert with a concise and comprehensive description of their computer problem. However, previous research on computer helpdesks has shown that laypersons' problem descriptions typically exhibit a number of unfavourable features making it difficult for the helpdesk expert to develop a correct understanding of the problem. Based on a discussion of these features, we developed a problem formulation script that supports laypersons in describing their computer problems. We conducted an experimental study (54 laypersons and 54 experts), which tested the effectiveness of different versions of the problem formulation script to improve the quality of laypersons' problem descriptions. The results show that computer experts were best able to reconstruct the actual problem from the layperson's description if they were prompted to describe successively (1) the goal of their interaction with the computer, (2) the steps they had undertaken so far and (3) a hypothesis why they had failed to reach the aim. The script helped the laypersons provide the relevant context information necessary to develop an adequate mental model of the problem. Hence, guiding laypersons' problem descriptions by a problem formulation script proved to be a successful approach to support Internet-based helpdesk communication between computer experts and laypersons.
Keywords: Helpdesk support; Expert-layperson communication; Asynchronous interaction; Electronic mail; Problem solving; Human information processing; Computer-supported cooperative work
Computational modeling and experimental investigation of effects of compositional elements on interface and design aesthetics BIBAKFull-Text 670-682
  Michael Bauerly; Yili Liu
This article describes computational modeling and two corresponding experimental investigations of the effects of symmetry, balance and quantity of construction elements on interface aesthetic judgments. In the first experiment, 30 black and white geometric images were developed by systematically varying these three attributes in order to validate computational aesthetic quantification algorithms with subject ratings. The second experiment employed the same image layout as Experiment 1 but with realistic looking web pages as stimuli. The images were rated by 16 subjects in each experiment using the ratio-scale magnitude estimation method against a benchmark image with average balance and symmetry values and a standard number of elements. Subjects also established an ordered list of the images according to their aesthetic appeal using the Balanced-Incomplete-Block (BIB) ranking method.
   Results from both experiments show that subjects are adept at judging symmetry and balance in both the horizontal and vertical directions and thus the quantification of those attributes is justified. The first experiment establishes a relationship between a higher symmetry value and aesthetic appeal for the basic imagery showing that subjects preferred symmetric over non-symmetric images. The second experiment illustrates that increasing the number of groups in a web page causes a decrease in the aesthetic appeal rating.
Keywords: Aesthetics; Engineering aesthetics; Balance; Symmetry; Display evaluation
Understanding e-learning continuance intention: An extension of the Technology Acceptance Model BIBAKFull-Text 683-696
  Juan Carlos Roca; Chao-Min Chiu; Francisco Jose Martinez
Based on the expectancy disconfirmation theory, this study proposes a decomposed technology acceptance model in the context of an e-learning service. In the proposed model, the perceived performance component is decomposed into perceived quality and perceived usability. A sample of 172 respondents took part in this study. The results suggest that users' continuance intention is determined by satisfaction, which in turn is jointly determined by perceived usefulness, information quality, confirmation, service quality, system quality, perceived ease of use and cognitive absorption.
Keywords: Technology acceptance model; Expectancy disconfirmation theory; Satisfaction
A framework for understanding trust factors in web-based health advice BIBAKFull-Text 697-713
  Elizabeth Sillence; Pam Briggs; Peter Harris; Lesley Fishwick
Trust is a key factor in consumer decisions about website engagement. Consumers will engage with sites they deem trustworthy and turn away from those they mistrust. In this paper, we present a framework for understanding trust factors in web-based health advice. The framework is derived from a staged model of trust and allows predictions to be made concerning user engagement with different health websites. The framework is then validated via a series of qualitative, longitudinal studies. In each study, genuine consumers searched online for information and advice concerning their specific health issue. They engaged in free searching and were directed towards sites previously reviewed using the framework. Thematic analysis of the group discussions provided support for the framework and for the staged model of trust wherein design appeal predicted rejection (mistrust) and credibility of information and personalization of content predicted selection (trust) of advice sites. The results are discussed in terms of the merits of the framework, its limitations and directions for future work.
Keywords: Trust; Credibility; Health; Social identity; Internet; Computer-mediated communication; Framework
Effects of introducing collaborative technology on communications in a distributed safety-critical system BIBAKFull-Text 714-726
  Sudhendar Hanumantharao; Martha Grabowski
Communication and collaborative decision-making are critical activities in safety-critical systems such as marine transportation. As a result, new group technologies have been introduced to enhance communication and decision-making in these settings. Unfortunately, little research examining the impact of these new collaborative technologies has been undertaken, and most of it has been undertaken in laboratory environments, rather than in operational or safety-critical settings. Two primary differences of the operational setting in this study suggest that results may differ from studies undertaken in laboratory environments: (1) the system has a strong hierarchical organization and culture with clearly defined roles and (2) roles in the system are associated with different information access privileges. This paper explores the impact of introducing new technology on communication and collaboration between dispersed decision-making groups in marine transportation, and focuses on the differences in results observed in this operational setting.
Keywords: Technology impact; Technology introduction; Automation; Group support systems; Group decision support systems; Decision support systems; Safety-critical system; Marine transportation; Vessel traffic systems; Case study; Communication; Lean media; Rich technology environment; Saint Lawrence Seaway
Unsupervised learning techniques for fine-tuning fuzzy cognitive map causal links BIBAKFull-Text 727-743
  Elpiniki I. Papageorgiou; Chrysostomos Stylios; Peter P. Groumpos
Fuzzy Cognitive Maps (FCMs) constitute an attractive knowledge-based methodology, combining the robust properties of fuzzy logic and neural networks. FCMs represent causal knowledge as a signed directed graph with feedback and provide an intuitive framework which incorporates the experts' knowledge. FCMs handle available information and knowledge from an abstract point of view. They develop behavioural model of the system exploiting the experience and knowledge of experts. The construction of FCMs is based mainly on experts who determine the structure of FCM, i.e. concepts and weighted interconnections among concepts. But this methodology may not be a sufficient model of the system because the human factor is not always reliable. Thus the FCM model of the system may requires restructuring which is achieved through adjustment the weights of FCM interconnections using specific learning algorithms for FCMs. In this article, two unsupervised learning algorithms are presented and compared for training FCMs; how they define, select or fine-tuning weights of the causal interconnections among concepts. The implementation and results of these unsupervised learning techniques for an industrial process control problem are discussed. The simulations results of training the process system verify the effectiveness, validity and advantageous characteristics of those learning techniques for FCMs.
Keywords: Fuzzy cognitive maps; Learning algorithms; Hebbian learning; Process modeling and control
Computer use has no demonstrated impact on the well-being of older adults BIBAKFull-Text 744-753
  Anna Dickinson; Peter Gregor
Technology is frequently presented as a panacea for the support needs of the ageing population, based in part upon the commonly cited assertion that computer and internet use has an empirically verified positive effect on the well-being of older people. In this paper we review the studies that this assertion is based on and conclude that they do not support it. While the original studies rarely make unsupportable claims, the secondary literature which cites them is frequently very misleading; limitations include, failure to distinguish between the effects of training/support and computer use; misattributing causality; inappropriately generalising results from a different population.
Keywords: Older adults; Computer use; Well-being
Visualisation improves the usability of voice-operated mobile phone services BIBAKFull-Text 754-769
  Mark Howell; Steve Love; Mark Turner
Three different versions of a voice-operated mobile city guide service with a hierarchically structured dialogue were evaluated in a mobile setting. One numbered menu style (standard) service, and two services which contained terms derived from underlying real-world referents, were implemented. The real-world referents (metaphors) used were: an office filing system and a computer desktop. It was hypothesized that the use of interface metaphors would allow more participants to visualize the service structure, leading to an improvement in performance relative to the standard service. Forty-two phone users undertook three different tasks with one of the three phone services. User performance and attitudes to the services were recorded, and post-task interviews were conducted. Results showed that significantly more participants using the metaphor-based services visualized the services. Visualizers performed significantly better than non-visualizers, with visualization emerging as a significant predictor of both attitude and performance. We argue that designing speech-based mobile phone services using an appropriate spatial metaphor leads to high levels of visualisation, which allows participants to orient themselves and to navigate more effectively within the hierarchical service architecture. The usability benefits afforded by visualization may become especially important when using phone services in cognitively demanding mobile settings.
Keywords: Visualization; Interface metaphor; Usability; Mobile phone; Speech interaction
On the role of metaphor and language in design of third party payments in eBanking: Usability and quality BIBAKFull-Text 770-784
  Catherine S. Weir; James N. Anderson; Mervyn A. Jack
This paper describes results of a usability study of contrasting user-interface designs for Internet Banking (eBanking). Two specific interface metaphors were compared in the first experiment, linear form filling and array editing interaction modes. Terminology in the interaction dialogue was compared in the second experiment, using typical banking language and a generic, plain language interface. This research aimed to perform usability evaluation and comparison of the alternative interface designs to illuminate the development of new eBanking services. This research involved sixty-one participants (Internet users and customers of the involved Bank) exploring the designs in controlled experiments involving hands-on experience. Banks are interested in ensuring their eBanking services are highly customer-centric and that the interface matches customer expectations in order to drive customers towards this lower cost channel. The results of the first experiment (N=32, where N indicates the number of participants in the cohort) concluded that the simple form-filling metaphor, taken from the traditional paper-based procedure, was generally more usable than a Spreadsheet metaphor. In the second experiment (N=29), it was found that although banking terminology was not completely understood across the cohort, the instructional language changes did not impact significantly on usability.
Keywords: Usability; User-interface; Design; Internet Banking; Experiment

IJHCS 2006 Volume 64 Issue 9

Human-computer interaction research in the management information systems discipline BIBFull-Text 787-788
  Fiona Fui-Hoon Nah; Ping Zhang; Scott McCoy; Mun Y. Yi
Weblog success: Exploring the role of technology BIBAKFull-Text 789-798
  Helen S. Du; Christian Wagner
Weblogs have recently gained considerable media attention. Leading weblog sites are already attracting millions of visitors. Yet, success in the highly competitive world of weblogs is not easily achieved. This study seeks to explore weblog success from a technology perspective, i.e. from the impact of weblog-building technology (or blogging tool). Based on an examination of 126 highly successful weblogs tracked over a period of 3 months, we categorized weblogs in terms of popularity rank and growth, and evaluated the relationship between weblog success (in terms of popularity) and technology use. Our analysis indicates that weblog success is associated with the type of blogging tool used. We argue that technology characteristics affect the presentation and organization of weblog content, as well as the social interaction between bloggers, and in turn, affect weblog success or popularity improvement. Based on this analysis, we propose a techno-social success model for weblogs. This model postulates that a weblog's success is mainly associated with its ability to provide value for its users and readers at the content, the technology, and the social levels.
Keywords: Weblog (blog); Blogging tool; Weblog success categories; Success model; Value proposition; Techno-social perspective
The effects of post-adoption beliefs on the expectation-confirmation model for information technology continuance BIBAKFull-Text 799-810
  James Y. L. Thong; Se-Joon Hong; Kar Yan Tam
The expectation-confirmation model (ECM) of IT continuance is a model for investigating continued information technology (IT) usage behavior. This paper reports on a study that attempts to expand the set of post-adoption beliefs in the ECM, in order to extend the application of the ECM beyond an instrumental focus. The expanded ECM, incorporating the post-adoption beliefs of perceived usefulness, perceived enjoyment and perceived ease of use, was empirically validated with data collected from an on-line survey of 811 existing users of mobile Internet services. The data analysis showed that the expanded ECM has good explanatory power (R2=57.6% of continued IT usage intention and R2=67.8% of satisfaction), with all paths supported. Hence, the expanded ECM can provide supplementary information that is relevant for understanding continued IT usage. The significant effects of post-adoption perceived ease of use and perceived enjoyment signify that the nature of the IT can be an important boundary condition in understanding the continued IT usage behavior. At a practical level, the expanded ECM presents IT product/service providers with deeper insights into how to address IT users' satisfaction and continued patronage.
Keywords: Information technology continuance; Expectation-confirmation model; Technology acceptance; Post-adoption beliefs; Mobile internet services
Studying information seeking on the non-English Web: An experiment on a Spanish business Web portal BIBAKFull-Text 811-829
  Wingyan Chung
The Internet is estimated to grow significantly as access to Web content in some non-English languages continues to increase. However, prior research in human-computer interaction (HCI) has implicitly assumed the primary language used on the Web to be English. This assumption is not true for many non-English-speaking regions where rapidly growing on-line populations access the Web in their native languages. For example, Latin America, where the majority of people speak Spanish, will have the fastest growing population in coming decades. However, existing Spanish search engines lack search, browse, and analysis capabilities. The research reported here studied human information seeking on the non-English Web. In it we developed a Spanish business Web portal that supports searching, browsing, summarization, categorization, and visualization of Spanish business Web pages. Using 42 Spanish speakers as subjects we conducted a two-phase experiment to evaluate this portal and found that, compared with a Spanish search engine and a Spanish Web directory, it achieved significantly better user ratings on information quality, cross-regional search capability, system performance attributes, and overall satisfaction. Subjects' verbal comments strongly favored the search and browse functionality and user interface of our portal. As the Web becomes more international, this research makes three contributions: (1) an empirical evaluation of the performance level of a Spanish search portal; (2) an examination of the information quality, cross-regional search capability and usability of search engines for the non-English Web; and (3) a better understanding of non-English Web searching.
Keywords: Internet; Web; Searching; Browsing; Spanish; Non-English Web content; Web portal; Information quality; Cross-regional search capability; User satisfaction; User study
Identifying usability and fun problems in a computer game during first use and after some practice BIBAFull-Text 830-846
  W. Barendregt; M. M. Bekker; D. G. Bouwhuis; E. Baauw
This paper describes an experiment to discover the change in the types of detected problems and the attitude of children towards a game when user testing a computer game for young children during first use and after they have practiced with a game. Both the numbers of different types of identified problems and the severity of the problems are investigated. Based on this knowledge, practitioners could adapt the set up of their user tests to effectively find as many aspects of the game as possible that merit change, according to the aims of the developers. The study shows that usability problems caused by a lack of knowledge were more often identified during first use. Furthermore, fun problems related to a too-high challenge level may disappear after some practice, whereas fun problems caused by the game taking over control for too long while the user wants to proceed playing the game were identified more often after some practice. The study shows that the impact severity of problems detected during first use was higher than when children had more practice with a game. As a result of these changes in experienced problems the commonly used measures efficiency, effectiveness and satisfaction increased when children had practiced with the game. Finally, the study also shows that the set of most severe problems identified during first use may be radically different from the set of most severe problems identified after some practice.
Toward a decision-theoretic framework for affect recognition and user assistance BIBAKFull-Text 847-873
  Wenhui Liao; Weihong Zhang; Zhiwei Zhu; Qiang Ji; Wayne D. Gray
There is an increasing interest in developing intelligent human-computer interaction systems that can fulfill two functions -- recognizing user affective states and providing the user with timely and appropriate assistance. In this paper, we present a general unified decision-theoretic framework based on influence diagrams for simultaneously modeling user affect recognition and assistance. Affective state recognition is achieved through active probabilistic inference from the available multi modality sensory data. User assistance is automatically accomplished through a decision-making process that balances the benefits of keeping the user in productive affective states and the costs of performing user assistance. We discuss three theoretical issues within the framework, namely, user affect recognition, active sensory action selection, and user assistance. Validation of the proposed framework via a simulation study demonstrates its capability in efficient user affect recognition as well as timely and appropriate user assistance. Besides the theoretical contributions, we build a non-invasive real-time prototype system to recognize different user affective states (stress and fatigue) from four-modality user measurements, namely physical appearance features, physiological measures, user performance, and behavioral data. The affect recognition component of the prototype system is subsequently validated through a real-world study involving human subjects.
Keywords: Affective computing; Human-computer interaction; Influence diagrams; Active sensing; Stress modeling; Fatigue recognition
Affective affordances: Improving interface character engagement through interaction BIBAKFull-Text 874-888
  Henriette C. van Vugt; Johan F. Hoorn; Elly A. Konijn; Athina de Bie Dimitriadou
The nature of humans interacting with interface characters (e.g. embodied agents) is not well understood. The I-PEFiC model provides an integrative perspective on human-character interaction, assuming that the processes of engagement and user interaction exchange information in explaining user responses with interface characters. An experiment using the Sims2 game was conducted to test the effects of aesthetics (beautiful versus ugly, as engagement factor) and affordances (help versus obstacle, as interaction factor) of interface characters on use intentions, user engagement, and user satisfaction. Results of the experiment showed that (1) people tended to use helpful characters more than obstructing characters, (2) user engagement was enhanced by beauty and perceived affordance of the character whereas (3) intentions to use the character were not affected by good looks, and (4) the most satisfied users were those that were engaged with the character as well as willing to use it. This stresses the importance of enhancing affordances so to increase user engagement with interface characters. The I-PEFiC model provided a valuable framework to study the (interdependent) effects of relevant factors in human-character interaction.
Keywords: Human-computer interaction; Media entertainment; Interface characters; I-PEFiC model; Empirical study; Engagement; Use intentions
A longitudinal investigation of continued online shopping behavior: An extension of the theory of planned behavior BIBAKFull-Text 889-904
  Meng-Hsiang Hsu; Chia-Hui Yen; Chao-Min Chiu; Chun-Ming Chang
The purpose of this study is to propose an extended model of Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB) by incorporating constructs drawn from the model of Expectation Disconfirmation Theory (EDT) and to examine the antecedents of users' intention to continue using online shopping (continuance intention). Prior research has demonstrated that TPB constructs, including attitude, subjective norm, and perceived behavioral control, are important factors in determining the acceptance and use of various information technologies. These factors, however, are insufficient to explain a user's continuance intention in the online shopping context. In this study we extended TPB with two EDT constructs -- disconfirmation and satisfaction -- for studying users' continuance intention in the online shopping context. By employing longitudinal method with two-stage survey, we empirically validated the proposed model and research hypotheses.
Keywords: Online shopping behavior; Continued usage; Theory of planned behavior; Expectancy disconfirmation theory
Effects of watermark and music on mobile message advertisements BIBAKFull-Text 905-914
  Pei-Luen Patrick Rau; Duye Chen
The development of mobile telecommunication has made breakthrough advances in recent years. Compared to the Internet, mobile telecommunications has anywhere, anytime and always online characteristics. As growth in the Internet advertising market continues, mobile advertising has attracted attention. In this research, the effectiveness of two types of mobile message advertisements, watermarks and music are studied and compared. Two experiments were carried out to test four proposed hypotheses. The independent variable in experiment 1 was the watermark transparency (20%, 40% and 60%). The independent variable in experiment 2 was the music format with five levels: no music, vocal and instrumental version at high volume, vocal and instrumental version at low volume, instrumental version at high volume and instrumental version at low volume. The results showed that the watermarks transparency and format were effective in mobile advertising. The 60% watermark was found better than the 20% and 40% watermarks. The 40% watermark was found better than the 20% watermark for advertisement recall only. Music and vocal/instrumental music versions were effective in mobile advertisements. The vocal music version was found effective in mobile advertising. Music with both vocal and instrumental versions was more effective in advertisement recall than instrumental music for mobile device users.
Keywords: Transparent user interface; Mobile advertisements; Watermark; Advertisement music
Pair programming productivity: Novice-novice vs. expert-expert BIBAKFull-Text 915-925
  Kim Man Lui; Keith C. C. Chan
Agile Software Development methodologies have grown in popularity both among academic researchers and industrial practitioners. Among the various methodologies or practices proposed, pair programming, which is concerned with two programmers collaborating on design, coding and testing, has become a controversial focus of interest. Even though some success stories have been reported with the use of pair-programming in real software development environment, many people remain rather skeptical of the claims on pair-programming productivity. Previous studies in pair programming have only addressed the basic understanding of the productivity of pairs and they have not addressed the variation in productivity between pairs of varying skills and experience, such as between novice-novice and expert-expert. Statistical productivity measurements reported by different researchers also seem to lead to contradictory conclusions. Until now, the literature has not addressed how those results and experiments were related to each other. In this paper, we propose a controlled experiment called repeat-programming which can facilitate the understanding of relationships between human experience and programming productivity. Repeat-programming can be performed when controversial issues in non-traditional programming methodologies and development productivity need to be investigated into. To illustrate how the proposed empirical experiment can put arguable, divisive problems into perspective, we have examined the productivity in pair programming as a case study. With repeat-programming, we are able to (i) better understand why results of previous pair programming control experiments reached different conclusions as to the productivity of pair programming and (ii) most importantly, present a case in which novice-novice pairs against novice solos are much more productive than expert-expert pairs against expert solos.
Keywords: Programming model; Pair programming; Programmer productivity
Assessment of employees' perceptions of service quality and satisfaction with e-business BIBAKFull-Text 926-938
  Jung-Yu Lai
In a competitive environment of frequent and rapid change, electronic business (e-business), whose supply, production, and logistics and distribution networks are enabled digitally, is increasingly dependent on electronic interconnections that are innovative in their functionality. Conceivably, its ability to deliver functions and services is closely associated with and helpful for the completion of employees' tasks and jobs, leading to service quality being critically important for both the employees and e-business (EB). On the other hand, since EB utilizes enterprise applications, user satisfaction, as a surrogate measure of information system (IS) or information technology (IT) effectiveness/success is also important for enterprise applications success. Thus, this research attempts to extrapolate the results of marketing research concerning customers' perceptions of service quality and IS/IT research as to employees' perceptions of service quality with EB. First, we revise the SERVQUAL instrument to fit the new context of EB and measure employees' perceived service quality with EB. Based on a survey of 161 respondents practicing mostly in seven international electronic businesses in Taiwan, a 13-item EB-SERVQUAL instrument is proposed. This can be used to improve and diagnose the service quality of EB. Second, we examine user satisfaction with enterprise applications and its causal link in relation to service quality with EB. The instrument and our findings in this paper will be valuable to researchers and practitioners interested in designing, implementing, and managing EB.
Keywords: E-business; Enterprise applications; Service quality; User satisfaction

IJHCS 2006 Volume 64 Issue 10

Surviving task interruptions: Investigating the implications of long-term working memory theory BIBAKFull-Text 941-961
  Antti Oulasvirta; Pertti Saariluoma
Typically, we have several tasks at hand, some of which are in interrupted state while others are being carried out. Most of the time, such interruptions are not disruptive to task performance. Based on the theory of Long-Term Working Memory (LTWM; Ericsson, K.A., Kintsch, W., 1995. Long-term working memory. Psychological Review, 102, 211-245), we posit that unless there are enough mental skills and resources to encode task representations to retrieval structures in long-term memory, the resulting memory traces will not enable reinstating the information, which can lead to memory losses. However, once encoded to LTWM, they are virtually safeguarded. Implications of the theory were tested in a series of experiments in which the reading of an expository text was interrupted by a 30-s interactive task, after which the reading was continued. The results convey the remarkably robust nature of skilled memory -- when LTWM encoding speed is fast enough for the task-processing imposed by the interface, interruptions have no effect on memory, regardless of their pacing, intensity, or difficulty. In the final experiment where presentation time in the main task was notably speeded up to match the limits of encoding speed, interruptions did hamper memory. Based on the results and the theory, we argue that auditory rehearsal or time-based retrieval cues were not utilized in surviving interruptions and that they are in general weaker strategies for surviving interruptions in complex cognitive tasks. We conclude the paper by suggesting three ways to support interruption tolerance by the means of task and interface design: (1) actively facilitating the development of memory skills, (2) matching encoding speed to task processing demands, and (3) supporting encoding-retrieval symmetry.
Keywords: Interruptions; Working memory; Expertise; Human factors; Human-computer interaction; User psychology; Long-term working memory
Are physically embodied social agents better than disembodied social agents?: The effects of physical embodiment, tactile interaction, and people's loneliness in human-robot interaction BIBAKFull-Text 962-973
  Kwan Min Lee; Younbo Jung; Jaywoo Kim; Sang Ryong Kim
Two experiments were conducted to investigate the effects of physical embodiment in human-agent interaction. Experiment 1 (N=32) shows positive effects of physical embodiment on the feeling of an agent's social presence, the evaluation of the agent, the assessment of public evaluation of the agent, and the evaluation of the interaction with the agent. A path analysis reveals that the feeling of the agent's social presence mediates the participants' evaluation of the social agent. Experiment 2 (N=32) shows that physical embodiment with restricted tactile interaction causes null or even negative effects in human-agent interaction. In addition, Experiment 2 indicates that lonely people feel higher social presence of social agents, and provide more positive social responses to social agents than non-lonely people. The importance of physical embodiment and tactile communication in human-agent interaction and the diverse role of social robots, especially for the lonely population, are discussed.
Keywords: Physical embodiment; Human-robot interaction; Presence; Social presence; Social agents; Computers are social actors (CASA); Social robots; Human-agent interaction; Tactile communication; Loneliness
Supporting knowledge-intensive inspection tasks with application ontologies BIBAKFull-Text 974-983
  Nicole J. J. P. Koenderink; Jan L. Top; Lucas J. van Vliet
One of the major challenges in computer vision is to create automated systems that perform tasks with at least the same competences as human experts. In particular for automated inspection of natural objects this is not easy to achieve. The task is hampered by large in-class variations and complex 3D-morphology of the objects and subtle argumentations of experts. For example, in our horticultural case we deal with quality assessment of young tomato plants, which requires experienced specialists. We submit that automation of such a task employing an explicit model of the objects and their assessment is preferred over a black-box model obtained from modelling input-output relations only. We propose to employ ontologies for representing the geometrical shapes, object parts and quality classes associated with the explicit models. Our main contribution is the description of a method to develop a white-box computer vision application in which the needed expert knowledge is defined by: (i) decomposing the task of the inspection system into subtasks and (ii) identifying the algorithms that execute the subtasks. This method describes the interaction between the task decomposition and the needed task-specific knowledge, and studies the delicate balance between general domain knowledge and task-specific details. As a proof of principle of this methodology, we work through a horticultural case study and argue that the method leads to a robust, well-performing, and extendable computer vision system.
Keywords: Knowledge intensive information processing; Application ontology; Seedling classification; Cognitive vision; CommonKADS
Measuring Internet usage: The Israeli case BIBAKFull-Text 984-997
  Yael Fisher; Orit Bendas-Jacob
The article describes two instruments for measuring Internet Usage and the changes in subjects' Internet usage following a controlled intervention. It focuses on the use of usage and lack of usage for measuring the digital gap. The "digital gap" is defined as the gap between individuals with and without access to technology (telephones, computers, Internet access) and related services. Since its emergence, the Internet has become the most important form of information and communication technology (ICT).
   The goal of the present research was to develop ways of measuring Internet usage for different segments of the Israeli population (it can also be used to measure Internet usage outside Israel). For the past few years, the Israeli government has sponsored programs designed to increase Internet usage in specific segments of the Israeli population. Some of these programs have been "controlled programs". Controlled Internet Usage Programs are planned and monitored programs, which use research methods to discover whether they have increased Internet usage and changed Internet habits.
   The population of Internet users in Israel is presently 45.8% (compared with 68.2% in the US population). The past 5 years has witnessed a significant rise in the number of Internet users in the West in general and in Israel specifically: an increase of 152% in the number of Israeli households connected to the Internet during the period 2000-2005.
   However, large differences are apparent between the stronger and weaker sections of the Israeli population where the Internet is concerned, and controlled intervention is therefore a very important means of reducing these discrepancies.
   The present article describes two measurement instruments: the first instrument examines on-line proficiency, while the second determines patterns of Internet use and the status of respondents' "Internet awareness".
   The instruments were built to determine the reduction in the digital divide associated with Internet usage following controlled intervention, and the population's Internet usage status before and after intervention. The difference between the two measurements represents the increase or decrease in Internet usage.
   These two instruments may be used by agencies making decisions about resource disbursement to reduce the digital divide in a variety of populations.
Keywords: Intenet usage; Digital divide; Computers; Intervention programs; Measuring Internet usage; Internet proficiency; On-line skills; Israeli on-line proficiency; Digital awareness
Supporting creative and reflective processes BIBAKFull-Text 998-1030
  Hilary Johnson; Lucy Carruthers
One of the major challenges in computer vision is to create automated systems that perform tasks with at least the same competences as human experts. In particular for automated inspection of natural objects this is not easy to achieve. The task is hampered by large in-class variations and complex 3D-morphology of the objects and subtle argumentations of experts. For example, in our horticultural case we deal with quality assessment of young tomato plants, which requires experienced specialists. We submit that automation of such a task employing an explicit model of the objects and their assessment is preferred over a black-box model obtained from modelling input-output relations only. We propose to employ ontologies for representing the geometrical shapes, object parts and quality classes associated with the explicit models. Our main contribution is the description of a method to develop a white-box computer vision application in which the needed expert knowledge is defined by: (i) decomposing the task of the inspection system into subtasks and (ii) identifying the algorithms that execute the subtasks. This method describes the interaction between the task decomposition and the needed task-specific knowledge, and studies the delicate balance between general domain knowledge and task-specific details. As a proof of principle of this methodology, we work through a horticultural case study and argue that the method leads to a robust, well-performing, and extendable computer vision system.
Keywords: Knowledge intensive information processing; Application ontology; Seedling classification; Cognitive vision; CommonKADS
Web designers and web users: Influence of the ergonomic quality of the web site on the information search BIBAKFull-Text 1031-1048
  Aline Chevalier; Maud Kicka
Despite rapid growth in the number of web sites, there is still a significant number of ergonomic problems which hinder web users. Many studies focus on analysing cognitive processes and difficulties experienced by web users, but very few are interested in web designers' difficulties or in comparing their respective activities. Towards this end, the two experimental studies presented in this article compare the strategies developed both by professional web designers and (novice vs. experienced) web users while searching for information on web sites of varying ergonomic quality. More precisely, we investigated whether web designers can effectively use their own strategies as web users when designing web sites. We presented a comparison of novice web users, experienced web users and professional web designers searching behavior and cognitive load when using ergonomic and non-ergonomic web sites. In addition, we asked web designers to predict the strategy used by novice web users. Based on the results obtained in the two experiments, we conclude that web designers are not able to predict strategies of novice users and do not behave like novice users. Consequently, ways for supporting web designers in developing a user-centered activity are necessary, and certain ways are suggested at the end of this article.
Keywords: Web designers; Web users; Information search; Cognitive load; Ergonomics; Experience
Identity and role -- A qualitative case study of cooperative scenario building BIBAKFull-Text 1049-1060
  David Dinka; Jonas Lundberg
In this study, we argue that users participating in the design process will form the participation as a function of their professional role, but also as a function of their identity more or less independent from their role. In order to get the full potential of cooperative design the user identity in general and in this case their attitudes towards technology in particular should be incorporated into the design process. This case study consists of participatory design sessions with two different organizations, in the context of a media production tool development project. Facilitator skills, and workshop interventions to balance attitudes and to take them into account in design are discussed. Furthermore, we argue that attitudes will affect a subsequent implementation of a technical system, and that knowledge about stakeholder identity can be useful for further design activities and for planning system implementation.
Keywords: Role; Identity; User-centred design; Cooperative design
Revising (multi-) media learning principles by applying a differentiated knowledge concept BIBAKFull-Text 1061-1070
  S. Guttormsen Schar; J. Kaiser
This paper reports on a study investigating the effect of single-media and multimedia presentations on the resulting knowledge. First, this study investigated the stability of established multimedia learning principles by measuring acquired knowledge in different ways. Second, we aimed at testing the effect of cognitive load induced by various media combinations. Third and most important, we investigated the effect of various media combinations on the resulting kind of knowledge using a differentiated knowledge concept. Our study delivered interesting insight about multimedia effects, suggesting that the effect of (multi-) media must be evaluated with regard to the learning goals. Students do not either learn or not learn. Rather various kinds of information can be acquired depending on the representation with verbal and visual media. Experimental research in this domain should apply a more differentiated knowledge concept than often is the case today. Our results offer an interesting differentiated view of the effect of media in this context.
Keywords: Multimedia; Cognitive load; Learning; Testing; Knowledge

IJHCS 2006 Volume 64 Issue 11

Evaluating the consistency of immediate aesthetic perceptions of web pages BIBAKFull-Text 1071-1083
  Noam Tractinsky; Avivit Cokhavi; Moti Kirschenbaum; Tal Sharfi
Two experiments were designed to replicate and extend [Lindgaard et al.'s, 2006. Attention web designers: you have 50 ms to make a good first impression! Behaviour and Information Technology 25(2), 115-126] findings that users can form immediate aesthetic impression of web pages, and that these impressions are highly stable. Using explicit (subjective evaluations) and implicit (response latency) measures, the experiments demonstrated that, averaged over users, immediate aesthetic impressions of web pages are remarkably consistent. In Experiment 1, 40 participants evaluated 50 web pages in two phases. The average attractiveness ratings of web pages after a very short exposure of 500 ms were highly correlated with average attractiveness ratings after an exposure of 10 s. Extreme attractiveness evaluations (both positive and negative) were faster than moderate evaluations, landing convergent evidence to the hypothesis of immediate impression. The findings also suggest considerable individual differences in evaluations and in the consistency of those evaluations. In Experiment 2, 24 of the 50 web pages from Experiment 1 were evaluated again for their attractiveness after 500 ms exposure. Subsequently, users evaluated the design of the web pages on the dimensions of classical and expressive aesthetics. The results showed high correlation between attractiveness ratings from Experiments 1 and 2. In addition, it appears that low attractiveness is associated mainly with very low ratings of expressive aesthetics. Overall, the results provide direct evidence in support of the premise that aesthetic impressions of web pages are formed quickly. Indirectly, these results also suggest that visual aesthetics plays an important role in users' evaluations of the IT artifact and in their attitudes toward interactive systems.
Keywords: Web-page design; Aesthetic perceptions; Attractiveness; Classical aesthetics; Expressive aesthetics; Response latency; Response time; First impression
The use of interface agents for email notification in critical incidents BIBAKFull-Text 1084-1098
  Alexander Serenko
This study reports on several typical scenarios of the use of email notification interface agents under the influence of critical incidents. An interface agent is a reactive, collaborative, and autonomous visual computational system, which communicates directly with a person offering assistance and advice in performing computer-related tasks. The critical incident technique was employed to survey the actual users of an interface agent-based email notification application. Respondents were asked to provide the last most significant either positive or negative incident of the usage of interface agents in their email application. They were also asked to offer recommendations for designers and marketers of this technology. Sixty critical incidents were obtained and analysed. With regards to positive-outcome situations, one representative scenario was constructed. With respect to the negative-outcome events, three distinct scenarios were identified. Based on the critical incident technique, it is concluded that users acknowledge the quality of an agent when it acts reliably, an agent's intrusive behaviour results in an immediate agent usage termination, operability issues sometimes force people to reject the technology, and users attempt to preserve the employment of an agent under the negative impacts of external factors. A number of other practical recommendations for manufacturers and marketers are also outlined.
Keywords: Interface agents; Human-agent interaction; Email notification; Critical incident technique
An interactive environment for the modeling and discovery of scientific knowledge BIBAKFull-Text 1099-1114
  Will Bridewell; Javier Nicolas Sanchez; Pat Langley; Dorrit Billman
Existing tools for scientific modeling offer little support for improving models in response to data, whereas computational methods for scientific knowledge discovery provide few opportunities for user input. In this paper, we present a language for stating process models and background knowledge in terms familiar to scientists, along with an interactive environment for knowledge discovery that lets the user construct, edit, and visualize scientific models, use them to make predictions, and revise them to better fit available data. We report initial studies in three domains that illustrate the operation of this environment and the results of a user study carried out with domain scientists. Finally, we discuss related efforts on model formalisms and revision and suggest priorities for additional research.
Keywords: Scientific modeling; Interactive knowledge discovery; Model revision
The influence of information presentation formats on complex task decision-making performance BIBAKFull-Text 1115-1131
  Cheri Speier
Understanding the influence of information presentation formats on decision-making effectiveness is an important component of human-computer interaction user interface design. The pervasive nature and ease of use associated with information display formats in widely used personal productivity software suggests that decision-makers are likely to create and/or use documents with both text-based and more visually oriented information displays. Past research has investigated the role of these displays on simple decision tasks; however, empirical research has not extended to more complex tasks, more comparable to the types of tasks decision-makers face every day. Results from the empirical analysis suggest that the relationship between information presentation format and decision performance is moderated by the complexity of the task. More specifically, spatial formats result in superior decision accuracy for simple- and complex-spatial tasks and faster decision time for all tasks except the complex-symbolic task where graphs and tables result in equivalent decision time.
Keywords: Complex task; Decision-making; Information presentation
Evaluating mass knowledge acquisition using the ALICE chatterbot: The AZ-ALICE dialog system BIBAFull-Text 1132-1140
  Robert P. Schumaker; Ying Liu; Mark Ginsburg; Hsinchun Chen
In this paper, we evaluate mass knowledge acquisition using modified ALICE chatterbots. In particular we investigate the potential of allowing subjects to modify chatterbot responses to see if distributed learning from a web environment can succeed. This experiment looks at dividing knowledge into general conversation and domain specific categories for which we have selected telecommunications. It was found that subject participation in knowledge acquisition can contribute a significant improvement to both the conversational and telecommunications knowledge bases. We further found that participants were more satisfied with domain-specific responses rather than general conversation.
Predicting user satisfaction, strain and system usage of employee self-services BIBAKFull-Text 1141-1153
  Udo Konradt; Timo Christophersen; Ute Schaeffer-Kuelz
In this study, we explore attitudinal and behavioural patterns when using employee self-service (ESS) systems by using an expanded technology acceptance model (TAM). We examine the relationship between organizational support and information policy on the one hand and ease of use and usefulness on the other, and then the relationship between ease of use and usefulness with satisfaction, strain and system usage. To explore question order effects, user satisfaction was assessed prior to or after survey items. Data was collected from 517 employees using an ESS system. Results from partial least squares structural equation modelling suggests that (a) organizational support and information policy were positively related to ease of use, (b) usefulness was positively related to satisfaction and system usage, (c) ease of use and usefulness were negatively related to user strain and (d) ease of use fully mediates the relation between organizational support and strain as well as between information policy and strain. Evidence for a question order effect was found with increased satisfaction judgements, when satisfaction was assessed after the survey items. Results are discussed in terms of the theoretical and methodological aspects of the TAM and their implications for ESS system implementation.
Keywords: Employee self-service; Technology acceptance model; System usage; Question order effect; Partial least squares analysis
Modelling discourse in contested domains: A semiotic and cognitive framework BIBAKFull-Text 1154-1171
  Clara Mancini; Simon J. Buckingham Shum
This paper examines the representational requirements for interactive, collaborative systems intended to support sensemaking and argumentation over contested issues. We argue that a perspective supported by semiotic and cognitively oriented discourse analyses offers both theoretical insights and motivates representational requirements for the semantics of tools for contesting meaning. We introduce our semiotic approach, highlighting its implications for discourse representation, before describing a research system (ClaiMaker) designed to support the construction of scholarly argumentation by allowing analysts to publish and contest 'claims' about scientific contributions. We show how ClaiMaker's representational scheme is grounded in specific assumptions concerning the nature of explicit modelling, and the evolution of meaning within a discourse community. These characteristics allow the system to represent scholarly discourse as a dynamic process, in the form of continuously evolving structures. A cognitively oriented discourse analysis then shows how the use of a small set of cognitive relational primitives in the underlying ontology opens possibilities for offering users advanced forms of computational service for analysing collectively constructed argumentation networks.
Keywords: Argumentation; Discourse representation; Coherence relations; Ontologies; Semantic annotation; Semantic web; Semiotics

IJHCS 2006 Volume 64 Issue 12

The visual characteristics of avatars in computer-mediated communication: Comparison of Internet Relay Chat and Instant Messenger as of 2003 BIBAKFull-Text 1173-1183
  Hye-Seung Kang; Hee-Dong Yang
This research focuses on computer-mediated communication where users are represented by a graphical avatar. An avatar represents a user's self-identity and desire for self-disclosure. Therefore, the claim is made that there is a relationship between the characteristics of media and the choice of avatar. This study supports the claim by examining the difference between Internet Relay Chat (IRC) avatars and Instant Messenger (IM) avatars as of 2003 when both media had distinct characteristics and popular avatar service in Korea. Users of IRC are generally anonymous and involved with topic-based group discussions, whereas users of IM are known by their "real" names and communicate via one-on-one chitchatting. We found that avatars as symbols for users can have different characteristics in terms of self-identity and self-disclosure in different media. Gender is found to have significant moderation effect on avatar usage, whereas age is shown to have a mixed moderation effect.
Keywords: Computer-mediated communication; Avatar; Instant Messenger; Internet Relay Chat; Anonymity; Cyberspace
Assessing facial beauty through proportion analysis by image processing and supervised learning BIBAKFull-Text 1184-1199
  Hatice Gunes; Massimo Piccardi
Perception of universal facial beauty has long been debated amongst psychologists and anthropologists. In this paper, we perform experiments to evaluate the extent of universal beauty by surveying a number of diverse human referees to grade a collection of female facial images. Results obtained show that there exists a strong central tendency in the human grades, thus exhibiting agreement on beauty assessment. We then trained an automated classifier using the average human grades as the ground truth and used it to classify an independent test set of facial images. The high accuracy achieved proves that this classifier can be used as a general, automated tool for objective classification of female facial beauty. Potential applications exist in the entertainment industry, cosmetic industry, virtual media, and plastic surgery.
Keywords: Facial beauty classification; Observer agreement; Proportion analysis; Golden Proportion; Facial Thirds; Facial features; Supervised learning; Performance evaluation
A cognitive approach to user perception of multimedia quality: An empirical investigation BIBAKFull-Text 1200-1213
  Sherry Y. Chen; Gheorghita Ghinea; Robert D. Macredie
Whilst multimedia technology has been one of the main contributing factors behind the Web's success, delivery of personalized multimedia content has been a desire seldom achieved in practice. Moreover, the perspective adopted is rarely viewed from a cognitive styles standpoint, notwithstanding the fact that they have significant effects on users' preferences with respect to the presentation of multimedia content. Indeed, research has thus far neglected to examine the effect of cognitive styles on users' subjective perceptions of multimedia quality. This paper aims to examine the relationships between users' cognitive styles, the multimedia quality of service delivered by the underlying network, and users' quality of perception (understood as both enjoyment and informational assimilation) associated with the viewed multimedia content. Results from the empirical study reported here show that all users, regardless of cognitive style, have higher levels of understanding of informational content in multimedia video clips (represented in our study by excerpts from television programmes) with weak dynamism, but that they enjoy moderately dynamic clips most. Additionally, multimedia content was found to significantly influence users' levels of understanding and enjoyment. Surprisingly, our study highlighted the fact that Bimodal users prefer to draw on visual sources for informational purposes, and that the presence of text in multimedia clips has a detrimental effect on the knowledge acquisition of all three cognitive style groups.
Keywords: Cognitive style; Perceptual quality; Quality of service
Knowledge engineering and psychology: Towards a closer relationship BIBAKFull-Text 1214-1229
  Nick Milton; David Clarke; Nigel Shadbolt
Knowledge engineering projects deal with a wide range of domains within organizational and academic contexts. A number of elicitation techniques are used to acquire knowledge from experts. Most of these techniques originated within psychology but have been developed by knowledge engineers to become more structured, efficient and systematic. Until now, nobody has tried to re-apply these modified techniques back into psychology. This paper describes work that addresses this matter. It focuses on the psychological knowledge possessed by all people that enables them to deal with everyday problems and make life decisions. We refer to this as 'personal knowledge'. To take a knowledge engineering approach to personal knowledge, we investigated the use of knowledge elicitation techniques to capture personal knowledge. We describe an empirical study involving ten participants and 80 knowledge acquisition sessions that assessed eight elicitation techniques in this context. The results revealed that each of the techniques showed promise at efficiently capturing and structuring aspects of an individual's personal knowledge. A content analysis of the acquired knowledge led to the construction of a meta-model (a primitive ontology) of personal knowledge and to the design for a new methodology for psychological research. From the perspective of psychology, the paper shows that knowledge engineering methods can be of value to psychologists. From the perspective of knowledge engineering and the wider computer science community, the paper shows that empirical methods used by psychologists can benefit the development and evaluation of ontologies and elicitation techniques.
Keywords: Knowledge elicitation; Knowledge acquisition; Psychology; Psychotherapy; Meta-model; Qualitative methods; PCPACK
Matching users' diverse social scripts with resonating humanized features to create a polite interface BIBAKFull-Text 1230-1242
  Jeng-Yi Tzeng
Knowledge engineering projects deal with a wide range of domains within organizational and academic contexts. A number of elicitation techniques are used to acquire knowledge from experts. Most of these techniques originated within psychology but have been developed by knowledge engineers to become more structured, efficient and systematic. Until now, nobody has tried to re-apply these modified techniques back into psychology. This paper describes work that addresses this matter. It focuses on the psychological knowledge possessed by all people that enables them to deal with everyday problems and make life decisions. We refer to this as 'personal knowledge'. To take a knowledge engineering approach to personal knowledge, we investigated the use of knowledge elicitation techniques to capture personal knowledge. We describe an empirical study involving ten participants and 80 knowledge acquisition sessions that assessed eight elicitation techniques in this context. The results revealed that each of the techniques showed promise at efficiently capturing and structuring aspects of an individual's personal knowledge. A content analysis of the acquired knowledge led to the construction of a meta-model (a primitive ontology) of personal knowledge and to the design for a new methodology for psychological research. From the perspective of psychology, the paper shows that knowledge engineering methods can be of value to psychologists. From the perspective of knowledge engineering and the wider computer science community, the paper shows that empirical methods used by psychologists can benefit the development and evaluation of ontologies and elicitation techniques.
Keywords: Knowledge elicitation; Knowledge acquisition; Psychology; Psychotherapy; Meta-model; Qualitative methods; PCPACK