Publication statistics

Pub. period:1991-2011
Pub. count:22
Number of co-authors:39


Number of publications with 3 favourite co-authors:

Melissa A. Gallagher:
Sagar N. Purkayastha:
Nicole Howie:



Productive colleagues

Michael D. Byrne's 3 most productive colleagues in number of publications:

Scott E. Hudson:113
Peter G. Neumann:105
Bonnie E. John:63

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Michael D. Byrne

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Publications by Michael D. Byrne (bibliography)

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Zemla, Jeffrey C., Ustun, Volkan, Byrne, Michael D., Kirlik, Alex, Riddle, Kenyon and Alexander, Amy L. (2011): An ACT-R Model of Commercial Jetliner Taxiing. In: Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society 55th Annual Meeting 2011. pp. 831-835.

The Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) seeks to reduce gridlock at airports by, among other things, creating a more efficient surface taxi management system. Addressing this situation creates a difficult evaluation problem; how can new scheduling methods be tested? Present methods generally involve either expensive human-in-the-loop experiments or computer simulations that do not adequately represent the human component of system performance. We have developed an ACT-R model of commercial jetliner taxiing with the ultimate goal of aiding in both of these efforts. The X-Plane commercial flight simulation package provides an environment in which the model can act. That environment is populated with aircraft driven by recordings taken of real aircraft at Dallas-Fort Worth airport, which contain the actual positions of all aircraft on the taxi surface for a given time slice. This also provides us with a rich source of data for model validation, as the model can "replace" one actual aircraft, allowing comparisons between model-generated and pilot-generated trajectories.

© All rights reserved Zemla et al. and/or HFES

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Campbell, Bryan A., Tossell, Chad C., Byrne, Michael D. and Kortum, Philip (2011): Voting on a Smartphone: Evaluating the Usability of an Optimized Voting System for Handheld Mobile Devices. In: Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society 55th Annual Meeting 2011. pp. 1100-1104.

The goal of this research was to assess the usability of a voting system designed for current-generation smartphones. Smartphones offer remote participation in elections through the use of pervasive technology and voting on these devices could, among other benefits, increase voter participation while allowing voters to use familiar technology. We developed a mobile voting system for the iPhone and compared its usability with traditional voting platforms. Results showed that the mobile voting system was not as efficient as the other voting methods in total interaction time. However, smartphone owners committed fewer errors on the mobile voting system than on the traditional voting systems. These results, along with others, are discussed along with several important design considerations for voting technology.

© All rights reserved Campbell et al. and/or HFES

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Piner, Gillian E. and Byrne, Michael D. (2011): The Experience of Accessible Voting: Results of a Survey among Legally-Blind Users. In: Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society 55th Annual Meeting 2011. pp. 1686-1690.

The Help America Vote Act (2002) mandated that all polling places have an accessible method of voting available for those wishing to vote in federal elections. Unfortunately, there is presently little voting-specific data available to help guide the design of accessible voting systems for special segments of the population, such as visually impaired voters. We hope to fill this gap, and report on results from a questionnaire survey of 180 legally blind Americans of voting age to understand voting experiences and desired changes to improve voting technology. We found that most respondents vote in person at a polling location, and prefer audio voting systems with a recorded human male voice to other methods or options, including Braille. Important issues were identified. For example, lack of poll worker training with accessible technology was reported to be a problem by 24% of respondents, and was significantly more likely to be reported by those who had been assisted by a poll worker in the past. These results can help inform the design of future accessible voting interfaces.

© All rights reserved Piner and Byrne and/or HFES

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Howie, Nicole, Purkayastha, Sagar N., Byrne, Michael D. and O'Malley, Marcia K. (2011): Motor Skill Acquisition in a Virtual Gaming Environment. In: Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society 55th Annual Meeting 2011. pp. 2148-2152.

There are many domains that still require use of complex manual control, despite the general shift in the field toward research on supervisory control. One of the problems in complex manual control is training; we currently lack models that can help guide training. The research reported here is part of an effort to fill that gap. In this study, we used the Neverball video game as a motor control task and used performance metrics from the game to measure learning. In addition, we collected motion data to determine what basic movements correlated with game performance. Subjects showed evidence of learning in almost all of the performance metrics, which will enable comparisons with the motion data. The ultimate goal is to use the motion data to identify basic movements that underlie successful performance to provide as feedback during training, and hopefully accelerate learning.

© All rights reserved Howie et al. and/or HFES

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Byrne, Michael D., O'Malley, Marcia K., Gallagher, Melissa A., Purkayastha, Sagar N., Howie, Nicole and Huegel, Joel C. (2010): A Preliminary ACT-R Model of a Continuous Motor Task. In: Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society 54th Annual Meeting 2010. pp. 1037-1041.

Cognitive architectures such as ACT-R and EPIC are being applied to human factors research problems with increasing frequency. However, it is unclear whether such systems can model continuous motor tasks that were once staples in the field but have since been largely displaced by more cognitively-oriented problems. Recent research on a challenging continuous motor control task has revealed interesting patterns in skill acquisition that appear compatible with the learning mechanisms present in ACT-R. However, what was not clear was whether ACT-R could model expert performance in a high-frequency motor control task. Unmodified, ACT-R could not. However, by making some small changes in ACT-R's motor system and capitalizing on ACT-R's ability to imagine visual objects, ACT-R was able to achieve expert-level performance in this task. Whether ACT-R will be able to mirror the skill acquisition data is still an open question.

© All rights reserved Byrne et al. and/or HFES

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Everett, Sarah P., Greene, Kristen K., Byrne, Michael D., Wallach, Dan S., Derr, Kyle, Sandler, Daniel and Torous, Ted (2008): Electronic voting machines versus traditional methods: improved preference, similar performance. In: Proceedings of ACM CHI 2008 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems April 5-10, 2008. pp. 883-892.

In the 2006 U.S. election, it was estimated that over 66 million people would be voting on direct recording electronic (DRE) systems in 34% of the nation's counties [8]. Although these computer-based voting systems have been widely adopted, they have not been empirically proven to be more usable than their predecessors. The series of studies reported here compares usability data from a DRE with those from more traditional voting technologies (paper ballots, punch cards, and lever machines). Results indicate that there were little differences between the DRE and these older methods in efficiency or effectiveness. However, in terms of user satisfaction, the DRE was significantly better than the older methods. Paper ballots also perform well, but participants were much more satisfied with their experiences voting on the DRE. The disconnect between subjective and objective usability has potential policy ramifications.

© All rights reserved Everett et al. and/or ACM Press

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Tamborello, Franklin P., Chung, Phillip H. and Byrne, Michael D. (2008): Where no interface has gone before: what can the phaser teach us about label usage in HCI?. In: Proceedings of ACM CHI 2008 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems April 5-10, 2008. pp. 3609-3614.

Most research on how people represent procedures suggests that control labels are central. However, our data suggest that even moderately-experienced users do not rely on labels to locate interface elements.

© All rights reserved Tamborello et al. and/or ACM Press

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Chung, Phillip H. and Byrne, Michael D. (2008): Cue effectiveness in mitigating postcompletion errors in a routine procedural task. In International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, 20 (4) pp. 217-232.

Postcompletion errors, which are omissions of actions required after the completion of a task's main goal, occur in a variety of everyday procedural tasks. Previous research has demonstrated the difficulty of reducing their frequency by means other than redesigning the task structure [Byrne, M.D., Davis, E.M., 2006. Task structure and postcompletion error in the execution of a routine procedure. Human Factors 48, 627-638]. Nevertheless, finding a successful strategy for mitigation of this type of error may uncover important mechanisms underlying interactive behavior. Two experiments were carried out to test visual cues for their ability to reduce the frequency of postcompletion errors in a computer-based routine procedural task. A cue that was visually salient, just-in-time, and meaningful entirely eliminated the error, whereas cues that were not as specific were ineffective. These results are beyond the predictive capability of extant error identification methods and common design guidelines but are consistent with the work of Altmann and Trafton [2002. Memory for goals: an activation-based model. Cognitive Science 26, 39-83] and Hollnagel [1993. Human Reliability Analysis, Context and Control. Academic Press, London]. Finally, a computational model developed in ACT-R is presented as a first step towards validation of the major findings from the two experiments.

© All rights reserved Chung and Byrne and/or Academic Press

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Byrne, Michael D., Greene, Kristen K. and Everett, Sarah P. (2007): Usability of voting systems: baseline data for paper, punch cards, and lever machines. In: Proceedings of ACM CHI 2007 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems 2007. pp. 171-180.

In the United States, computer-based voting machines are rapidly replacing other older technologies. While there is potential for this to be a usability improvement, particularly in terms of accessibility, the only way it is possible to know if usability has improved is to have baseline data on the usability of traditional technologies. We report an experiment assessing the usability of punch cards, lever machines, and two forms of paper ballot. There were no differences in ballot completion time between the four methods, but there were substantial effects on error rate, with the paper ballots superior to the other methods as well as an interaction with age of voters. Subjective usability was assessed with the System Usability Scale and showed a slight advantage for bubble-style paper ballots. Overall, paper ballots were found to be particularly usable, which raises important technological and policy issues.

© All rights reserved Byrne et al. and/or ACM Press

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Fleetwood, Michael D. and Byrne, Michael D. (2006): Modeling the Visual Search of Displays: A Revised ACT-R Model of Icon Search Based on Eye-Tracking Data. In Human-Computer Interaction, 21 (2) pp. 153-197.

Because of the visual nature of computer use, researchers and designers of computer systems would like to gain some insight into the visual search strategies of computer users. Icons, a common component of graphical user interfaces, serve as the focus for a set of studies aimed at (1) developing a detailed understanding of how people search for an icon in a typically crowded screen of other icons that vary in similarity to the target, and (2) building a cognitively plausible model that simulates the processes inferred in the human search process. An eye-tracking study of the task showed that participants rarely refixated icons that they had previously examined, and that participants used an efficient search strategy of examining distractor icons nearest to their current point of gaze. These findings were integrated into an ACT-R model of the task using EMMA and a "nearest" strategy. The model fit the response time data of participants as well as a previous model of the task, but was a much better fit to the eye movement data.

© All rights reserved Fleetwood and Byrne and/or Taylor and Francis

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Tamborello, Franklin P. and Byrne, Michael D. (2005): Information search: the intersection of visual and semantic space. In: Proceedings of ACM CHI 2005 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems 2005. pp. 1821-1824.

In the context of an information search task, does the visual salience of items interact with information scent? That is, do things like bold headlines or highlighted phrases interact with local semantic cues about the usefulness of distal sources of information? Most research on visual search and highlighting has used stimuli with no semantic content, while studies on information search have assumed equal visual salience of items in the search space. In real information environments like the Web, however, these things do not occur in isolation. Thus, we used a laboratory study to examine how these factors interact. The almost perfectly additive results imply that good information scent cannot overcome poor visual cues, or vice versa, and that both factors are equally important.

© All rights reserved Tamborello and Byrne and/or ACM Press

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Neumann, Peter G. and Byrne, Michael D. (2005): Disability-related risks. In Communications of the ACM, 48 (8) p. 144.

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Everett, Sarah P. and Byrne, Michael D. (2004): Unintended effects: varying icon spacing changes users' visual search strategy. In: Dykstra-Erickson, Elizabeth and Tscheligi, Manfred (eds.) Proceedings of ACM CHI 2004 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems April 24-29, 2004, Vienna, Austria. pp. 695-702.

Users of modern GUIs routinely engage in visual searches for various control items, such as buttons and icons. Because this is so ubiquitous, it is important that the visual properties of user interfaces support such searches. The current research is aimed at deepening our understanding of how the visual spacing between icons affects visual search times. We constructed an experiment based on previous icon sets [8] where spacing between icons was systematically manipulated, and for which we had a computational cognitive model that predicted performance. In particular, the model predicted that larger spacing would lead to slower search times. While this prediction was borne out, there was an unanticipated finding: users in this new experiment were substantially slower than in previous similar experiments with smaller spacing. In fact, results from this new experiment were better fit with a model that employed a fundamentally different, and less efficient, search strategy. A second experiment was conducted to explicitly test the surprising result that this varied and larger icon spacing would lead to increased search times. Results were consistent with this hypothesis. These results imply that while small differences in visual layout may not intrinsically produce large differences in user performance, they may cause users to adopt suboptimal strategies that do produce such differences.

© All rights reserved Everett and Byrne and/or ACM Press

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Katz, Michael A. and Byrne, Michael D. (2003): Effects of scent and breadth on use of site-specific search on e-commerce Web sites. In ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction, 10 (3) pp. 198-220.

Users faced with Web sites containing many possibly relevant pages often have a decision to make about navigation: use the menu of links or use the provided site search function. Two studies were conducted to examine what users do when faced with this decision on e-commerce Web sites, and how users go about deciding which method to attempt. An exploratory study revealed a wide distribution of searching and browsing behavior across sites and users. Counter to some predictions, use of the site search functions did not yield faster or more accurate performance in locating products. Questionnaire data suggested that factors relevant to the menu structure, interface element prominence, information scent and user dispositions all influenced the decision of whether to browse or search a site for a product. A second experiment utilizing novel e-commerce sites and allowing for more control of factors found to be important in the first study found that browsing behavior was influenced by both the breadth and information scent of the menus. These results suggest that providing site search should not be used to compensate for poor menu design, and provide further evidence regarding the design of effective menu structures.

© All rights reserved Katz and Byrne and/or ACM Press

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Byrne, Michael D. (2001): ACT-R/PM and menu selection: applying a cognitive architecture to HCI. In International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, 55 (1) pp. 41-84.

Understanding the interaction of a user with a designed device such as a GUI requires clear understanding of three components: the cognitive, perceptual and motor capabilities of the user, the task to be accomplished and the artefact used to accomplish the task. Computational modeling systems which enable serious consideration of all these constraints have only recently begun to emerge. One such system is ACT-R/PM, which is described in detail. ACT-R/PM is a production system architecture that has been augmented with a set of perceptual-motor modules designed to enable the detailed modeling of interactive tasks. Nilsen's (1991) random menu selection task serves two goals: to illustrate the promise of this system and to help further our understanding of the processes underlying menu selection and visual search. Nilsen's original study, two earlier models of the task, and recent eye-tracking data are all considered. Drawing from the best properties of the previous models considered and guided by information from the eye-tracking experiment, a series of new models of random menu selection were constructed using ACT-R/PM. The final model provides a zero-parameter fit to the data that does an excellent, though not perfect, job of capturing the data.

© All rights reserved Byrne and/or Academic Press

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Baumeister, Lynn K., John, Bonnie E. and Byrne, Michael D. (2000): A Comparison of Tools for Building GOMS Models. In: Turner, Thea, Szwillus, Gerd, Czerwinski, Mary, Peterno, Fabio and Pemberton, Steven (eds.) Proceedings of the ACM CHI 2000 Human Factors in Computing Systems Conference April 1-6, 2000, The Hague, The Netherlands. pp. 502-509.

We compare three tools for creating GOMS models, QGOMS [2], CATHCI [17] and GLEAN3 [12], along several dimensions. We examine the representation and available constructs in each tool, the qualitative and quantitative design information provided, the support for building cognitively plausible models, and pragmatics about using each tool (e.g., how easy it is to modify a model). While each tool has its strengths, they all reave something to be desired as a practical UI design tool.

© All rights reserved Baumeister et al. and/or ACM Press

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Byrne, Michael D., Anderson, John R., Douglass, Scott and Matessa, Michael (1999): Eye Tracking the Visual Search of Click-Down Menus. In: Altom, Mark W. and Williams, Marian G. (eds.) Proceedings of the ACM CHI 99 Human Factors in Computing Systems Conference May 15-20, 1999, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. pp. 402-409.

Click-down (or pull-down) menus have long been a key component of graphical user interfaces, yet we know surprisingly little about how users actually interact with such menus. Nilsen's [8] study on menu selection has led to the development of a number of models of how users perform the task [6, 21. However, the validity of these models has not been empirically assessed with respect to eye movements (though [1] presents some interesting data that bear on these models). The present study is an attempt to provide data that can help refine our understanding of how users interact with such menus.

© All rights reserved Byrne et al. and/or ACM Press

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Byrne, Michael D., John, Bonnie E., Wehrle, Neil S. and Crow, David C. (1999): The Tangled Web We Wove: A Taskonomy of WNW Use. In: Altom, Mark W. and Williams, Marian G. (eds.) Proceedings of the ACM CHI 99 Human Factors in Computing Systems Conference May 15-20, 1999, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. pp. 544-551.

A prerequisite to the effective design of user interfaces is an understanding of the tasks for which that interface will actually be used. Surprisingly little task analysis has appeared for one of the most discussed and fastest-growing computer applications, browsing the World-Wide Web (WWW). Based on naturally-collected verbal protocol data, we present a taxonomy of tasks undertaken on the WWW. The data reveal that several previous claims about browsing behavior are questionable, and suggests that that widget-centered approaches to interface design and evaluation may be incomplete with respect to good user interfaces for the Web.

© All rights reserved Byrne et al. and/or ACM Press

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Hudson, Scott E., John, Bonnie E., Knudsen, Keith and Byrne, Michael D. (1999): A Tool for Creating Predictive Performance Models from User Interface Demonstrations. In: Zanden, Brad Vander and Marks, Joe (eds.) Proceedings of the 12th annual ACM symposium on User interface software and technology November 07 - 10, 1999, Asheville, North Carolina, United States. pp. 93-102.

A central goal of many user interface development tools has been to make the construction of high quality interfaces easy enough that iterative design approaches could be a practical reality. In the last 15 years significant advances in this regard have been achieved. However, the evaluation portion of the iterative design process has received relatively little support from tools. Even though advances have also been made in usability evaluation methods, nearly all evaluation is still done "by hand," making it more expensive and difficult than it might be. This paper considers a partial implementation of the CRITIQUE usability evaluation tool that is being developed to help remedy this situation by automating a number of evaluation tasks. This paper will consider techniques used by the system to produce predictive models (keystroke level models and simplified GOMS models) from demonstrations of sample tasks in a fraction of the time needed by conventional handcrafting methods. A preliminary comparison of automatically generated models with models created by an expert modeler show them to produce very similar predictions (within 2%). Further, because they are automated, these models promise to be less subject to human error and less affected by the skill of the modeler.

© All rights reserved Hudson et al. and/or ACM Press

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Byrne, Michael D. and Bovair, Susan (1997): A Working Memory Model of a Common Procedural Error. In Cognitive Science, 21 (1) pp. 31-61.

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Byrne, Michael D., Wood, Scott D., Sukaviriya, Piyawadee, Foley, James D. and Kieras, David E. (1994): Automating Interface Evaluation. In: Adelson, Beth, Dumais, Susan and Olson, Judith S. (eds.) Proceedings of the ACM CHI 94 Human Factors in Computing Systems Conference April 24-28, 1994, Boston, Massachusetts. pp. 232-237.

One method for user interface analysis that has proven successful is formal analysis, such as GOMS-based analysis. Such methods are often criticized for being difficult to learn, or at the very least an additional burden for the system designer. However, if the process of constructing and using formal models could be automated as part of the interface design environment, such models could be of even greater value. This paper describes an early version of such a system, called USAGE (the UIDE System for semi-Automated GOMS Evaluation). Given the application model necessary to drive the UIDE system, USAGE generates an NGOMSL model of the interface which can be "run" on a typical set of user tasks and provide execution and learning time estimates.

© All rights reserved Byrne et al. and/or ACM Press

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Byrne, Michael D. (1991): The Misunderstood Picture: A Study of Icon Recognition. In ACM SIGCHI Bulletin, 23 (4) pp. 37-38.

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