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International Journal of Human-Computer Interaction 21

Editors:Julie A. Jacko; Gavriel Salvendy; Steven J. Landry
Publisher:Ablex Publishing Corporation
Standard No:ISSN 1044-7318
Links:Table of Contents
  1. IJHCI 2006 Volume 21 Issue 1
  2. IJHCI 2006 Volume 21 Issue 2
  3. IJHCI 2006 Volume 21 Issue 3

IJHCI 2006 Volume 21 Issue 1

Eye-Gaze Input Versus Mouse: Cursor Control as a Function of Age BIBAFull-Text 1-14
  Atsuo Murata
The usability of an eye-gaze input system to aid interaction with computers for older computer users was investigated. The eye-gaze input system was developed using an eye-tracking system. An experiment using the developed eye-gaze input system was conducted while systematically manipulating experimental conditions such as the moving distance, size of a target, and direction of movement in a pointing task. The usability of the eye-gaze input was compared among three age groups (young, middle-aged, and older adults) and with that of a traditional PC mouse. The eye-gaze input system led to a faster pointing time as compared with mouse input, especially for older adults. This result demonstrates that an eye-gaze input system may be able to compensate for the declined motor functions of older adults when using mouse input.
Design and Evaluation of Visualization Support to Facilitate Association Rules Modeling BIBAFull-Text 15-38
  Yan Liu; Gavriel Salvendy
Association rules mining is a popular data mining modeling tool. It discovers interesting associations or correlation relationships among a large set of data items, showing attribute values that occur frequently together in a given dataset. Despite their great potential benefit, current association rules modeling tools are far from optimal. This article studies how visualization techniques can be applied to facilitate the association rules modeling process, particularly what visualization elements should be incorporated and how they can be displayed. Original designs for visualization of rules, integration of data and rule visualizations, and visualization of rule derivation process for supporting interactive visual association rules modeling are proposed in this research. Experimental results indicated that, compared to an automatic association rules modeling process, the proposed interactive visual association rules modeling can significantly improve the effectiveness of modeling, enhance understanding of the applied algorithm, and bring users greater satisfaction with the task. The proposed integration of data and rule visualizations can significantly facilitate understanding rules compared to their nonintegrated counterpart.
A Study on the Factors That Improve the Velocity Perception of a Virtual Reality-Based Vehicle Simulator BIBAFull-Text 39-54
  Seong-Jin Kwon; Jee-Hoon Chun; Jong-Hyun Bae; Myung-Won Suh
The Virtual Reality (VR) system of a real-time VR-linked vehicle simulator that was used in this study provides visual information and sound effects to participants. The VR system of a VR-linked vehicle simulator should provide a perceived velocity similar with the perceived velocity in actual driving. To achieve these goals, modeling and rendering methods that offer an improved performance for complex VR applications, such as the 3D road model, were implemented and evaluated. We also evaluated the influences of graphic and engine sound effects on the driver and analyzed each result according to a driver's viewpoint, the dot densities of road texture provided, the lateral distance between a virtual driver and environmental objects, and the engine sound. Each factor was individually analyzed through an experiment that evaluated the influence of visual images or sound effects in the vehicle simulator. Through the experimental evaluation, the research results could be used for improving the effectiveness of VR-based vehicle simulators.
Designing Intelligent Systems to Handle System Failures: Enhancing Explanatory Power With Less Restrictive User Interfaces and Deep Explanations BIBAFull-Text 55-72
  Robbie T. Nakatsu; Izak Benbasat
This research empirically investigates the design choices that can be made to facilitate problem solving when intelligent systems fail. One way is to provide deep explanations, which are explanations that justify system actions. Another way is to manipulate system restrictiveness of the user interface. An experiment was conducted to investigate the effectiveness of deep explanation support, as well as manipulations of system restrictiveness. Results suggest that the less restrictive system was more effective for problem-solving situations where system failure occurred. In addition, deep explanations were found to be somewhat helpful in system understanding, and this, in turn, led to improved problem-solving performance.
Effective Display of Medical Laboratory Report Results on Small Screens: Evaluation of Linear and Hierarchical Displays BIBAFull-Text 73-89
  Heidi Lam; Arthur E. Kirkpatrick; John Dill; M. Stella Atkins
Two studies evaluated linear and hierarchy+elision small-screen display formats for clinical reasoning tasks. A controlled, quantitative study with 28 medically naive participants using a task abstracted from clinical use of laboratory results found that both display formats supported rapid and accurate decision making. Distribution of the search targets significantly affected speed, with decisions in linear format made 13% faster (4.7 sec) when all targets could be viewed on a single screen than when targets required scrolling between several screens and in hierarchical format 15% faster (5.1 sec) when all the targets were confined within one category. Performance was equivalent regardless of the relative order of the target results and data in the laboratory report. In a qualitative study, 7 physicians used the displays to perform a realistic diagnosis. Physicians were comfortable with both display formats, but preference varied with clinical experience. The 5 less experienced clinicians favored hierarchy+elision, whereas the 2 highly experienced clinicians tended to prefer the linear display.
Left-Handed Scrolling for Pen-Based Devices BIBAFull-Text 91-108
  Kori Inkpen; David Dearman; Ritchie Argue; Marc Comeau; Ching-Lung Fu; Sekhar Kolli; Jeremy Moses; Nick Pilon; James Wallace
The effectiveness of interaction with mobile devices can be impacted by handedness; however, support for handedness in the interface is rarely provided. The goal of this article is to demonstrate that handedness is a significant interface consideration that should not be overlooked. Four studies were conducted to explore left-handed user interaction with right- or left-aligned scrollbars on personal digital assistants. Analysis of the data shows that left-handed users are able to select targets significantly faster using a left-aligned scrollbar when compared to a right-aligned scrollbar. User feedback also indicated that a left-aligned scrollbar was preferred by left-handed users and provided more natural interaction.
Book Review: Web Application Design Handbook: Best Practices for Web-Based Software by Susan Fowler and Victor Stanwick BIBFull-Text 109-111
  Robbie T. Nakatsu

IJHCI 2006 Volume 21 Issue 2

The Interplay Between Usability Evaluation and User Interaction Design BIBAFull-Text 117-123
  Kasper Hornbaek; Jan Stage
Usability evaluations inform user interaction design in a relevant manner, and successful user interaction design can be attained through usability evaluation. These are obvious conjectures about a mature usability engineering discipline. Unfortunately, research and practice suggest that, in reality, the interplay between usability evaluation and user interaction design is significantly more complex and too often far from optimal. This article provides a simple model of the interplay between usability evaluation and user interaction design that captures their main relationships. From the model, what is seen as the key challenges in improving the interplay between evaluation and design is outlined. The intention is to create a background against which the remainder of this special issue, containing 5 research articles presenting empirical data on the interplay between design and evaluation and a commentary, can be contrasted.
Problem Prioritization in Usability Evaluation: From Severity Assessments Toward Impact on Design BIBAFull-Text 125-146
  Morten Hertzum
Severity assessments enable prioritization of problems encountered during usability evaluations, and thereby provide a device for guiding the utilization of design resources. However, designers' response to usability evaluations is also influenced by other factors, which may overshadow severity. With the purpose of enhancing the impact of severity assessments, this study combines a field study of factors that influence the impact of evaluations with an experimental study of severity assessments made during usability inspections. The results show that even in a project receptive to input from evaluations, their impact was highly dependent on conducting evaluations early. This accorded with an informal method that blended elements of usability evaluation and participatory design and could be extended with user-made severity assessments. The major cost associated with the evaluations was not finding but fixing problems, emphasizing that, to be effective, severity assessments must be reliable, valid, and sufficiently persuasive to justify the cost of fixing problems. For the usability inspections, evaluators' ratings of problem impact and persistence were weakly correlated with the number of evaluators reporting a problem, indicating that different evaluators represent different subgroups of users or alternatively that evaluator-made severity assessments are of questionable reliability. To call designers' attention to the severe problems, the halving of the severity sum is proposed as a means of visualizing the large payoff of fixing a high-severity problem and, conversely, the modest potential of spending resources on low-severity problems.
Evaluating the Downstream Utility of User Tests and Examining the Developer Effect: A Case Study BIBAFull-Text 147-172
  Effie Lai-Chong Law
In this article, a case study on evaluating the downstream utility of user tests performed on a digital library with reference to the developer effect is reported. Downstream utility is defined as the effectiveness with which the resolution to a usability problem (UP) is implemented, and developer effect is defined as developers' bias toward fixing UPs with particular characteristics. To measure the effectiveness of the user tests, the actual impacts of fixing or not fixing the UPs identified were analyzed. To address a theoretical void in studying the persuasive power of usability evaluation results, Information Integration Theory was employed. Six research questions that predict the persuasiveness of different qualities of usability problems to induce fixes and the effectiveness of such fixes were investigated. Multiperspective data have been collected from usability specialists, the development team of the digital library, and its old as well as new users. Implications for reporting UPs and future research are inferred.
The Impact of Usability Reports and User Test Observations on Developers' Understanding of Usability Data: An Exploratory Study BIBAFull-Text 173-196
  Rune Th. Hoegh; Christian M. Nielsen; Michael Overgaard; Michael B. Pedersen; Jan Stage
A usability evaluation provides a strong and rich basis for understanding and improving the design of user interaction with a software system. Exploiting this evaluation requires feedback that significantly impacts the developers' understanding of usability data about the interaction design of the system. This article presents results from an exploratory study of 2 ways of providing feedback from a usability evaluation: observation of user tests and reading usability reports. A case study and a field experiment were used to explore how observation and usability reports impact developers' understanding of usability data. The results indicate that observation of user tests facilitated a rich understanding of usability problems and created empathy with the users and their work. The usability report had a strong impact on the developers' understanding of specific usability problems and supported a systematic approach to deal effectively with problems.
Claims Analysis "In the Wild:" A Case Study on Digital Library Development BIBAFull-Text 197-218
  Ann Blandford; Suzette Keith; Bob Fields
One of the long-standing challenges in human-computer interaction has been the integration of usability evaluation methods within design practice. In the work reported here, the question of how to include user concerns within an unstructured, system-focused development process was investigated. The project looked into the use of Claims Analysis as a method for assessing the effects of design decisions on users' experience. Claims Analysis was found to be more difficult than expected to learn, to communicate to systems developers, and to apply effectively in practice. The work has highlighted a tension between user-centered and function-oriented design approaches and differences in values and perspectives between the human factors specialists and traditional developers involved in the study.
People, Organizations, and Processes: An Inquiry into the Adoption of User-Centered Design in Industry BIBAFull-Text 219-238
  Giorgio Venturi; Jimmy Troost; Timo Jokela
The aim of this article is to improve our understanding of user-centered design (UCD) adoption and provide accordingly useful advice to the UCD community. UCD adoption was investigated through a Web survey. The results show that the early involvement of UCD practitioners in the product life cycle is more frequent compared to 10 years ago. It is also true that the methods and the techniques employed have shifted their focus from summative evaluation to rapid development cycles and from quantitative to qualitative evaluation methods. Based on the survey, there are several organizational factors UCD practitioners and their management should consider. UCD should be part of the business strategy and supported by higher management. Usability goals must be set through competitive analysis and practitioners should be rewarded if goals are reached or exceeded. For bespoke systems, usability goals should be explicitly discussed with the customer. Special attention should be paid to communication inside and outside the company so as to clarify the outcomes and benefits of the UCD approach.
Focus, Fit, and Fervor: Future Factors Beyond Play With the Interplay BIBAFull-Text 239-250
  Gilbert Cockton
This special issue advances our understanding and exploitation of evaluation methods. It continues to move studies from methods to evaluators and their customers. Thoughtful studies show when and why methods have specific impacts, supporting a focus on ways to better target method use. It is also the case that a focus on how evaluation customers use usability results reveals the fit between methods and customers. However, evaluation and its influence on redesign is not solely a matter of evaluators and designers or developers. Evaluation and redesign are activities within broader system development contexts. Improvements need commitment and support from management. Organizational fervor for user-centered design is key to effective evaluation. Without management support, usability evaluation cannot be well planned, properly conducted, or effectively exploited, leaving usability specialists to just play with the interplay between design and evaluation. This article reviews contributions in this special issue, noting where they address specific factors in the interplay between design and evaluation and identifying factors that require more attention in future research.

IJHCI 2006 Volume 21 Issue 3

The Cognitive Revolution at Age 50: Has the Promise of the Human Information-Processing Approach Been Fulfilled? BIBAFull-Text 253-284
  Robert W. Proctor; Kim-Phuong L. Vu
The cognitive revolution and the human information-processing approach it adopted are now more than 50 years old. This article provides an overview of the history of human information processing and its relation to human factors and human-computer interaction (HCI). Fundamental concepts and findings concerning human information processing and their applications to HCI are summarized. The last half of the article discusses new developments and evaluates criticisms of human information processing and alternative approaches that have been proposed. Our conclusion is that the information-processing approach has served psychology and HCI well, providing cumulative basic and applied knowledge in a variety of areas and a basis for integrating this knowledge. The approach continues to be a fruitful source of empirical and theoretical advances across a variety of disciplines.
Hand Motion Oscillatory Gestures and Multimodal Discourse Analysis BIBAFull-Text 285-312
  Yingen Xiong; Francis Quek
Gesture and speech are part of a single human language system. They are coexpressive and complementary channels in the act of speaking. Whereas speech carries the major load of symbolic presentation, gesture provides the imagistic content. Proceeding from the established cotemporality of gesture and speech, our work on oscillatory gestures and multimodal discourse is discussed. Our new techniques of analyzing hand gestures in the frequency domain are described. By tracking an individual's hands during a speech, hand motion trajectory signals are extracted from real video datasets. Our wavelet-based approach in gestural oscillation extraction is presented as frequency ridges in a frequency-time space. Wavelet ridges are extracted from responses of wavelet analysis. These wavelet ridges are employed to characterize frequency properties of hand motion trajectory signals. Hand motion oscillatory gestures can be extracted from these frequency properties. The potential of such computational cross-modal language analysis is motivated by performing a microanalysis of 2 video datasets. In the first dataset, a participant describes her living space to an interlocutor. In the second, a participant describes her action plan to an interlocutor. The ability of our algorithm to extract gestural oscillations is demonstrated, and the way that oscillatory gestures reveal portions of the discourse structure is shown.
"You've Got E-Mail!" ... Shall I Deal With It Now? Electronic Mail From the Recipient's Perspective BIBAFull-Text 313-332
  Karen Renaud; Judith Ramsay; Mario Hair
This article considers the nature of e-mail from the recipient's perspective-what the seemingly free and easy communication really costs the recipient. Information gathered by electronic monitoring software is shown to be at odds with the results of an online survey of e-mail users' perceptions of their e-mail experience-users drastically underestimate the disruptive effects of e-mail. The conclusion is that the constant monitoring of e-mail actually reduces productivity and that there is a need for increased power, control, and awareness on the part of the e-mail recipient to ensure that e-mail remains a tool rather than a tyrant. It is necessary to alert the user of the true cost of e-mail alerts.
Evaluating and Improving a Self-Help Technical Support Web Site: Use of Focus Group Interviews BIBAFull-Text 333-354
  Pilsung Choe; Chulwoo Kim; Mark R. Lehto; Xinran Lehto; Jan Allebach
It is critical to understand user requirements in Web site development. As a method of user requirements analysis for a self-help technical support Web site, focus group interviews can be a very efficient and effective approach both before the interface has been designed and after it has been in use for some time. This article shows how focus group interviews were used to develop a self-help technical support Web site for print quality troubleshooting. It also shows how focus group interviews led to improvements in the efficiency and effectiveness of the Web site. In addition, the article classifies the critical usability issues identified and shows how the feedback from focus group interviews is reflected in the Web site development. Finally, experimental results demonstrate that the use of focus group interviews significantly improved user performance and preference.
Book Review: User Interface Design and Evaluation by Stone, Jarrett, Woodroffe, & Minocha BIBFull-Text 355-359
  June Wei; Lauren Coquereau