An opportunity is identified for improving the conventional input device of the interactive television (ITV) – the ‘remote control’. Such an improvement will have several implications and benefits in areas including improving the user’s subjective experience and enjoyability when using an ITV; increasing use of interactive services; and that the development of ITV applications will be made easier because of standardized interactions which offer greater scalability and functionality than the conventional remote. A comprehensive literary review was performed to offer insight and grounding to the development of the idea, looking into topics such as the context of use and the characteristics of television users; previous attempts at modifying or standardising the remote control; research behind different styles and types of input; and conceptual theory such as the mental models and metaphors used to help understand the use of interactive products and services.
The proposed new interactions are pointing and gesturing, with the latter offering 3 modes of input: pitch, yaw, and roll. There should be a ‘select’ button for the pointing device, and a ‘gesture’ button which must be held for gestures to be used. It is also proposed that an ‘undo’ button be added. Functionality for the 3 types of gestures is suggested, and it is also suggested that a facility be implemented where the user can define their own gestures to reach their ‘favourite’ channels or applications.
User testing of a prototype implementing the pointing and gesturing functionality showed promising results, but many limitations and areas for continued development and research are detailed.
Bound copy lodged with the Library on Jubilee Campus.
Keith Oliver, "Cognitive Map Development and Driver Distraction: The Role of Vehicle Navigation Systems.", supervised by Gary, distinction mark
Vehicle navigation systems reduce the mental workload for a driver by replacing the need to navigate in unfamiliar areas. Concern has been raised, however, that they may suppress the ability to form a mental representation of an area (a socalled cognitive map) in the longer term.
An experimental investigation, using a driving simulator, was conducted to discover if this effect could be ameliorated by the addition of salient features, such as landmarks, to guidance instructions. Previous research has shown the benefit of using landmarks in navigation systems in terms of usability and efficiency.
It was found that the users of a navigation system, thus enhanced, formed a better cognitive map of an area after only a short exposure, when compared with those using a system which presented distance to turn guidance alone. They performed better on tests of route recognition and drew more complex and useful sketch maps. The effect was most pronounced for the experienced drivers in the sample who, on average, spent a greater proportion of their journey looking at the road scene.
Video evidence was also analysed to determine if the enhanced system made a greater visual demand of the driver than the standard one. No significant differences were found in terms of glance behaviour between the groups using the two different systems.
Bound copy lodged with the Library on Jubilee Campus.
Dadashi, Nastaran. "Automatic Surveillance and CCTV Operator Workload", supervised by Tony Pridmore (CS) and Alex Stedmon (M3), distinction mark
Despite the recent technological advancements in developing automatic surveillance systems, their effectiveness is usually affected by different factors and they are not completely reliable. These “imperfect” systems might still be useful if they inform users of their deficiency. In other words, if the automatic system could inform the user about its level of confidence in the generated alarms, then the users’ reliance on the system would be increased. A series of experiments were designed to investigate various design features such as functionality of automatic system (Spotting and Tracking) and different levels of accuracy (66% and 75%). Also, three levels of “confidence information” (no confidence information, unreliable confidence information and reliable confidence information) were introduced which demonstrated the likelihood of the alarm to be true positive. The workload of operators was measured to investigate the efficiency of each of the modes. A total of 24 students took part in these experiments. The results showed significant reduction in workload when there is “reliable confidence information”. Slight increase in the accuracy and variation in functionality failed to produce evidence of change in workload. This project confirms that effectiveness of imperfect automatic surveillance system currently available can be improved with simple non technical design modifications. This project also emphasises the need for further research in the area.
Keywords: Automatic surveillance systems, CCTV, workload assessment, reliance
Robert Macrae, "Interactive Displays for Musical Instruments", supervised by Steve Benford, distinction mark
This project takes a look at the potential added benefits that modern interactive displays could bring to the playing experience of musical instruments. This dissertation reviews the technology available for such devices including the available file standards for musical notation.
A prototype display was produced that shows musical instructions on how to play a song to piano or keyboard players. The display takes a Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) file and shows the animated notes to the performer using a projector and custom built projector screen. If the keyboard used has MIDI output available then this data is also analysed to show users what was played correctly and provide them with a score summary.
The progression of users of the prototype was measured and opinions gathered to assess the impact and usability of the device. Using the results from these experiments and current research trends in this subject, the possibilities for instrument display devices was explored.
This report shows that there is an opportunity for such devices within music education and entertainment thanks to the capabilities of modern computing. This final analysis then includes a set of recommendations for any future displays designed for use whilst playing instruments.
Sample figures: Figure 5.1: Picture taken of the first tester of the developed prototype, Figure 5.3: hardware configuration.
Savagar, Gemma. "Exploratory usability evaluation of Tablet-PCs for pen based sketching and an Interactive Sketching Tutorial", supervised by Sarah Sharples (M3), distinction mark
Research on digital ink or tablet based sketching has focused upon the conversion or "beautification" of digital sketches into formalized objecs, such as 3D CAD models, or Visual Basic forms, to increase the efficiency of the design development process (Plimmer, 2008). However, exploration of the usability of Tablet PCs for sketching, their accessibility to a range of drawing aptitudes and their influence on drawing behaviour and quality has been largely neglected. User adoption of tablet based sketching is essential to support the need for these sophisticated recnogition software. In conjunction, sketching is an important medium for developing, exploring and communicating ideas (Goldschmidt, 1999). Sketching can potentially help communicate across boundaries in inter-disciplinary teams, however many new technology design discuplines do not emaphasis practice or development of sketching skills. Therefore an interactive multimedia tutorial has been developed to teach the basics of sketching. The current project comprises of a two part study, one quantitative approach and one qualitative approach to evaluate usability features of drawing on Tablet-PCs compared to pen and paper and the effectiveness of the multimedia tutorial compared to a paper based booklet. Results indicate the the Tablet has a range of potential usability issues but the extent of their impact is minimal. Some features of the Tablet-PC , such as its raised drawing surface and slippery screen, may appear awkward but could acutally improve drawing actions and sketch quality. The multimedia tool was well accepted and received positive feedback. Learners particularly enjoyed the chance to compare their drawing accuracy.
Cousin, Antony William Joseph. "The Effects of E-Learning on the Learning Experience: A Contrast with Conventional Teaching Methods., supervised by Sarah Sharples (M3), distinction mark
The use of technology to construct e-Learning brings great potential for enriching a learner’s experience but requires careful consideration to ensure that it is incorporated effectively, not superfluously. The objective of this paper was to investigate the effects of using e-Learning materials in contrast to conventional teaching and to uncover why these effects arise. The study followed an iterative design procedure to develop the e-Learning program which was then evaluated against paper-based teaching. The evaluation took 20 students through a short learning exercise which they were subsequently given brief assessment on. Participants were also asked to rate their knowledge before and after learning then provide feedback on their experience.
Whilst e-Learners did not perform better than paper learners in assessment, they responded more positively to their experience in terms of self-rating knowledge and expressing greater interest in the teaching. Observations cast concern for the implications of carelessly designed interactivity and misuse of the technology. It is concluded that whilst learning effects are comparable, a strong argument remains for well-designed e-Learning providing a more encouraging and engaging environment. The aspects of e-Learning which seem to induce this effect are those which align to constructivist principles beyond the capacity of solely paper-based teaching.
is suggested for investigating the problems caused by inappropriate use
of technologies and to provide a strategy for the effective grounding
e-Learning in strong instructional design principles. Keywords: e-Learning, electronic learning, constructivism, instructional design
Shean Malik, "The effect of navigational aids on the formation of cognitive maps", supervised by Gary, merit mark
In vehicle navigation systems are considered a commonality. There have been a number of studies that have been conducted that focus on different aspects of IVNS such as safety and distraction. A critical issue of navigation systems is related to the formation of cognitive maps. The current literature suggests that the use of INVS would have a negative effect on the formation of cognitive map. A practical study was conducted to find out if the use of navigational aids could be used to improve the formation of cognitive map. A virtual world “residential area” was created using video clips. Two systems were created 1) Guided system that consisted of a number of navigational aids such as street names, landmarks, turn by turn direction and road layout. It also had auditory guidance. 2) Simplified guided system that only consisted of a simplified turn by turn instructions with auditory guidance. An experimental study was conducted on the systems. The study involved 16 participants: 10 males; 6 females. The experiment was a between study so, the participants were split equally to use the guided system and the others to use the simplified guided group. Participants were to go through 3 routes that would go over the whole area. After completion of the tasks participants were given exercises that tested participant’s formulated landmark, route and survey knowledge. The results of the study outlined: no significant difference between the guided participants and the simplified guided participants in relation to landmark and route knowledge. However a small difference was found regarding survey knowledge but only in the participant’s ability to remember street names in favour of the guided participants. A difference was also found with the male participants that used the guided system remembered more landmarks and how the gender influenced the directional task. The results indicated that further study is required in to determine if navigational aids have an actual affect on the formation of cognitive maps.
Javaid Iqbal, "Importance of Task Design in Usability Testing", supervised by Gary, merit mark
The aim of this dissertation was to investigate the hypothesis that the task design affects proportion of usability problems discovered during usability testing study. Specifically, three levels of task design investigated with a common goal were low level (Task Level 1), medium level (Task Level 2) and high level (Task Level 3) design. It was hypothesized that task levels would reveal different type and proportion of usability problems. Furthermore, it was hypothesized that higher level of task design will need fewer participants to uncover higher number of usability problems. In contrast lower task design will uncover lesser problems with same number of test users.
This study used a combination of different usability evaluation techniques. An initial heuristic evaluation provided with a pool of usability problems. For experiment, three different testing sessions were held, first five users followed Task Level 1, second five users followed Task Level 2 and third five users followed Task Level 3. Participants were asked to think-aloud while completing a task in an e-commerce website, which had been pre-evaluated using heuristic checklist. The method of measuring usability during the session was the number of usability problems uncovered by each participant during usability testing session.
The results from experiment supported initial hypothesis confidently, discovering significantly higher number of usability problems in high level design. This experiment will provide a basis for future studies regarding task design, factors affecting task design and task performance.
Ka Sing Wong, "Evaluation of the application of project Thunder to support small group collaborative work in higher education", supervised by Sue Cobb, merit mark
Collaborative systems offer good support for group works. Due to collaborative system can be very complex and it may not suitable to be used in the field of higher education. In this paper, qualitative evaluation method has used in order to investigate how a new collaborative system can be applied in the higher education setting and how it would support small collaborative group work.
Tolga Kol, "Evaluation of Graphical Operator Interface for ATMs", supervised by Tim Brailsford, merit mark
A Graphical Operator Panel (GOP) is used on Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) to report any faults on the terminal to the service personnel. The interface guides the service personnel to empty, replenish and clear jams on the terminal. This report concludes a postgraduate dissertation project that has focused on the usability of the interface used in the GOP application.
The dissertation examines the following research question: How can the interface of the Graphical Operator Panel application be improved to provide better usability for the first time users?
The problem is investigated by means of a theoretical review and a number of practical case studies in NCR, a leading technology company specializing in solutions for the retail and financial industries. First of all, the literature review of interface usability revealed a wide range of issues to be consisted which include user profile, context of use and expert reviews. The first case study involved task analysis and critical evaluation of existing paper-based instructional material for replenishment, deposit emptying and jam clearance tasks. Second, an expert evaluation of the GOP interface was conducted on both the demo version of the interface and the entire application. A pilot study investigating the usability of icons used on the interface was followed by a brain storming activity to create icon sketches and designed a new set of icons. These new icons were them evaluated in an evaluation by 23 participants. Finally, a heuristic evaluation of the whole interface was conducted in order to understand the icon evaluation in the context of the operator interface.
The graphical interface under investigation was designed to reduce time and errors to complete the servicing tasks by giving step by step video instructions. The existing text based interface was replaced with this application on new products to reduce cost and time to train service personnel. A previous study of the interface was limited to compare the GOP application with only paper-based instructional material. A usability evaluation was designed to understand further user requirements however there was not a full evaluation study conducted on the interface. This previous empirical research suggested a new icon set to improve the usability by increasing better icon recognition for the first time users. However the study conducted that users still need context knowledge to use the interface. More research is needed on how these problems can properly be solved.
Askari, Danial. "Collaboration Activity using HP Tablet PC Speech Recognition", supervised by Sarah Sharples (M3), merit mark
The following study investigates how a speech recognition technology can be used with HP Tablet PC for Collaboration between teacher and student in classroom for making notes.
Considering the fact that many students come to United Kingdom to pursue higher studies. Statistics show that in the year 2005/06 approximately 106,230 students came to United Kingdom for higher education from EU nations and a total of approximately 223,830 students came to United Kingdom from countries other than EU nations. Apart from that the number of disabled students enrolled in United Kingdom for higher education was 895,675 approximately in the year 2005/06.
UK can be divided into many regions and people belonging to different region have different accents. Keeping in mind the fact that most of the student coming to UK for higher education belong to countries where English was not their first language. These students along with some disabled students face problems in the understanding of the lecture delivered in English language.
There should be a technology which can increase the understanding of the student, belonging to different parts of the world, in the lecture room and help the disabled students in making notes. Considering these facts a speech recognition technology was combined with HP Tablet PC for notes taking in classroom.
An interface was designed keeping in mind the requirements, gathered from the interview of different students studying different subjects at different universities. A lab study wasconducted in order to find the usability of the interface and technology in classrooms.
According to the result of the evaluation it was found that 99% of the participants really liked the idea of the overall technology and wanted to use it in classrooms. Result of technology in relation to paper and pen shows significant difference.
There were a few limitations and problems related to the technology. If these limitations and problems can be removed and some features can be added in future, the technologycan definitely be introduced in the classrooms.
Javadian, Ghazaleh. "Development and evaluation of an e-learning program: The effect of e-learning in higher education", supervised by Sarah Sharples (M3), merit mark
Electronic learning approaches to education offer hopes for improved interaction between learners and the material; a more active learner-centred process of teaching; and potentially more effective learning success as a result. These benefits however may only be fully used if we look carefully at how e-learning can most appropriately target and achieve them. This study therefore aims to investigate these effects of electronic learning and improve our understanding of how learners respond to elearning materials, with a case study of implementation and evaluation at the University of Nottingham. The main activities were to develop the e-learning program using a user-centred methodology then evaluate its effects on the learning task itself, with a particular comparison against paper-based teaching. The evaluation study took 20 participants from the University postgraduate community, provided them with either electronic or paper materials, and took measurements of assessed performance, self-ratings of knowledge and further subjective responses. Further data for the elearning participants recorded usability of the program. The main results that emerged from this controlled study of learning were that teaching method had little impact on the improvement of knowledge, either assessed or self-rated, yet learners’ subjective responses to motivation and confidence in their understanding were significantly higher for those who had used the electronic learning materials. Conclusions are drawn that e-learning may provide comparable attainment of knowledge but improve over paper methods when looking at the learners’ personal satisfaction with the learning exercise. It is suggested that further studies look more closely at the aspects of motivation in particular that are involved when using electronic, interactive teaching methods.
Shanghui Xu, "Formative Evaluation of a Web-based Interface for the INTUITION (EU network of excellence) Knowledge Base (Currently in Development)", supervised by Sue Cobb, pass mark
Formative evaluation is to help the developer improve their product before it is implemented. It is conducted during the developing process. This dissertation is to evaluate the accessibility and usability of the Web-based interface for INTUITION knowledge base. Because the Web has penetrated into every domain of daily life, it is necessary to make the web site accessible and usable to everyone.
There are three tools used to test the accessibility which are all online testing services. One is the W3C‟s HTML validation service used to test the markup of pages. The result shows all the tested sites have passed XHTML 1.0 Transitional validation. Another two tools are used to find the detail problems of the site. Many accessibility problems have been identified through the using of these two tools, however, they also indicating the site has passed the priority 1 of the Web Content Accessibility Guideline 1.0 which is required.
The usability tests are conducted with heuristic evaluation and user test. Both of the two methods identified lots of violations which are needed to be fixed. The results from two methods are quite similar. The most important limitation may be that the „experts‟ used in heuristic evaluation are students.
Key Words: formative evaluation, web-based interface, accessibility, usability, software tools, heuristic evaluation, user test.
Alan Chong, "A Software Based Tool For Supporting Occlusion Experiment", supervised by Gary Burnett, pass mark
Nowadays, In-Vehicle Information System contains more functionalities and information than in the past. However, the interface of those systems did not change much. Therefore, distraction by those devices is a worrying problem. Although there are many of the evaluation methods available to evaluate those interface but many of them are too expensive and difficult to set-up with other limitation. Occlusion Technique is a cost effective method that overcome those limitations that other methods have. Unfortunately, there are no software to help researchers to conduct the occlusion experiment easily, so this report will outline the software implementation to support researchers for conducting occlusion experiment.
Nyan Kyaw, "Promoting Ergonomics Standards in the Network Rail Control Centre", supervised by John Wilson, pass mark
In the rail industry, human factor has been a relatively unexplored field. Only in the late 90s, there was a revival in this field of study. This dissertation will review some of the design standards and guidelines that will promote in designing an ergonomically sound control room. Similar guidance tools and programs that are currently available in the market place today will also be scoped out.
A program/presentation will also be created. The purpose of this program will be to promote ergonomic standards among the employee’s of Network Rail, particularly the signallers and controllers in the control centres. This will be a program which will bebuilt upon in future.
Chatterjee, Trilochon. "A Situation Theoretic Framework for Interaction in Text-Based Interactive Narratives", supervised by Peter Blanchfield (CS), pass mark
Interactive Narratives (INs) are forms of narrative that allow users to affect the course or outcome of a story by providing a framework within which they may make of meaningful decisions. Computational forms of interactive narrative range in representational scope and narrative depth, from the hyperrealistic three-dimensional landscapes of modern computer games to the interactive literature of hypertext fiction.
For this project, text-based interactive narratives were elected as the focus of study. First, the theoretical issues that underpin both interactive and conventional narratives forms are discussed. It is argued that primary factors affecting user engagement in interactive text-narratives include (i) the depth of interactivity, narrativity and dynamics provided by the resultant INs; and (ii) accessibility of IN authoring tools for a broader range of authors. Two authoring tools for text-based INs Storyscape & Storytron are evaluated, and their strengths and weaknesses are assessed in terms of (a) their ease-of-use as authorial tools; (b) the depth of interactivity (the extent to which users can affect changes to the narrative environment); and (c) the depth of narrativity (to what extent narrative aesthetics can be preserved in an interactive environment) that they support.
In response to this analysis, a new framework for interaction is proposed, based upon the constructs of situation theory a powerful yet surprisingly straightforward logic of information that has numerous advantages, among them the ability to support context-sensitive forms of information. BABY-SIT, an existing programming environment for situation theoretic analysis, is used to support the notion of textual narratives that demonstrate context-dependence. Finally, the Infonicon framework a new interaction paradigm and system architecture for text-based INs, is presented.
Iliopoulou, Georgia. "Evaluation of current CPR website, development and evaluation of a prototype of a new website for CPR", supervised by Glyn Lawson (M3), pass mark
In a high speed world of information and technology evolution, collaboration in educational and business world plays a very dominant role. More and more organizations base their work on collaboration between employees in distributed environments, in order to eliminate the distance barriers and work more effectively using common spaces, websites and other collaborative applications.
This research aimed to study and evaluate DiFac Collaborative Product Reviewer (CPR) website, which is a tool for enhancing collaboration between users via synchronous and asynchronous communication. It also aimed to explore the effect, if there is any, of the users’ experience and website design on the overall usability of the system, as rated by the users.
In order to achieve these goals two studies were conducted. In each study two different groups of participants were used: experts and users with no prior knowledge of usability issues (novices). The evaluation study 1 included an evaluation of the DiFac CPR website, using heuristic evaluation, usability testing and a semi-structured questionnaire. The results of the evaluation study 1 and the recommendations of the participants were used to implement a prototype of an improved new website for CPR technologies. The evaluation study 2 included an evaluation of the improved prototype created by the researcher of this project, as well as the comparison of the overall usability of the two websites, considering the effect of usability experience of the participants.
It was found that there was a significant effect of the factor of website design on the overall usability of the CPR website, whilst there was no significant effect of the factor of usability experience of the users and there was no significant interaction between the two factors. The new website improved the overall usability of CPR and particularly the section of collaboration. Moreover, experts gave a lot lower overall usability ratings than the novices in the old website, whilst both experts and novices gave similar ratings tothe new website.
Meredith, Robert Stephen, "Designing Interfaces for Educational Games: a Game to Teach Spatial Reasoning Skills", supervised by Peter Blanchfield (CS), pass mark
This project focuses on the design of educational games. In particular, it is concerned with the design process and the production of appropriate interfaces for such systems. It studies methods for creating both entertaining and educational systems and puts them to practice in the development of a game to teach spatial reasoning skills. The design process is documented in detail to provide justification on the design decisions, focussing on the evolution of the interface throughout the project. A prototype of the design was developed incorporating the main design concepts. The prototype was then evaluated by involving end-users in the design process and feedback was gathered focussing on the interface design, to assess its effectiveness and to suggest improvements that could be made to the design. It was found that the involvement of end-users in the design process was critical in obtaining a usable design, entertaining game play and effective instruction of material. Acceptance tests provided useful information for discovering system requirements and improving the design.
Keywords: usability, interface design, educational games, instruction of spatial reasoning
Omiya, Yasuyuki, "A Desktop Interface for Awareness of Remote Activity", supervised by Gail Hopkins (CS), pass mark
Not only awareness is one of the essential requirements in a personal level in a daily life, but also maintaining awareness in a group level at several situations is one of the important factors to succeed in collaborative activities in work communities. This project focuses on how a user could maintain awareness of other people’s activities in distant places, in considering the minimization of disturbance in the user's activities.
Articles and reports that are related to the subject, “workspace awareness” in groupware, are examined and evaluated further in this project; moreover, the most important findings from those articles and reports are highlighted in order to distinguish as they have been already researched prior to this project.
The actual software was not only designed based on those findings from the research, but also created based on other materials such as literatures and concepts that were related to the main subject, workspace awareness. The design of the software was integrated with an implementation and an evaluation from the information above.
It is concluded that the software was successfully integrated with awareness of other people’s remote activities, individual scheduling managements and negotiations to start collaborative activities with other people. This resulted in achieving a high level of satisfaction with the final version of the software from the final evaluation. This may be of an interest to researchers who study workspace awareness in the area of groupware.