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An experimental study of the man-machine interface

In this thesis, the author pursued two objectives. The first objective was to present a working example of a convenient, "idiot-proof", interactive computer program (designed with the user - not the programmer - in mind). The second objective was to investigate how various types of users interact with the computer, with the intention of reaching some conclusions about which program interfaces were most appropriate and convenient for various user types. In addition, some theories about the effects of various behavioural variables were investigated.
The experimental tool used for this research was a simple interactive computer game in which the participants searched for the optimum profit in a three-dimensional space, given a fixed time limit. , Frequent periodic measurements were automatically collected on user performance, attitude, requests for reports, utilization of special features, and other variables; also, the solution protocol of each participant was recorded. The users were cateqorized by coqnitive style (heuristic/analytic), risk attitude, and previous computer experience as determined by a battery of pre-tests and questionnaires.
In analyzinq the results, it was found that experience level was the dcminatinq factor on all dimensions: novices were slower, finished less frequently, and were siqnificantly less confident than experienced players. A hiqhly structured proqram interface was found to be more appropriate for these new users., Experience was also the dominating factor in the use of reports, although novices did show a marked learning effect over time - as did all users on most dimensions of performance and behaviour. As previously hypothesized, analytic-types and risk-takers played significantly faster and were more confident than heuristic-types and risk-averters, respectively.
Concerning utilization of special program features, it was found that input response defaults influenced users in unfamiliar situations (ones which were new or did not have clear-cut responses), and didn't affect them at all in familiar circumstances. Analytic-types made least use of defaults. Bisk-averters were least likely to abbreviate commands. Also, the extent to which commands were abbreviated depended much upon their length, Finally, in the area of solution protocols, it was indeed found that heuristic-types were much less structured in their approach to solving the problem than analytic-types. . / Business, Sauder School of / Graduate
Date January 1978
CreatorsMasulis, Paul Stanton
Source SetsUniversity of British Columbia
Detected LanguageEnglish
TypeText, Thesis/Dissertation
RightsFor non-commercial purposes only, such as research, private study and education. Additional conditions apply, see Terms of Use

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