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HUMAN COMPUTER INTERACTION

PART ONE: FOUNDATIONS


1. THE HUMAN

Humans are limited in their capacity to process information. This has


important implications for design.

Information is received and responses given via a number of input and output
channels:
o visual channel
o auditory channel
o haptic channel
o movement

Information is stored in memory:


o sensory memory
o short-term (working) memory
o long-term memory

Information is processed and applied:


o reasoning
o problem solving
o skill acquisition
o error

Emotion influences human capabilities.

Users share common capabilities but are individuals with differences, which
should not be ignored.

2. THE COMPUTER
A computer system comprises various elements, each of which affects the user of
the system.

Input devices for interactive use, allowing text entry, drawing and selection
from the screen:
o text entry: traditional keyboard, phone text entry, speech and
handwriting
o pointing: principally the mouse, but also touchpad, stylus, and others
o 3D interaction devices

Output display devices for interactive use:


o different types of screen mostly using some form of bitmap display
o large displays and situated displays for shared and public use
o digital paper may be usable in the near future

Virtual reality systems and 3D visualization have special interaction and


display devices.

Various devices in the physical world:


o physical controls and dedicated displays
o sound, smell and haptic feedback
o sensors for nearly everything including movement, temperature, biosigns

Paper output and input: the paperless office and the less-paper office:
o different types of printers and their characteristics, character styles and
fonts
o scanners and optical character recognition

Memory:
o short-term memory: RAM
o long-term memory: magnetic and optical disks
o capacity limitations related to document and video storage
o access methods as they limit or help the user

Processing:

o the effects when systems run too slow or too fast, the myth of the
infinitely fast machine
o limitations on processing speed
o networks and their impact on system performance.
3. THE INTERACTION

Interaction models help us to understand what is going on in the interaction


between user and system. They address the translations between what the
user wants and what the system does.

Ergonomics looks at the physical characteristics of the interaction and how


these influence its effectiveness.

The dialog between user and system is influenced by the style of the
interface.

The interaction takes place within a social and organizational context that
affects both user and system.

4. PARADIGMS

Examples of effective strategies for building interactive systems provide


paradigms for designing usable interactive systems.

The evolution of these usability paradigms also provides a good perspective


on the history of interactive computing.

These paradigms range from the introduction of time-sharing computers,


through the WIMP and web, to ubiquitous and context-aware computing

PART TWO: DESIGN PROCESS


5. INTERACTION DESIGN BASICS
Interaction design is about creating interventions in often complex situations using
technology of many kinds including PC software, the web and physical devices

Design involves:
o achieving goals within constraints and trade-off between these
o understanding the raw materials: computer and human
o accepting limitations of humans and of design

The design process has several stages and is iterative and never complete.

Interaction starts with getting to know the users and their context:
o finding out who they are and what they are like ... probably not like you!
o talking to them, watching them

Scenarios are rich design stories, which can be used and reused throughout
design:
o they help us see what users will want to do
o they give a step-by-step walkthrough of users' interactions: including
what they see, do and are thinking

Users need to find their way around a system; this involves:


o helping users know where they are, where they have been and what
they can do next
o creating overall structures that are easy to understand and fit the users'
needs
o designing comprehensible screens and control panels

Complexity of design means we don't get it right first time:


o so we need iteration and prototypes to try out and evaluate
o but iteration can get trapped in local maxima, designs that have no
simple improvements, but are not good
o theory and models can help give good start points

6. HCI IN THE SOFTWARE PROCESS

Software engineering provides a means of understanding the structure of the


design process, and that process can be assessed for its effectiveness in
interactive system design.

Usability engineering promotes the use of explicit criteria to judge the success
of a product in terms of its usability.

Iterative design practices work to incorporate crucial customer feedback early


in the design process to inform critical decisions which affect usability.

Design involves making many decisions among numerous alternatives.


Design rationale provides an explicit means of recording those design
decisions and the context in which the decisions were made.

7. DESIGN RULES

Designing for maximum usability is the goal of interactive systems design.

Abstract principles offer a way of understanding usability in a more general


sense, especially if we can express them within some coherent catalog.

Design rules in the form of standards and guidelines provide direction for
design, in both general and more concrete terms, in order to enhance the
interactive properties of the system.

The essential characteristics of good design are often summarised through


'golden rules' or heuristics.

Design patterns provide a potentially generative approach to capturing and


reusing design knowledge.

8. IMPLEMENTATION SUPPORT

Programming tools for interactive systems provide a means of effectively


translating abstract designs and usability principles into an executable form.
These tools provide different levels of services for the programmer.

Windowing systems are a central environment for both the programmer and
user of an interactive system, allowing a single workstation to support
separate user-system threads of action simultaneously.

Interaction toolkits abstract away from the physical separation of input and
output devices, allowing the programmer to describe behaviors of objects at a
level similar to how the user perceives them.

User interface management systems are the final level of programming


support tools, allowing the designer and programmer to control the
relationship between the presentation objects of a toolkit with their functional
semantics in the actual application.

9. EVALUATION TECHNIQUES

Evaluation tests the usability, functionality and acceptability of an interactive


system.

Evaluation may take place:


o in the laboratory

o in the field.

Some approaches are based on expert evaluation:


o analytic methods
o review methods
o model-based methods.

Some approaches involve users:


o experimental methods
o observational methods
o query methods.

An evaluation method must be chosen carefully and must be suitable for the
job.

10. UNIVERSAL DESIGN

Universal design is designing systems so that they can be used by anyone in


any circumstance.

Multi-modal systems are those that use more than one human input channel
in the interaction.

These systems may, for example, use:


o speech
o non-speech sound
o touch
o handwriting
o gestures.

Universal design means designing for diversity, including:


o people with sensory, physical or cognitive impairment
o people of different ages
o people from different cultures and backgrounds.

11. USER SUPPORT

Users have different requirements for support at different times.

User support should be:


o available but unobtrusive
o accurate and robust
o consistent and flexible.

User support comes in a number of styles:


o command-based methods
o context-sensitive help
o tutorial help
o online documentation
o wizards and assistants
o adaptive help.

Design of user support must take account of:


o presentation issues
o implementation issues.

PART THREE: MODELS AND THEORIES


12. COGNITIVE MODELS
Cognitive models represent users of interactive systems.

Hierarchical models represent a user's task and goal structure.

Linguistic models represent the user-system grammar.

Physical and device models represent human motor skills.

Cognitive architectures underlie all of these cognitive models.

13. SOCIO-ORGANIZATIONAL ISSUES AND STAKEHOLDER REQUIREMENTS

There are several organizational issues that affect the acceptance of


technology by users and that must therefore be considered in system design:
o systems may not take into account conflict and power relationships
o those who benefit may not do the work
o not everyone may use systems.

In addition to generic issues, designers must identify specific stakeholder


requirements within their organizational context.

Socio-technical models capture both human and technical requirements.

Soft systems methodology takes a broader view of human and organizational


issues.

Participatory design includes the user directly in the design process.

Ethnographic methods study users in context, attempting to take an unbiased


perspective.

14. COMMUNICATION AND COLLABORATION MODELS


All computer systems, single user or multi-user, interact with the work-groups and
organizations in which they are used.
We need to understand normal human-human communication:
o face-to-face communication involves eyes, face and body
o conversation can be analyzed to establish its detailed structure.

This can then be applied to text-based conversation, which has:


o reduced feedback for confirmation
o less context to disambiguate utterances

o slower pace of interaction


but is more easily reviewed.
Group working is more complex than that of a single person:
o it is influenced by the physical environment
o experiments are more difficult to control and record
o field studies must take into account the social situation.

15. TASK ANALYSIS


Task analysis is the study of the way people perform tasks with existing systems.

Techniques for task analysis:


o decomposition of tasks into subtasks
o taxonomic classification of task knowledge
o listing things used and actions performed.

Sources of information:
o existing documentation
o observation
o interviews.

Using task analysis to design:


o manuals and documentation
o new systems.

16. DIALOGUE NOTATIONS AND DESIGN


Dialog is the syntactic level of human-computer interaction; it is rather like the script
of a play, except the user, and sometimes the computer, has more choices.
Notations used for dialog description can be:
o diagrammatic: easy to read at a glance
o textual: easier for formal analysis.

The dialog is linked:


o to the semantics of the system, what it does
o to the presentation of the system, how it looks.

Formal descriptions can be analyzed:


o for inconsistent actions
o for difficult to reverse actions

o for missing items


o for potential miskeying errors.
17. MODELS OF THE SYSTEM
We need to know what a system does in order to assess its usability.
Standard software engineering formalisms can be used to specify an
interactive system. These are of various types:
o model based, such as Z, which describe the system's state and
operations
o algebraic formalisms, which describe the effects of sequences of
actions
o temporal and deontic logics, which describe when things happen and
who is responsible.

Special interaction models are designed specifically to describe usability


properties, including:
o predictability and observability - what you can tell about the system
from looking at it
o reachability and undo - what you can do with it.

Most formal models and notations focus on events and changes that happen
when they occur, but we need richer models to deal with:
o interstitial behavior - the things that happen between events such as
dragging an icon
o physical objects in ubiquitous computing or virtual reality
o the tension between precise time and more fuzzy human ideas of time.

18. MODELLING RICH INTERACTION


We operate within an ecology of people, physical artifacts and electronic systems,
and this rich ecology has recently become more complex as electronic devices
invade the workplace and our day-to-day lives. We need methods to deal with these
rich interactions.
Status-event analysis is a semi-formal, easy to apply technique that:
o classifies phenomena as event or status
o embodies nave psychology

o highlights feedback problems in interfaces.

Aspects of rich environments can be incorporated into methods such as task


analysis:
o other people
o information requirements
o triggers for tasks
o modeling artifacts
o placeholders in task sequences.

New sensor-based systems do not require explicit interaction, this means:


o new cognitive and interaction models
o new design methods
o new system architectures.

PART FOUR: OUTSIDE THE BOX


19. GROUPWARE
Groupware is a term for applications written to support the collaboration of several
users.
Groupware can support different activities:
o direct interpersonal communication
o ideas generation and decision making
o sharing computer objects.

It can be classified in several ways:


o by where and when it happens
o by the sort of information shared
o by the aspects of co-operations supported.

Implementing groupware is more difficult than single-user applications:


o because of network delays

o because there are so many components to go wrong


o because graphical toolkits assume a single user.
20. UBIQUITOUS COMPUTING AND AUGMENTED REALITIES

The traditional computer is a glass box - all you can do is press buttons and
see the effect.

Ubiquitous computing and augmented reality systems break this glass box by
linking the real world with the electronic worlds.

Applications include:
o ubiquitous computing
o virtual reality
o augmented reality
o information visualization.

21. HYPERTEXT, MULTIMEDIA, AND THE WORLD WIDE WEB

Hypertext allows documents to be linked in a non-linear fashion.

Multimedia incorporates different media: sound, images, video.

The world wide web is a global hypermedia system.

Animation and video can show information that is difficult to convey statically.

Applications of hypermedia include online help, education and e-commerce

Design for the world wide web illustrates general hypermedia design, but also
has its own special problems.

Dynamic web content can be used for simple online demonstration or for
complete web-based business applications.