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

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

shows how the interact has provided a useful tool for a community organization to communicate with various officials and its constituency in planning issues through the setting up of on-line discussion groups. The internet has provided access to public information repositories, and in particular, access to public reports and up to date information. It has provided access to real-time information sources such as web pages showing traffic congestion (apparently one of the more popular web pages at Microsoft in Seattle). IT has also provided better visualization of urban developments. Some large cities, such as Geneva, have public information kiosks that offer the ability to manipulate spatial data to the wider public, provided by basic Geographical Information Systems (GIS) functionality. Networked GIS are being developed to enable citizens to take an active role in the planning process, known as PPGIS (Public Participation GIS), although still in their early stages ( Jankowski 1998, Sarjakoski, 1998).

But the use of IT in facilitating public participation also has its problems. Outstanding usability issues do not make the technology as accessible as it could be and can result in alienating sections of the community, such as the elderly. Further, the visualizations provided by current IT systems have their limitations in communicating designs ( Dupagne and Teller, 1998, Perron, 1998).


3 The Paper User Interface (UI)

The Paper UI provides a means of interacting with a software application through a structured paper form. It requires a multi-function device (a device that can copy, print, scan and fax) running software that is capable of processing the structured form, the Xerox PaperWare® toolkit ( Xerox, 1998). The form consists of an identifier (a Xerox DataGlyphTM) and a set of pre-defined graphical objects, such as checkboxes for selection and text areas for free text entry. The user marks the form and passes it through a multi-function device. Software on the device recognizes the form identifier and invokes the appropriate application. The application ,,reads" the form and acts accordingly, which commonly involves printing out a document or another form.

The advantage of the Paper UI is that it provides an easy, lightweight way of interacting with a software application. Great gains have been made using IT to support public participation in urban development. The Paper UI provides another way of facilitating participation by enabling paper to be used as an interface medium. It complements the on-line approach but also synthesizes with the digital world, enabling paper and on-line applications to be used in conjunction.

The Paper UI provides the user with the ability to interact with an application using two particular interface features: making a selection on paper and entering written information on paper. Many applications can be constructed that

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