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A Comparative Analysis of Style of User Interface Look and Feel in a Synchronous Computer Supported Cooperative Work Environment

Description: The purpose of this study is to determine whether the style of a user interface (i.e., its look and feel) has an effect on the usability of a synchronous computer supported cooperative work (CSCW) environment for delivering Internet-based collaborative content. The problem motivating this study is that people who are located in different places need to be able to communicate with one another. One way to do this is by using complex computer tools that allow users to share information, documents, programs, etc. As an increasing number of business organizations require workers to use these types of complex communication tools, it is important to determine how users regard these types of tools and whether they are perceived to be useful. If a tool, or interface, is not perceived to be useful then it is often not used, or used ineffectively. As organizations strive to improve communication with and among users by providing more Internet-based collaborative environments, the users' experience in this form of delivery may be tied to a style of user interface look and feel that could negatively affect their overall acceptance and satisfaction of the collaborative environment. The significance of this study is that it applies the technology acceptance model (TAM) as a tool for evaluating style of user interface look and feel in a collaborative environment, and attempts to predict which factors of that model, perceived ease of use and/or perceived usefulness, could lead to better acceptance of collaborative tools within an organization.
Date: May 2005
Creator: Livingston, Alan
Partner: UNT Libraries

Supporting Computer-Mediated Collaboration through User Customized Agents

Description: This research investigated a neglected problem - interruption of groups by agent advisory systems. The question was whether interruption by the agent advisory system was beneficial. A survey of literature in four areas is included in this dissertation. The areas surveyed were Agents, Online Help, Computer Supported Cooperative Work(CSCW) and Awareness in CSCW. Based on the review, a human subject experiment was conducted. The study investigated whether the style of agent advisory interface improved the performance of group members. There were three sets of groups, a control set that did not have advisory agents, a set that had system provided advisory agents and a set that had group customized advisory agents. The groups worked together using a CSCW application developed with GroupKit, a CSCW toolkit. The groups with group customized advisory agents used an Agent Manager application to define advisory agents that would give them advice as they worked in the CSCW application. The findings showed that the type of advisory agents did not significantly influence the performance of the groups. The groups with customized agents performed slightly better than the other groups but the difference was not statistically significant. When notified that advice was issued, groups with customized agents and groups with provided agents seldom accessed the agent's advice. General design guidelines for agent interruption have not been solved. Future work is needed to finish the job. The definitive solution may be some mixture of the three known individual design solutions.
Date: December 2001
Creator: Ducksworth, Letatia Bright
Partner: UNT Libraries