Human-Computer Interaction: Communication, Cooperation, and Application Design

By Hans-Jörg Bullinger; Jürgen Ziegler | Go to book overview

Performance Support for the Next Millennium: A Model for Rapidly Changing Technologies in a Global Economy
Gary J. Dickelman*, Ashok Banerji, Ph.D.*** GURU, Inc., ** Singapore PolytechnicConsumers of popular desktop software have been amused, appalled, occasionally assisted, but most likely infuriated by a help file, the Planning Wizard, the Office Assistant, or similar intervention. These are manifestations of years of developments in computing where the ultimate objective is the elusive system that is easy to use. Learning technologists, human factors engineers and others have been focused on creating the precise support that a user (performer) needs at just the right time. A significant gap always exists between software features and our ability to harness them. Those responsible for developing the core applications and the support elements share a common goal of providing ease-of-use, but opinions and techniques for achieving the goal vary widely.In 1989 Gloria Gery coined the phrase Performance Support to address goal. While definitions vary, it is widely agreed that Performance Support Systems:
enable people to perform tasks quickly because they provide integrated task structuring, data, knowledge and tools at the time of need;
do not tax the performer's memory, nor do they require performers to manipulate too many variables; and
enable task completion with learning as a secondary consequence.

We will review a collection of performance support models, then abstract the kernel for a new model. The new unified model will serve many stakeholders and stand the test of technological challenges in the global business environment of the new millenium.


1 Models of Performance Support

A number of models of Performance Support have emerged since 19891, all of which address some attributes of the performance problem space. They include

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1
We have inferred the nature of these models from project experience, case studies, informal discussions, and the literature of the respective disciplines that comprise the Performance Support community.

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