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BCSHCI Tables of Contents: 87888991929394959697980001020304050607-107-208-1

Proceedings of the HCI'98 Conference on People and Computers XIII

Fullname:Proceedings of the Thirteenth Conference of the British Computer Society Human Computer Interaction Specialist Group
Note:People and Computers XIII
Editors:Hilary Johnson; Laurence M. Nigay; Chris R. Roast
Location:Sheffield, United Kingdom
Dates:1998-Sep-01 to 1998-Sep-04
Publisher:Springer Verlag
Standard No:ISBN 3-540-76261-2; hcibib: BCSHCI98
Links:Conference Home Page | Conference Companion | Publisher Page
  1. Usability Testing: Methods and Empirical Studies
  2. Design: Process, Task Analysis, Requirements and Specification
  3. Visual Interfaces
  4. Innovative User Interfaces: Multimedia and Multi-modal User Interfaces, Wearable Computers and Virtual Reality

Usability Testing: Methods and Empirical Studies

Usable Software and Its Attributes: A Synthesis of Software Quality, European Community Law and Human-Computer Interaction BIBAK 3-21
  Ronan Fitzpatrick; Catherine Higgins
Strategic managers and IS professionals who are responsible for specifying, acquiring and producing quality software products are not supported by the endless flow of new international standards, legislation and user requirements. In order to clarify the current situation for everybody concerned with software quality, and especially those interested in usability, there is a need for a new review and evaluation of the various strands that contribute to software quality. By way of review this paper recalls the original software quality factors which were defined twenty years ago by McCall et al. (1977) and presents a methodical analysis and synthesis of three modern strands which influence these factors. The three strands relate to software quality, statutory obligations and human-computer interaction. All three strands rely on well respected sources which include the European Council Directive on minimum safety and health requirements for work with display screen equipment (Council Directive, 1990), ISO 9241-10 (ISO, 1993) and ISO 9000-3 (ISO, 1997). This synthesis produces a new set of quality factors, and the paper provides a new perspective of software usability by showing that the external quality factors in this new set are the usability attributes of a software product. New attributes like suitability, adaptability, functionality, installability and safety are identified and other attributes like usability and integrity are clarified within the three strands.
Keywords: Software quality, European law, International standards, Quality factors, Usability, Usability models, Usability attributes
Analysis of Problems Found in User Testing Using an Approximate Model of User Action BIBAK 23-35
  Wai On Lee
This paper describes an analysis of user testing using an approximate model that separates user action into Goal Formation, Action Specification, and Action Execution. It was found that the majority of the problems found in user testing, as reported within 30 usability reports, were within the Action Specification phase of user action. In particular, problems in finding an action or object and in understanding names used were most prevalent. The implication is that user testing as carried out in an industrial setting might be beneficial to easing Action Specification whilst neglecting potential problems in other phases of user action.
Keywords: Iterative design, User testing, Usability reports, Approximate phases of user action
Software Support for Usability Measurement: An Application to Systems Engineering Data Exchange Development BIBAK 37-52
  James Britton; Linda Candy; Ernest Edmonds
The goal of ensuring that usability measurement results can contribute to the ongoing development of a software product in a formative way is, in practice, difficult to achieve. The paper presents an innovative approach to supporting that process exemplified in SEDRES, a large European Aerospace collaborative project on developing a data exchange capability for systems engineering design tools. The main subject is the role of a software tool called NUD*IST (Non-numerical Unstructured Data Indexing Searching and Theorizing), in providing a method for longitudinal data collection and analysis and support for feedback to the project partners about the product under development. It describes the analysis techniques employed, the main features and operational use, followed by examples of results that can be obtained. The implications of the use of this tool for both the analysis process and support for formative evaluation are discussed and recommendations for improvements made.
Keywords: Usability, Qualitative data analysis, NUD*IST, Context of use, Evaluation, Systems engineering, Data exchange
The Persona Effect: How Substantial Is It? BIBAK 53-66
  Susanne van Mulken; Elisabeth Andre; Jochen Muller
Personification of interface agents has been speculated to have several advantages, such as a positive effect on agent credibility and on the perception of learning experience. However, important questions less often addressed so far are what effect personification has on more objective measures, such as comprehension and recall, and furthermore, under what circumstances this effect (if any) occurs. We performed an empirical study with adult participants to examine the effect of the Ppp Persona not only on subjective but also on objective measures. In addition, we tested it both with technical and non-technical domain information. The results of the study indicate that the data from the subjective measures support the so called persona effect for the technical information but not for non-technical information. With regard to the objective measures, however, neither a positive nor a negative effect could be found. Implications for software development are discussed.
Keywords: Personified interface agents, Persona effect, Empirical evaluation
The Influence of Target Size, Distance and Direction on the Design of Selection Strategies BIBAK 67-82
  Xiangshi Ren; Shinji Moriya
The influence of various parameters on the design of selection strategies was investigated. Our question is, do changes in the size, distance or direction to a target affect the differences in performance between selection strategies? We performed an experiment on a pen-based system to evaluate the effect of size, distance and direction on six strategies for selecting a target. Three target sizes, three pen-movement-distances, and eight pen-movement-directions were applied to all six strategies. The results show that the differences between selection strategies are affected by target size (when target size decreases below a certain size, differences between selection strategies appear; conversely, differences between selection strategies disappear when target sizes are increased beyond a certain size). The results also show that the differences between selection strategies are not affected by pen-movement-distance and pen-movement-direction. Issues relating to the merits of individual strategies will be the focus of planned future investigations.
Keywords: Mobile computing, Pen-based systems, Pen-input interfaces, Target selection strategies, Small targets, Variations in differences
A Study of Two Keyboard Aids to Accessibility BIBAK 83-97
  Shari Trewin; Helen Pain
Sticky Keys and Repeat Keys are two important keyboard configuration facilities intended to improve keyboard access for users with motor disabilities. While the value of such facilities has long been recognized, there has been very little empirical research examining their use.
   This paper reports on a study in which both facilities were found to be effective in eliminating certain input errors. While Repeat Keys did not introduce any difficulties in the tasks studied, some important difficulties with Sticky Keys were observed. Suggestions for modifications to Sticky Keys which may reduce users' difficulties are made.
Keywords: Disability access, Keyboard configuration, Sticky keys, Repeat keys, Motor disabilities, Empirical studies of users

Design: Process, Task Analysis, Requirements and Specification

Combining Goals and Functional Requirements in a Scenario-Based Design Process BIBAK 101-121
  Hermann Kaindl
While promising approaches to early system design using scenarios have been proposed, no design process is available that guides scenario-based development. We present a model that combines scenarios both with functions and goals. Functions are required to make the desired behaviour of some scenario happen in order to achieve one or more goals. Using this model, we propose a systematic and concrete design process that is both model-driven and data-driven. Our design process supports the transition from the current to a new system and guides the design of a new system. In addition, this process makes it possible to detect redundancy and to improve both completeness and understandability of the resulting design. We have applied our approach in real-world projects, and our experience suggests the utility of this approach.
Keywords: Scenarios, Design techniques
Understanding a Task Model: An Experiment BIBAK 123-137
  Nadine Ozkan; Cecile Paris; Sandrine Balbo
The HCI community advocates task analysis as a useful technique for user requirements analysis and system design, and has shown that task models should be developed collaboratively with users. The question of the usability and readability of task models for end-users is therefore an important one. In addition, we were specifically interested in this question in the context of our current project, Isolde (An Integrated Software and On-Line Documentation Environment). Isolde is an authoring tool for technical writers whose user interface relies heavily on a specific task notation, DIANE+. We undertook an empirical study aimed at testing the readability and usability of DIANE+. Two experimental tasks are performed by end-users with no previous exposure to task models. Results show that DIANE+ is largely readable but that its usability is somewhat more problematic. This can be attributed to the task description notation rather than to the concepts themselves.
Keywords: Task analysis, Task modelling, Usability of task models, Empirical study
Analysing Requirements to Inform Design BIBAK 139-157
  Michele Ryan; Alistair Sutcliffe
Publications, guidelines and methodologies have proliferated on usability engineering in the HCI literature while an extensive literature exists on methods in requirements engineering. Requirements analysis and usability are inextricably linked yet few methods exist to integrate the two approaches. In this paper we propose a framework for analysing requirements of systems and user interfaces, and report its use in requirements capture. Inadequacies resulting from the application of the framework are described leading to development of a method for requirements elaboration. Use of the method is illustrated by applying it retrospectively to the requirements capture exercise.
Keywords: Reuse, Usability, Evaluation, Frameworks, Methods, Requirements gathering
Generalizing Claims and Reuse of HCI Knowledge BIBAK 159-176
  Alistair Sutcliffe; John Carroll
A framework for classifying claims and indexing them for reuse with generic models is proposed. Claims are classified by a schema that includes design issues, dependencies, usability effects, with links to scenarios and the artefact associated with the claim. Generic models describe classes of application and tasks. Claims are associated with appropriate model components. Models which match a new application are retrieved from a library by using keyword searches or browsing the model hierarchy. Claims are reused on applications sharing the same generic application. Artefacts associated with claims may also be reused although user interfaces need customizing because of domain specific features. Claims evolution and reuse are illustrated with an information retrieval case study.
Keywords: Knowledge reuse, Task-artefact cycle, Domain models, Claims, Design process
Detecting and Resolving Temporal Ambiguities in User Interface Specifications BIBAK 177-188
  Paul Chesson; Lorraine Johnston; Philip Dart
Temporal ambiguities occur in user interface specifications when the application of multiple requirements can be interpreted in more than one way depending on when their conditions are evaluated. This paper discusses the resolution of temporal ambiguities using two approaches. The first approach involves the writer clarifying the intention of statements in an informal natural language specification. The second approach involves the use of a principle of ordered events to guide the writing and rewriting of the specification to avoid the ambiguity. A method for automatically detecting such ambiguities is presented, using an abstract specification model based on the language FLUID.
Keywords: User interface, Dialogue specification, Requirements
The Design of New Technology for Writing On-Line Help BIBAK 189-206
  Cecile Paris; Nadine Ozkan; Flor Bonifacio
This paper presents an instance of the design of new technology in the domain of technical writing. We are proposing a novel tool for technical writers called Isolde (An Integrated Software and On-Line Documentation Environment). Isolde has the potential to change substantially the technical writing process as well as the place of technical writers in a software development team. Consequently, Isolde has been designed through the collaboration of end-users and human computer interaction specialists. This paper shows how its design has evolved from technical and user related considerations, ensuring that Isolde is both feasible and desirable. The paper also discusses the use and place of this new technology in the technical writers' work environment.
Keywords: Participatory design, Technical writing, Task modelling, Emerging technology, Requirements analysis, Work practices

Visual Interfaces

Representation Matters: The Effect of 3D Objects and a Spatial Metaphor in a Graphical User Interface BIBAK 209-219
  Wendy Ark; D. Christopher Dryer; Ted Selker; Shumin Zhai
As computer graphical user interfaces (GUIs) are loaded with increasingly greater numbers of objects, researchers in HCI are forced to look for the next step in constructing user interface. In this paper, we examine the effects of employing more 'natural' representations in GUIs. In particular, we experimentally assess the impact of object form (2D iconic versus 3D realistic) and layout (regular versus ecological) have on target acquisition time. Results indicate that both form and layout significantly affect performance; subjects located targets more quickly when using interfaces with 3D objects and ecological layouts than they do with 2D objects and regular layouts. An interface with an ecological layout, realistic objects, or both may be an improvement over traditional interfaces.
Keywords: 3D interface, Graphical interface, Spatial metaphor, Icon, Ecological layout, Regular layout
The Effect of Layout on Dispatch Planning and Decision Making BIBAK 221-238
  William B. L. Wong; David O'Hare; Philip J. Sallis
This paper reports on an experiment conducted to determine whether the manner in which information is portrayed affects ambulance planning and dispatch decision making performance. Based the outcomes of a series of cognitive task analysis, deficiencies in an actual ambulance status display used for dispatch management was identified. The display was then re-designed by applying cognitive engineering principles to achieve task-to-display compatibility. The new display was then evaluated and it was found to improve dispatch decision making performance by 40%.
Keywords: Display design, Proximity-compatibility principle, Mental model, Ambulance dispatch management
Distortion-Oriented Workspace Awareness in DOME BIBAK 239-252
  Philip Weir; Andy Cockburn
Distortion-oriented visualization techniques such as magnification-lenses, zooming functions and fish-eye views are useful in a wide range of single-user computing systems. They assist visualization of large information spaces by easing the transition between high-levels of detail in a local area of interest and the global context of the information space.
   In real-time groupware environments, distortion-oriented visualizations offer additional benefits. By providing one distorted region for each user of a groupware workspace, users can maintain an awareness of the location and activities of their colleagues while simultaneously having a focused area of detail for their own work.
   We describe the design and evaluation of DOME, a fully-functional distortion-oriented multi-user editor. Unexpected usability problems and potential solutions are discussed.
Keywords: Groupware, Collaborative workspace awareness, Distortion-oriented visualization

Innovative User Interfaces: Multimedia and Multi-modal User Interfaces, Wearable Computers and Virtual Reality

Towards Principles for the Design and Evaluation of Multimedia Systems BIBAK 255-271
  Peter Johnson; Fabio Nemetz
The rapid growth of multimedia technology has made it possible to deliver high quality audio, graphics, video and animation to the user. However, this growth in technology has not been met by a growth in design knowledge. While it is possible to have multimedia it is not at all obvious that we know how to design high-quality multimedia systems that are fully usable to the degree we should expect. To improve the situation much work is under way to develop guidelines, style guides and principles for multimedia design. This paper illustrates the problem facing designers (and users) of multimedia systems by examining some of the design mistakes that have been made in one public information system (as an example of one class of multimedia systems). We then consider what design features any such principles should address.
Keywords: Multimedia system design, Evaluation of multimedia systems, Principles for multimedia design
How Can Multimedia Designers Utilize Timbre? BIBAK 273-286
  Dimitrios I. Rigas; James L. Alty
When musical sound is required during development of auditory or multimedia interfaces, designers often need to utilize different musical voices or timbre (usually produced via a multiple timbre synthesizer or a sound card) in order to communicate information. Currently, there is a limited set of guidelines assisting multimedia designers to select appropriate timbre. This paper reports a set of recall and recognition experiments on timbres produced by a multiple timbre synthesizer. Results indicate that a number of instruments were successfully recalled and recognized. A set of empirically derived guidelines are suggested to assist multimedia designers in selecting timbre.
Keywords: User interfaces, Multimedia, Auditory, Music, Timbre, Instruments
Using Earcons to Improve the Usability of a Graphics Package BIBAK 287-302
  Stephen Brewster
This paper describes how non-speech sounds can be used to improve the usability of a graphics package. Sound was specifically used to aid problems with tool palettes and finding the current mouse coordinates when drawing. Tool palettes have usability problems because users need to see the information they present but they are often outside the area of visual focus. An experiment was conducted to investigate the effectiveness of adding sound to tool palettes. Earcons were used to indicate the current tool and when tool changes occurred. Results showed a significant reduction in the number of tasks performed with the wrong tool. Therefore users knew what the current tool was and did not try to perform tasks with the wrong tool. All of this was not at the expense of making the interface any more annoying to use.
Keywords: Earcons, Sonically-enhanced widgets, Sound, Interface sonification
A New Concept Touch-Sensitive Display Enabling Vibro-Tactile Feedback BIBAK 303-312
  Masahiko Kawakami; Masaru Mamiya; Tomonori Nishiki; Yoshitaka Tsuji; Akito Okamoto; Toshihiro Fujita
This paper describes the concept and the characteristics of a newly developed touch-sensitive display which supports vibro-tactile feedback. This new touch-sensitive display named 'Vibration Touch' was developed to improve the uneasy operation of touch-sensitive displays due to lack of tactile feedback. Vibro-tactile feedback is realized by a combination of solenoid and spring which is directly attached to touch-sensitive panel. Vibration Touch is operated by a two-step input operation which enables certain operations and prevents mis-operation.
Keywords: Touch-sensitive display, Vibro-tactile feedback, GUI, LCD, HMI
Preliminary Investigations into the Use of Wearable Computers BIBAK 313-325
  Chris Baber; David Haniff; Lee Cooper; James Knight; Brian Mellor
In this paper, we investigate human factors which could have a bearing on the use of wearable computers. The first study examines performance on a reaction time task using a head-mounted display in comparison with performance on a sVGA visual display unit. While the number of missed targets was not significantly different, there were significant differences in reaction time to displays. The second study shows performance time of participants using a wearable computer to be superior to those using paper-based manual and recording, but there is a trend for more errors to be made when using the wearable computer.
Keywords: Wearable computers, Head-mounted displays, Speech technology
On the Problems of Validating DesktopVR BIBAK 327-338
  Chris Johnson
For the last twenty years, human-computer interfaces have been dominated by two-dimensional interaction techniques. Things are changing. Techniques that were previously restricted to specialized CAD/CAM tools and immersive VR systems are now being extended to the mass market. The photo-realistic facilities offered by QuicktimeVR and the model based renderings of VRML (Virtual Reality Mark-up Language) provide sophisticated tools for interface design. As a result, three dimensional visualization techniques are being widely exploited in the financial services industry, airports and even off-shore oil production. In January 1997, there were some 2,000 VRML models on the web. By January 1998, this number had grown to over 20,000. Research in human-computer interaction has, however, lagged behind these developments. Few guidelines can be applied to support the design of desktopVR. This paper, therefore, describes three criteria that can be applied to assess the usability of these interfaces. We then go on to validate these criteria against a number of case studies. Unfortunately, it is concluded that standard measures of task performance, successful navigation and subjective satisfaction cannot easily be applied to assess the utility of 3D systems.
Keywords: DesktopVR, 3D interfaces, VRML, QuicktimeVR