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(HCI) Human Computer Interaction

21) Interactive computer systems can be categorized both in terms of interaction styles and interaction paradigms. This helps us to understand the problems and potential value of any interactive system design. We must also pay attention to the context of interaction, whether generic or specific designs are at stake.

(a) Describe the Direct Manipulation interaction paradigms and two others, using an
electronic library catalogue system as an example to show how these three
paradigms relate to one another. Say which paradigm would be most suited to
supporting the tasks you have identified for the library system.

(b) Explain the idea of a context as it relates to HCI design.

(c) Describe the Norman Cycle and apply it to a typical scenario of usage for a librarian
using an electronic library catalogue.

(d) How well do you think the Norman Cycle can account for differences in interaction
context? Say what you think this has to do with long-term memory and mental
models.

Solution Preview

21) Interactive computer systems can be categorized both in terms of interaction styles and interaction paradigms. This helps us to understand the problems and potential value of any interactive system design. We must also pay attention to the context of interaction, whether generic or specific designs are at stake.

(a) Describe the Direct Manipulation interaction paradigms and two others, using an
electronic library catalogue system as an example to show how these three
paradigms relate to one another. Say which paradigm would be most suited to
supporting the tasks you have identified for the library system.

The Direct Manipulation interaction paradigm involves continuous representation of objects and actions of interest, such as physical actions and button pressing instead of issuing commands with complex syntax and rapid reversible actions with immediate feedback on objects of interest. DM interfaces are enjoyable because novices can learn the basic functionality quickly, experienced users can work extremely rapidly to carry out a wide range of tasks, even defining new functions and intermittent users can retain operational concepts over time. Error messages are rarely needed and users can immediately see if their actions are furthering their goals and if not do something else.
However, some people take the metaphor of direct manipulation too literally. Also, not all tasks can be described by objects and not all actions can be done directly. Some tasks are better achieved through delegating, e.g. spell checking. Yet another paradigm is issuing instructions, which can be good for repetitive tasks, e.g. spell-checking, file management, etc. This involves issuing commands ...

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