Human-Machine Interaction - Views - Design - User Support

    Attention : Script is not a complete representation of the oral lecture !!! 
Script is not yet completely finished !!!

AUTHOR: Gerd D´┐Żen-Henisch
EMAIL: doeben_at_fb2.fh-frankfurt.de

Design View

User Support

Every model has to assume, that either the user is unable to use the interface in the intended way or the system will produce some unintended malfunctions. For this case the designer has to provide some support for the potential users. Before we develop a theoretical framework for this task we will have a short look to two very known books (Dix, A., & Finlay, J.E., & Abowd,G.D., & Beale, R. , 2003) and (Lauesen,S., 2005 ).

Comparison of Dix et al. and Lauesen

Figure: Whiteboard-figures related to the topic user
support comparing Dix et al. and Lauesen

The comparison between the two books of Dix et al. as well as Lauesen shows, that the terminology is very different and some structural similarity can only be gained by comparing the described facts. Furthermore both books don't cite each other.... It is hard to see, where there is some common theoretical framework guiding the authors in their descriptions.

The following table gives a first overview about the main topics of both books and their possible similarities.

DIX et al.

User Support Situations (382f)
  • Getting started
  • Proficiency
  • Lookup - task related
  • Lookup - system related
  • Remember - task related
  • Remember - system related
Requirements (397ff)
  • Availability
  • Accuracy and Completeness
  • Consistency
  • Robustness
  • Flexibility
  • Unobstrusiveness

Types of Support (397-411)
  • Command Assistance
  • Command Prompts
  • Context-sensitive Help
  • Online Tutorials
  • Online Documentation
  • Wizards and Assistants
  • Adaptive Help Systems
Types of Support (385-391)
  • Books
  • Cards
  • On-line Help
  • Pop-us, messages, drop-down lists
  • In-screen guide
  • Wizard
  • Assistant
  • Course
  • Hot-line
  • Super users
  • Colleagues

Improve the User's Mental Models (384)
How to design (412-414)
  • Presentation Issues
  • Implementation Issues
User Support Plan (392-412)
(Complete description of a support case)

(i) Lauesen starts with some typical situations in which a user needs support. This generates the outline of a problem case
(ii) Dix et al. starts directly with some general reqirements for user support.
(iii) Then both books enumerate some typical ways how support can be provided. While Dix el do restrict themselves to computer based support, does  Lauesen  also take into account other kinds of support which are rooted in the social context.
(iv) Lauesen makes clear that all these different kinds of support have to serve only one goal: to improve the mental model of the user such that he will become more apt to solve his task with  the system.
(v) While Dix et al. give only some general hints about how to design presents Lauesen a full case-study including all the topics which he has discused before.