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ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction 11

Editors:Jonathan Grudin
Standard No:ISSN 1073-0516
Links:Table of Contents
  1. TOCHI 2004 Volume 11 Issue 1
  2. TOCHI 2004 Volume 11 Issue 2
  3. TOCHI 2004 Volume 11 Issue 3
  4. TOCHI 2004 Volume 11 Issue 4

TOCHI 2004 Volume 11 Issue 1

Crossing the divide BIBAFull-Text 1-25
  Jonathan Grudin
This essay summarizes the editor's views of publication in the field of human-computer interaction. Digital technologies have begun changing the way journal articles and conference papers are produced, reviewed, published, accessed, and used. This period of profound change presents challenges and opportunities for both new and existing channels of scientific and technical communication.
Improving graphical information system model use with elision and connecting lines BIBAFull-Text 26-58
  Jouni Huotari; Kalle Lyytinen; Marketta Niemela
Graphical information system (IS) models are used to specify and design IS from several perspectives. Due to the growing size and complexity of modern information systems, critical design information is often distributed via multiple diagrams. This slows search performance and results in reading errors that later cause omissions and inconsistencies in the final designs. We study the impact of large screens and the two promising visual integration techniques of elision and connecting lines that can decrease the designers' cognitive efforts to read diagrams. We conduct a laboratory experiment using 84 computer science students to investigate the impact of these techniques on the accuracy of the subjects' search and recall with entity-relationship diagrams and data flow diagrams. The search tasks involve both vertical and horizontal searches on a moderately complex IS model that consists of multiple diagrams. We also examine the subjects' spatial visualization abilities as a possible covariant for observed search performance. These visual integration techniques significantly reduced errors in both the search and the recall of diagrams, especially with respect to individuals with low spatial visualization ability.
Patterns of cooperative interaction: Linking ethnomethodology and design BIBAFull-Text 59-89
  David Martin; Ian Sommerville
Patterns of Cooperative Interaction are regularities in the organisation of work, activity, and interaction among participants, and with, through, and around artifacts. These patterns are organised around a framework and are inspired by how such regularities are highlighted in ethnomethodologically-informed ethnographic studies of work and technology. They comprise a high level description and two or more comparable examples drawn from specific studies. Our contention is that these patterns form a useful resource for reusing findings from previous field studies, for enabling analysis and considering design in new settings. Previous work on the relationship between ethnomethodology and design has been concerned primarily in providing presentation frameworks and mechanisms, practical advice, schematisations of the ethnomethodologist's role, different possibilities of input at different stages in development, and various conceptualisations of the relationship between study and design. In contrast, this article seeks to first discuss the position of patterns relative to emergent major topics of interest of these studies. Subsequently it seeks to describe the case for the collection of patterns based on findings, their comparison across studies and their general implications for design problems, rather than the concerns of practical and methodological interest outlined in the other work. Special attention is paid to our evaluations and to how they inform how the patterns collection may be read, used and contributed to, as well as to reflections on the composition of the collection as it has emerged. The paper finishes, first, with a discussion of how our work relates to other work on patterns, before some closing comments are made on the role of our patterns and ethnomethodology in systems design.
DateLens: A fisheye calendar interface for PDAs BIBAFull-Text 90-119
  Benjamin B. Bederson; Aaron Clamage; Mary P. Czerwinski; George G. Robertson
Calendar applications for small handheld devices are growing in popularity. This led us to develop DateLens, a novel calendar interface for PDAs designed to support complex tasks. It uses a fisheye representation coupled with compact overviews to give the big picture in a small space. The interface also gives users control over the visible time period, as well as supporting integrated search to discover patterns and outliers. Designed with device scalability in mind, DateLens currently runs on desktop computers as well as PDAs. Two user studies were conducted to examine the viability of DateLens as a replacement for traditional calendar visualizations. In the first study, non-PDA users performed complex tasks significantly faster with DateLens than with the Microsoft Pocket PC 2002TM calendar (using a PDA emulator). In addition, they rated DateLens as being easier to use than the default calendar application for a majority of the tasks. In the second study, the participants were expert Pocket PC users and the software was run on their own devices. Again, DateLens performed significantly faster for the complex tasks, and there were satisfaction differences favoring each calendar for different kinds of tasks. From these studies, it is clear that DateLens is superior for more complex tasks such as those associated with longer time periods. For daily event tracking, users familiar with the default Pocket PC calendar strongly preferred its daily view and behaviors.

TOCHI 2004 Volume 11 Issue 2

Lessons learned from eClass: Assessing automated capture and access in the classroom BIBAFull-Text 121-155
  Jason A. Brotherton; Gregory D. Abowd
This article presents results from a study of an automated capture and access system, eClass, which was designed to capture the materials presented in college lectures for later review by students. In this article, we highlight the lessons learned from our three-year study focusing on the effect of capture and access on grades, attendance, and use of the captured notes and media. We then present suggestions for building future systems discussing improvements from our system in the capture, integration, and access of college lectures.
In pursuit of desktop evolution: User problems and practices with modern desktop systems BIBAFull-Text 156-180
  Pamela Ravasio; Sissel Guttormsen Schar; Helmut Krueger
This study deals with the problems users encounter in their daily work with computers and the typical practices that they employ. Sixteen daily computer users were interviewed about their habits and problems that they encountered during document classification and retrieval. For both these areas, we provide an overview of identified user practices and a citation-based analysis of the problems users encountered, including those related to the use of the screen real estate (the actual desktop). Two types of problems were identified: (1) Problems that concern the actual use of the system installed on the computer. (2) Problems that arise when people realise that they are using a system that does not allow for the desired work or organizational functions sought. We were able to show that skill continues to be an important factor with respect to the ease of using today's systems. We suggest the following necessary improvements for the evolution of personal information systems: A storage facility that represents the user's view of information; replacing pure technical file metadata with more user-friendly attributes; and introduction of annotations as a new information type.
User interface design with matrix algebra BIBAFull-Text 181-236
  Harold Thimbleby
It is usually very hard, both for designers and users, to reason reliably about user interfaces. This article shows that 'push button' and 'point and click' user interfaces are algebraic structures. Users effectively do algebra when they interact, and therefore we can be precise about some important design issues and issues of usability. Matrix algebra, in particular, is useful for explicit calculation and for proof of various user interface properties.
   With matrix algebra, we are able to undertake with ease unusally thorough reviews of real user interfaces: this article examines a mobile phone, a handheld calculator and a digital multimeter as case studies, and draws general conclusions about the approach and its relevance to design.

TOCHI 2004 Volume 11 Issue 3

Introduction to mobile and adaptive conversational interfaces BIBFull-Text 237-240
  Sharon Oviatt; Stephanie Seneff
Multithreaded context for robust conversational interfaces: Context-sensitive speech recognition and interpretation of corrective fragments BIBAFull-Text 241-267
  Oliver Lemon; Alexander Gruenstein
We focus on the issue of robustness of conversational interfaces that are flexible enough to allow natural "multithreaded" conversational flow. Our main advance is to use context-sensitive speech recognition in a general way, with a representation of dialogue context that is rich and flexible enough to support conversation about multiple interleaved topics, as well as the interpretation of corrective fragments. We explain, by use of worked examples, the use of our "Conversational Intelligence Architecture" (CIA) to represent conversational threads, and how each thread can be associated with a language model (LM) for more robust speech recognition. The CIA uses fine-grained dynamic representations of dialogue context, which supersede those used in finite-state or form-based dialogue managers. In an evaluation of a dialogue system built using this architecture we found that 87.9% of recognized utterances were recognized using a context-specific language model, resulting in an 11.5% reduction in the overall utterance recognition error rate, and a 13.4% reduction in concept error rate. Thus we show that by using context-sensitive recognition based on the predicted type of the user's next dialogue move, a more flexible dialogue system can also exhibit an improvement in speech recognition performance.
ISIS: an adaptive, trilingual conversational system with interleaving interaction and delegation dialogs BIBAFull-Text 268-299
  Helen Meng; P. C. Ching; Shuk Fong Chan; Yee Fong Wong; Cheong Chat Chan
ISIS (Intelligent Speech for Information Systems) is a trilingual spoken dialog system (SDS) for the stocks domain. It handles two dialects of Chinese (Cantonese and Putonghua) as well as English -- the predominant languages in our region. The system supports spoken language queries regarding stock market information and simulated personal portfolios. The conversational interface is augmented with a screen display that can capture mouse-clicks as well as textual input by typing or stylus-writing. Real-time information is retrieved directly from a dedicated Reuters satellite feed. ISIS provides a system test-bed for our work in multilingual speech recognition and generation, speaker authentication, language understanding and dialog modeling. This article reports on our new explorations within the context of ISIS, including: (i) adaptivity to knowledge scope expansion; (ii) asynchronous human-computer interaction by task delegation to software agents; (iii) multi-threaded online interaction and offline delegation dialogs with interruptions for task switching.
Toward adaptive conversational interfaces: Modeling speech convergence with animated personas BIBAFull-Text 300-328
  Sharon Oviatt; Courtney Darves; Rachel Coulston
The design of robust interfaces that process conversational speech is a challenging research direction largely because users' spoken language is so variable. This research explored a new dimension of speaker stylistic variation by examining whether users' speech converges systematically with the text-to-speech (TTS) heard from a software partner. To pursue this question, a study was conducted in which twenty-four 7 to 10-year-old children conversed with animated partners that embodied different TTS voices. An analysis of children's amplitude, durational features, and dialogue response latencies confirmed that they spontaneously adapt several basic acoustic-prosodic features of their speech 10-50%, with the largest adaptations involving utterance pause structure and amplitude. Children's speech adaptations were relatively rapid, bidirectional, and dynamically readaptable when introduced to new partners, and generalized across different types of users and TTS voices. Adaptations also occurred consistently, with 70-95% of children converging with their partner's TTS, although individual differences in magnitude of adaptation were evident. In the design of future conversational systems, users' spontaneous convergence could be exploited to guide their speech within system processing bounds, thereby enhancing robustness. Adaptive system processing could yield further significant performance gains. The long-term goal of this research is the development of predictive models of human-computer communication to guide the design of new conversational interfaces.

TOCHI 2004 Volume 11 Issue 4

Using confidence scores to improve hands-free speech based navigation in continuous dictation systems BIBAFull-Text 329-356
  Jinjuan Feng; Andrew Sears
Speech recognition systems have improved dramatically, but recent studies confirm that error correction activities still account for 66-75% of the users' time, and 50% of that time is spent just getting to the errors that need to be corrected. While researchers have suggested that confidence scores could prove useful during the error correction process, the focus is typically on error detection. More importantly, empirical studies have failed to confirm any measurable benefits when confidence scores are used in this way within dictation-oriented applications. In this article, we provide data that explains why confidence scores are unlikely to be useful for error detection. We propose a new navigation technique for use when speech-only interactions are strongly preferred and common, desktop-sized displays are available. The results of an empirical study that highlights the potential of this new technique are reported. An informal comparison between the current study and previous research suggests the new technique reduces time spent on navigation by 18%. Future research should include additional studies that compare the proposed technique to previous non-speech and speech-based navigation solutions.
Differences in pointing task performance between preschool children and adults using mice BIBAFull-Text 357-386
  Juan Pablo Hourcade; Benjamin B. Bederson; Allison Druin; François Guimbretière
Several experiments by psychologists and human factors researchers have shown that when young children execute pointing tasks, they perform at levels below older children and adults. However, these experiments have not provided user interface designers with an understanding of the severity or the nature of the difficulties young children have when using input devices. To address this need, we conducted a study to gain a better understanding of 4 and 5 year-old children's use of mice. We compared the performance of thirteen 4 year-olds, thirteen 5 year-olds and thirteen young adults in point-and-click tasks. Plots of the paths taken by the participants show severe differences between adults' and preschool children's ability to control the mouse. We were not surprised then to find age had a significant effect on accuracy, target reentry, and efficiency. We also found that target size had a significant effect on accuracy and target reentry. Measuring movement time at four different times (first entering target, last entering target, pressing button, releasing button) yielded the result that Fitts' law models children well only up to the time they first enter the target. Overall, we found that the difference between the performance of children and adults was large enough to warrant user interface interactions designed specifically for preschool children. The results additionally suggest that children need the most help once they get close to targets.
A study of web usability for older adults seeking online health resources BIBAFull-Text 387-406
  Shirley Ann Becker
The Web offers older adult users immediate access to health resources that might not otherwise be available. Older adult users, however, may encounter Web barriers associated with normal aging and lower education. The National Institute on Aging Web guidelines were used to assess the usability of 125 Web sites offering health resources. Performance, translation, and reading complexity were also assessed. Results showed that many of the sampled sites were not senior-friendly. Only 12% of the sites offered a Spanish version, many containing nontranslated text. Approximately a third of sampled sites required a college education to comprehend extracted health information.
"Who's in charge here?" communicating across unequal computer platforms BIBAFull-Text 407-444
  Maria Velez; Marilyn Mantei Tremaine; Aleksandra Sarcevic; Bogdan Dorohonceanu; Allan Krebs; Ivan Marsic
People use personal data assistants in the field to collect data and to communicate with others both in the field and office. The individual in the office invariably has a laptop or a high-end personal workstation and thus, significantly more computing power, more screen real estate, and higher volume input devices, such as a mouse and keyboard. These differences give the high-end user the ability to represent and manipulate collaborative tasks more effectively. It is therefore useful to know what impact these differences have on work performance and work communications. Four different platform combinations involving a PC and a PDA were used to examine the effect of communicating via heterogeneous computer platforms. The PC platform used a mouse, a keyboard, and a 3-dimensional screen display. The PDA platform used a stylus, soft buttons, and a 2-dimensional screen display. A variation of the Tetris wall-building game called Slow Tetris was used as the subjects' collaborative task. A second factor in the experiment was role asymmetry. One subject was arbitrarily put in charge of the task solution in all of the combinations. An analysis of the solution times found that subjects with mixed platforms worked slower than their homogeneous counterparts, that is, a person in charge with a PC worked faster if his partner had a PC. An in-depth analysis of the communication patterns found significant differences in the exchanges between heterogeneous and homogenous combinations. The PC-to-PDA combination (with the person on the PC in charge of the solution) took significantly more time than the PC-to-PC combination. This extra time appears to come from the disadvantage of having a partner on the PDA who is unable to help in solving the problems. The PDA-to-PC combination took approximately the same amount of time as the PDA-to-PDA combination despite having one team member with a better representation. This member was, unfortunately, not in charge of the solution. The PDA-to-PC heterogeneous combination exhibited more direction giving, less one-sided collaboration, and more takeover attempts than any of the other combinations. Overall, roles were maintained in the partnerships except for the person with the PDA directing the person with the PC.
ContactMap: Organizing communication in a social desktop BIBAFull-Text 445-471
  Steve Whittaker; Quentin Jones; Bonnie Nardi; Mike Creech; Loren Terveen; Ellen Isaacs; John Hainsworth
Modern work is a highly social process, offering many cues for people to organize communication and access information. Shared physical workplaces provide natural support for tasks such as (a) social reminding about communication commitments and keeping track of collaborators and friends, and (b) social data mining of local expertise for advice and information. However, many people now collaborate remotely using tools such as email and voicemail. Our field studies show that these tools do not provide the social cues needed for group work processes. In part, this is because the tools are organized around messages, rather than people. In response to this problem, we created ContactMap, a system that makes people the primary unit of interaction. ContactMap provides a structured social desktop representation of users' important contacts that directly supports social reminding and social data mining. We conducted an empirical evaluation of ContactMap, comparing it with traditional email systems, on tasks suggested by our fieldwork. Users performed better with ContactMap and preferred ContactMap for the majority of these tasks. We discuss future enhancements of our system and the implications of these results for future communication interfaces and for theories of mediated communication.