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ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction 1

Editors:Dan R. Olsen, Jr.
Standard No:ISSN 1073-0516
Links:Table of Contents
  1. TOCHI 1994 Volume 1 Issue 1
  2. TOCHI 1994 Volume 1 Issue 2
  3. TOCHI 1994 Volume 1 Issue 3
  4. TOCHI 1994 Volume 1 Issue 4

TOCHI 1994 Volume 1 Issue 1

Editorial BIB 1
  Dan R., Jr. Olsen

Research Contributions

Integrality and Separability of Input Devices BIBAKPDF 3-26
  Robert J. K. Jacob; Linda E. Sibert; Daniel C. McFarlane; M. Preston, Jr. Mullen
Current input device taxonomies and other frameworks typically emphasize the mechanical structure of input devices. We suggest that selecting an appropriate input device for an interactive task requires looking beyond the physical structure of devices to the deeper perceptual structure of the task, the device, and the interrelationship between the perceptual structure of the task and the control properties of the device. We affirm that perception is key to understanding performance of multidimensional input devices on multidimensional tasks. We have therefore extended the theory of processing of perceptual structure to graphical interactive tasks and to the control structure of input devices. This allows us to predict task and device combinations that lead to better performance and hypothesize that performance is improved when the perceptual structure of the task matches the control structure of the device. We conducted an experiment in which subjects performed two tasks with different perceptual structures, using two input devices with correspondingly different control structures, a three-dimensional tracker and a mouse. We analyzed both speed and accuracy, as well as the trajectories generated by subjects as they used the unconstrained three-dimensional tracker to perform each task. The results support our hypothesis and confirm the importance of matching the perceptual structure of the task and the control structure of the input device.
Keywords: Models and principles, User/machine systems, Human factors, Information interfaces and presentation, User interfaces, Input devices and strategies, Interaction styles, Computer graphics, Methodology and techniques, Interaction techniques, Design, Experimentation, Human factors, Measurement, Theory, Gesture input, Input devices, Integrality, Interaction techniques, Perceptual space, Polhemus tracker, Separability
Split Menus: Effectively Using Selection Frequency to Organize Menus BIBAKPDF 27-51
  Andrew Sears; Ben Shneiderman
When some items in a menu are selected more frequently than others, as is often the case, designers or individual users may be able to speed performance and improve preference ratings by placing several high-frequency items at the top of the menu. Design guidelines for split menus were developed and applied. Split menus were implemented and tested in two in situ usability studies and a controlled experiment. In the usability studies performance times were reduced by 17 to 58% depending on the site and menus. In the controlled experiment split menus were significantly faster than alphabetic menus and yielded significantly higher subjective preferences. A possible resolution to the continuing debate among cognitive theorists about predicting menu selection times is offered. We conjecture and offer evidence that, at least when selecting items from pull-down menus, a logarithmic model applies to familiar (high-frequency) items, and a linear model to unfamiliar (low-frequency) items.
Keywords: Information interfaces and presentation, User interfaces, Design, Human factors, Human-computer interaction, Menus, Selection frequency, Split menus, User interface
Organizational Obstacles to Interface Design and Development: Two Participant-Observer Studies BIBAKPDF 52-80
  Steven E. Poltrock; Jonathan Grudin
The development of human-computer interfaces was studied in two large software product development organizations. Researchers joined development projects for approximately one month and participated in interface design while concurrently interviewing other project participants and employees, recording activity in meetings and on electronic networks, and otherwise observing the process. The two organizations differed in their approaches to development, and, in each case, the approach differed in practice from the model supported by the organizational structure. Development practices blocked the successful application of accepted principles of interface design. The obstacles to effective design included the inability of interface designers to obtain access to users, prototyping tools that allow minor changes to be tested but that constrain innovation, resistance to iterative design that results from people noticing and being affected by interface changes, and a lack of communication among those sharing responsibility for different aspects of the interface.
Keywords: Software engineering, Tools and techniques, User interfaces, Software engineering, Design, Methodologies, Software engineering, Miscellaneous, Rapid prototyping, Models and principles, User/machine systems, Human factors, Information interfaces and presentation, User interfaces, Theory and methods, Training, help, and documentation, Design, Human factors

TOCHI 1994 Volume 1 Issue 2

Research Contributions

The Rendezvous Architecture and Language for Constructing Multiuser Applications BIBAKPDF 81-125
  Ralph D. Hill; Tom Brinck; Steven L. Rohall; John F. Patterson; Wayne Wilner
When people have meetings or discussions, frequently they use conversational props: physical models, drawings, or other concrete representations of information used to enhance the exchange of information. If the participants are geographically separated, it is difficult to make effective use of props since each physical prop can only exist in one place. Computer applications that allow two or more users to simultaneously view and manipulate the same data can be used to augment human-to-human telecommunication. We have built the Rendezvous system to aid the construction of applications that can be used as conversational props. The Rendezvous system is similar to many UIMSs or user interface toolkits in that it is intended to simplify the construction of graphical direct-manipulation interfaces. It goes beyond these systems by adding functionality to support the construction of multiuser applications. Based on experience with several large applications built with the Rendezvous system, we believe that it is useful for building conversational props and other computer-supported cooperative work (CSCW) applications. We present a list of required features of conversational props, some example applications built with the Rendezvous system, and a description of the Rendezvous system.
Keywords: Programming languages, Language constructs and features, Operating systems, Organization and design, Interactive systems, Information interfaces and presentation, User interfaces, User interface management systems, Information interfaces and presentation, Group and organization interfaces, Synchronous interaction, Computer graphics, Graphics systems, Languages, Constraint maintenance, CSCW, Synchronous groupware, UIMS
A Review and Taxonomy of Distortion-Oriented Presentation Techniques BIBAKPDF 126-160
  Y. K. Leung; M. D. Apperley
One of the common problems associated with large computer-based information systems is the relatively small window through which an information space can be viewed. Increasing interest in recent years has been focused on the development of distortion-oriented presentation techniques to address this problem. However, the growing number of new terminologies and techniques developed have caused considerable confusion to the graphical user interface designer, consequently making the comparison of these presentation techniques and generalization of empirical results of experiments with them very difficult, if not impossible. This article provides a taxonomy of distortion-oriented techniques which demonstrates clearly their underlying relationships. A unified theory is presented to reveal their roots and origins. Issues relating to the implementation and performance of these techniques are also discussed.
Keywords: Information interfaces and presentations, User interfaces, Human factors, Bifocal displays, Distortion-oriented presentation, Fisheye views, Focus + context techniques, Graphical interfaces, Information visualization, Perspective Wall, Presentation techniques
Integrating Pointer Variables into One-Way Constraint Models BIBAKPDF 161-213
  Brad Vander Zanden; Brad A. Myers; Dario A. Giuse; Pedro Szekely
Pointer variables have long been considered useful for constructing and manipulating data structures in traditional programming languages. This article discusses how pointer variables can be integrated into one-way constraint models and indicates how these constraints can be usefully employed in user interfaces. Pointer variables allow constraints to model a wide array of dynamic application behavior, simplify the implementation of structured objects and demonstrational systems, and improve the storage and efficiency of constraint-based applications. This article presents two incremental algorithms -- one lazy and one eager -- for solving constraints with pointer variables. Both algorithms are capable of handling (1) arbitrary systems of one-way constraints, including constraints that involve cycles, and (2) editing models that allow multiple changes between calls to the constraint solver. These algorithms are fault tolerant in that they can handle and recover gracefully from formulas that crash due to programmer error. Constraints that use pointer variables have been implemented in a comprehensive user interface toolkit, Garnet, and our experience with applications written in Garnet have proven the usefulness of pointer variable constraints. Many large-scale applications have been implemented using these constraints.
Keywords: Software engineering, Tools and techniques, User interfaces, Software engineering, Coding, Program editors, Software engineering, Programming environments, Computing methodologies, Algorithms, Non-algebraic algorithms, Computing methodologies, Languages and systems, Evaluation strategies, Algorithms, Design, Languages, Constraints, Development tools, Garnet, Incremental algorithms

TOCHI 1994 Volume 1 Issue 3

Research Contributions

Toward Visual Debugging: Integrating Algorithm Animation Capabilities within a Source-Level Debugger BIBAKPDF 215-244
  Sougata Mukherjea; John T. Stasko
Much of the recent research in software visualization has been polarized toward two opposite domains. In one domain that we call data structure and program visualization, low-level canonical views of program structures are generated automatically. These types of views, which do not require programmer input or intervention, can be useful for testing and debugging software. Often, however, their generic, low-level views are not expressive enough to convey adequately how a program functions. In the second domain called algorithm animation, designers handicraft abstract, application-specific views that are useful for program understanding and teaching. Unfortunately, since algorithm animation development typically requires time-consuming design with a graphics package, it will not be used for debugging, where timeliness is a necessity. However, we speculate that the application-specific nature of algorithm animation views could be a valuable debugging aid for software developers as well, if only the views could be easy and rapid to create. We have developed a system called Lens that occupies a unique niche between the two domains discussed above and explores the capabilities that such a system may offer. Lens allows programmers to build rapidly (in minutes) algorithm animation-style program views without requiring any sophisticated graphics knowledge and without using textual coding. Lens also is integrated with a system debugger to promote iterative design and exploration.
Keywords: Software engineering, Tools and techniques, User interfaces, Software engineering, Testing and debugging, Debugging aids, Information interfaces and presentation, User interfaces, Computer graphics, Applications, Simulation and modeling, Types of simulation, Animation, Algorithms, Human factors, Verification, Algorithm animation, Debugging, Programming environments, Software visualization, User interfaces
What Do Groups Need? A Proposed Set of Generic Groupware Requirements BIBAPDF 245-268
  Munir Mandviwalla; Lorne Olfman
Current groupware systems do not fully match the work life of organizational work groups. A multidisciplinary literature analysis was conducted to identify important work group characteristics. This article proposes a set of generic groupware design requirements based on this analysis. These requirements include the need to support multiple tasks and work methods, group development, interchangeable interaction, multiple behaviors, permeable boundaries, and context. Examples of commercial and research groupware systems illustrate the practical implementation issues of each requirement. We conclude that developers need to invent interoperable groupware that provides interchangeable and customizable features through new design metaphors and database structures.Software engineering, Requirements/specifications methodologies, Models and principles, User/machine systems, Human factors, Information system applications, Office automation, Time management, Information system applications, Types of systems, Decision support, Information system applications, Communication applications, Bulletin boards, Computer conferencing and teleconferencing, Electronic mail, Information interfaces and presentation, Group and organization interfaces, Design, Human factors, Theory, Collaboration, Collaborative work, Computer-supported cooperative work (CSCW), Group decision support systems (GDSS), Group support systems (GSS), Groupware
A Selective Undo Mechanism for Graphical User Interfaces Based on Command Objects BIBAKPDF 269-294
  Thomas Berlage
It is important to provide a recovery operation for applications with a graphical user interface. A restricted linear undo mechanism can conveniently be implemented using object-oriented techniques. Although linear undo provides an arbitrarily long history, it is not possible to undo isolated commands from the history without undoing all following commands. Various undo models have been proposed to overcome this limitation, but they all ignore the problem that in graphical user interfaces a previous user action might not have a sensible interpretation in another state.
   Selective undo introduced here can undo isolated commands by copying them into the current state "if that is meaningful." Furthermore, the semantics of selective undo are argued to be more natural for the user, because the mechanism only looks at the command to undo and the current state and does not depend on the history in between. The user interface for selective undo can also be implemented generically. Such a generic implementation is able to provide a consistent recovery mechanism in arbitrary applications.
Keywords: Programming techniques, Object-oriented programming, Software engineering, Tools and techniques, Software libraries, User interfaces, Software engineering, Miscellaneous, Reusable software, Models and principles, User/machine systems, Human factors, Information interfaces and presentation, User interfaces, Interaction styles, User interface management systems, Information interfaces and presentation, Group and organization interfaces, Synchronous interaction, Computer graphics, Methodology and techniques, Interaction techniques, Design, Human factors, Command objects, Groupware, Undo

TOCHI 1994 Volume 1 Issue 4

Research Contributions

A Framework for Undoing Actions in Collaborative Systems BIBAKPDF 295-330
  Atul Prakash; Michael J. Knister
The ability to undo operations is a standard feature in most single-user interactive applications. We propose a general framework for implementing undo in collaborative systems. The framework allows users to reverse their own changes individually, taking into account the possibility of conflicts between different users' operations that may prevent an undo. The proposed framework has been incorporated into DistEdit, a toolkit for building group text editors. Based on our experience with DistEdit's undo facilities, we discuss several issues that need to be taken into account in using the framework, in order to ensure that a reasonable undo behavior is provided to users. We show that the framework is also applicable to single-user systems, since the operations to undo can be selected not just on the basis of who performed them, but by any appropriate criterion, such as the document region in which the operations occurred or the time interval in which the operations were carried out.
Keywords: Software engineering, Tools and techniques, User interfaces, Models and principles, User/machine systems, Human factors, Database management, Physical design, Recovery and restart, Database management, Systems, Concurrency, Information interfaces and presentation, User interfaces, Theory and methods, Information interfaces presentation, Group and organization interfaces, Algorithms, Design, Human factors, Computer-supported cooperative work, Concurrency control, DistEdit, Groupware, Selective undo, State recovery, Undo, User recovery
Reaching for Objects in VR Displays: Lag and Frame Rate BIBAKPDF 331-356
  Colin Ware; Ravin Balakrishnan
This article reports the results from three experimental studies of reaching behavior in a head-coupled stereo display system with a hand-tracking subsystem for object selection. It is found that lag in the head-tracking system is relatively unimportant in predicting performance, whereas lag in the hand-tracking system is critical. The effect of hand lag can be modeled by means of a variation on Fitts' Law with the measured system lag introduced as a multiplicative variable to the Fitts' Law index of difficulty. This means that relatively small lags can cause considerable degradation in performance if the targets are small. Another finding is that errors are higher for movement in and out of the screen, as compared to movements in the plane of the screen, and there is a small (10%) time penalty for movement in the Z direction in all three experiments. Low frame rates cause a degradation in performance; however, this can be attributed to the lag which is caused by low frame rates, particularly if double buffering is used combined with early sampling of the hand-tracking device.
Keywords: Computer graphics, Methodology and techniques, Interaction techniques, Human factors, Fitts' Law, Haptics, Virtual reality
HyperActive: Extending an Open Hypermedia Architecture to Support Agency BIBAKPDF 357-382
  J. Alfredo Sanchez; John J. Leggett; John L. Schnase
Agency and hypermedia have both been suggested as powerful means to cope with future information management and human-computer interaction requirements. However, research projects have included interface agents only marginally in the context of hypermedia systems. This article proposes a set of criteria for characterizing interface agents and offers a perspective view of ongoing research in the field using those criteria as a framework. The need to provide a supporting infrastructure that facilitates testing and experimentation of interface agents is stressed. The article describes an existing open hypermedia architecture and introduces an extended architecture that includes provisions to support the development and operation of interface agents. A prototype instantiating this system architecture is presented, as well as an initial assessment of the potential and requirements of interface agents in a hypermedia environment.
Keywords: Information interfaces and presentation, User interfaces, Interaction styles, Design, Agent-aware hyperbases, HyperActive, Interface agents, Open hypermedia systems