Proceedings of AUIC10, Australasian User Interface Conference
Time and place:
The Australasian User Interface Conference (AUIC) is a technology-focused forum for user interface researchers and practitioners from Australia and New Zealand, and throughout the world. The conference, which is one of several conferences that constitute the Australasian Computer Science Week, provides an opportunity for workers in the areas of HCI, CSCW, and pervasive computing to meet with colleagues and with others in the broader computer science community.
Commenting on a student's computer program with red pen ink annotations is not possible with current software and paper program 'listings' are a relic of a bygone era. Yet ink annotations are the easiest way to provide rich feedback to the student. We have developed and evaluated Penmarked as a software solution to this problem. It supports free-form ink annotations and, importantly, associated marking tasks of gathering and returning assignments and recording grades. The evaluation against paper and digital marking systems showed it to be faster and more effective. From a wider perspective Penmarked demonstrates the intricacies of providing totally paperless environment.
In their seminal 1983 book 'The Psychology of Human-Computer Interaction', Card, Newell and Moran (ACM Fellows and Turing Award winners) introduced 'the model human information-processor'. This model equipped interface designers with strong theoretical tools to predict human interface performance without the demands of implementation and evaluation. In the quarter century since then, human-computer interaction research has been extremely successful in transitioning research ideas to commercial deployment, yet interface design remains something of an art that is dependent on time-consuming iterations of design, implement, and evaluate. Theoretical models of human performance are rarely used despite their potential. In this presentation I will describe several of our recent projects seeking to improve the efficiency of everyday activities in computer use, including scrolling, text messaging, window switching, and navigating through menu and file structures. The overriding theme, however, is on using theoretical human performance models to inform design, explain and predict performance, and to generalise results obtained. Ultimately, the objective is to give all computer science graduates the equivalent of a 'Big O' complexity theory for user interfaces that allows them to design with assurance.
Successful information search requires a joint effort from both syntactic matching provided by current search engines and semantic matching performed by human users. Word-based syntactic matching schemes work well for tasks such as homepage finding or fact finding, but they are less effective in supporting exploratory search tasks such as learning and investigation. One way to overcome this limitation of syntactic matching is to capture the search journeys of other users with semantically related queries, and use them as a roadmap to guide exploratory search. This paper presents our investigation on the utilization of query semantics derived from query logs, to 1) increase the diversity of a search result; and 2) devise new interfaces that display a search result to support exploratory search. We conducted a user study to evaluate our initial interface prototypes. The evaluation shows that, with the interface that explicitly supports their task, subjects acquire more knowledge and are more confident about their task completeness. The differences between subjects' preferences suggest that we may need to provide a range of interfaces that can not only support users' search tasks, but also suit their personal styles.
Software to display DNA sequences is a crucial tool for bioinformatics research. This study examined techniques for navigating large DNA sequences via panning and zooming. This involved surveying the navigation facilities of current bioinformatics applications and performing a heuristic analysis on the most common interface controls found. Several prototypes for sequence navigation via panning and zooming were then developed and usability trials carried out, getting users to perform common sequence navigation tasks using the prototypes. The "Connected View" design was found to be most usable for panning while the zooming results were less clear. The outcomes of this type of research can help improve bioinformatics applications so that will be more usable by the target research users.
Models play an important part in the decision-making process. However, due to uncertainty in a model's input variables, making decisions involves a degree of risk. We have developed two visualization prototypes for exploring the influence of uncertainty in the values of the input variables on the risk associated with the decision-making. The first prototype is the interactive tornado diagram, which is considered as an extension to the static tornado diagram. The second prototype is the Uncertainty Influence Explorer (UIExplorer). This paper presents and discusses the results of an experiment conducted to assess the efficacy of these prototypes and compare their ability to help people answer meaningful questions related to the risk associated with decision-making. The results show that participants using UIExplorer performed better in terms of accuracy and time taken to complete the questions. Also, they found it easier to use and had higher confidence in the decisions being made.
Thin-client computing may be a solution to such problems as providing sophisticated applications on devices with low computational power, or providing reasonable access to digital artifacts whose distribution the copyright owner still wishes to protect. However, certain application domains have tight constraints around user interface response times, and the network aspect of thin-client computing may cause issues in this regard. We have conducted an experiment to identify how various delays added to mobile games affect players' performance and perceptions of the gameplay. By studying the effects of these delays, we aim to identify time-based performance parameters within which our future thin-client computing systems should work if they are to support all application domains.
We present iAnnotate, a tool that provides multi-user digital ink annotation on standard web pages within a commercial browser. The annotation can be saved, retrieved and shared with others via a URL. In addition multiple users' annotations can be displayed on the same page. We describe our design goals and the technical challenges. While realizing annotation on web documents is difficult because of the dynamic nature of the documents and the security constraints of web browsers, our user evaluation suggests that fully realized digital ink annotation tools would be very valuable.
The design and animation of digital 3D models is an essential task for many applications in science, engineering, education, medicine and arts. In many instances only an approximate representation is required and a simple and intuitive modelling and animation process, suitable for untrained users, is more important than realism and extensive features. Sketch-based modelling has been shown to be a suitable interface because the underlying pen-and-paper metaphor is intuitive and effective. In this paper we present LifeSketch, a framework for sketched-based modelling and animation. Three-dimensional models are created with a variation of the popular "Teddy" algorithm. The models are analysed and skeletons with joints are extracted fully automatically. The surface mesh is bound to the curved skeletons using skinning techniques and the resulting model can be animated using skeletal animation methods. The results of our evaluation and user study suggest that modelling and animation tasks are considerable more efficient than with traditional tools. The learning curve is very flat and a half page document was sufficient to familiarise users with the tools functionality. Users were satisfied with the automatically extracted joints, but some users struggled selecting the appropriate rotation axes and angles for animating the resulting 3D objects. A more intuitive, preferable automatic or sketch-based approach for animations is needed. Overall users were satisfied with the modelling capabilities of the tool, found most of its functionality natural and intuitive, and they enjoyed using it.
TableMouse is a cursor manipulation device designed specifically for multiple users interacting on large tabletop surface. TableMouse tracks position, height, orientation, button state, and unique identification. It is designed using infrared light emitting diodes and computer vision to perform device tracking and identification. This paper explores the functional design of such a device. Insights into the inherent features enabled by this functionality -- out of arms reach interaction, collaborative interaction -- are described. The architecture, vision analysis process, and issues to consider are described. Finally two example applications utilising the TableMouse are described.
Empirical work on appropriate layout aesthetics for graph drawing algorithms has concentrated on the interpretation of existing graph drawings. A more recent experiment has considered layout aesthetics from the point of view of users moving nodes in an existing graph drawing so as to create a desirable layout. The project reported here extends this research further, by asking participants to use sketching software to draw graphs based on adjacency lists, and to then lay them out -- removing any bias caused by an initial configuration. We find, in common with many other studies, that removing edge crossings is the most significant aesthetic, but also discover that aligning nodes and edges to an underlying grid is important, especially to male participants who have Computer Science experience. We observe that the aesthetics favoured by participants during creation of a graph drawing are often not evident in the final product.
This paper examines literature concerning the design of culture into websites and in particular indigenous websites. The intention is to identify design requirements as the first phase of building an indigenous website for the Wollotuka Institute located in the Awabakal nation and situated at the University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia. The aim of the project is to produce a website that best reflects the identity, needs and culture of the local Wollotuka community. Wollotuka supports a broad range of indigenous programs incorporating administrative, academic and research activities and provides support and development services for indigenous staff and students. Unfortunately many existing frameworks and indeed Western conceptions about what knowledge is and how it should be captured, organised and presented do not necessarily meet the culture of the intended indigenous users. The work described in this paper focuses on the many issues of concern when attempting to design a website that is specific for a local cultural community such as Wollotuka. We review previous work in cultural design and discuss some generic issues related to the representation and capture of indigenous knowledge. This review provides us with some general considerations and more specific guidelines for culture-specific design. Of particular interest is that narrative and object are conceptualised as a duality in knowledge representations found in Australian Indigenous culture. We also examine issues of design process and use our findings to support the choice of a user-centric design method, where we localise the design, through an iterative, prototyping process.