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ItemAn Evaluation of Space-Filling Information Visualizations for Depicting Hierarchical Structures(Georgia Institute of Technology, 2000) Stasko, John T. ; Catrambone, Richard ; Guzdial, Mark ; McDonald, KevinA variety of information visualization tools have been developed recently, but relatively little effort has been made to evaluate the effectiveness and utility of the tools. This article describes results from two empirical studies of two visualization tools for depicting hierarchies, in particular, computer file and directory structures. The two systems examined implement space-filling methodologies, one rectangular, the Treemap method, and one circular, the Sunburst method. Participants performed typical file/directory search and analysis tasks using the two tools. In general, performance trends favored the Sunburst tool with respect to correct task performance, particularly on initial use. Performance with Treemap tended to improve over time and use, suggesting a greater learning cost that was partially recouped over time. Each tool afforded somewhat different search strategies, which also appeared to influence performance. Finally, participants strongly preferred the Sunburst tool, citing better ability to convey structure and hierarchy.
ItemFramework for Comparative Research on Relational Information Displays(Georgia Institute of Technology, 2006) Park, Sung Jun ; Catrambone, RichardWe identify critical issues in comparative research on relational information displays (RIDs). The key argument is that when conducting an analysis of the cognitive process of people viewing different displays, their perceptual processes must be held constant so that they do not affect the results. We propose that in order to help researchers more easily compare display types (e.g., graphs) for how effectively they convey information, two factors must be considered. First, each element (e.g., each bar in a bar graph) in graphs that are being compared has to be equally discriminable. Second, the number of elements in the graphs being compared has to be the same; the maximum number of elements is limited by from the graph that uses a presentation format (e.g., density) that has the fewest number of discriminable levels. We present a psychophysics experiment that identified differential discrimination thresholds for density levels.
ItemBe Quiet? Evaluating Proactive and Reactive User Interface Assistants(Georgia Institute of Technology, 2003) Xiao, Jun ; Catrambone, Richard ; Stasko, John T.This research examined the ability of an anthropomorphic interface assistant to help people learn and use an unfamiliar text-editing tool, with a specific focus on assessing proactive a ssistant behavior. Participants in the study were introduced to a text editing system that used keypress c ombinations for invoking the different editing operations. Participants then were directed to make a set of pre scribed changes to a document with the aid either of a paper manual, an interface assistant that would hear and respond to questions orally, or an assistant that responded to questions and additionally made proactive sug gestions. Anecdotal evidence suggested that proactive assistant behavior would not enhance performance and would be viewed as intrusive. Our results showed that all three conditions performed similarly on objecti ve editing performance (completion time, commands issued, and command recall), while the participants in the l atter two conditions strongly felt that the assistant's help was valuable.
ItemPML: Representing Procedural Domains for Multimedia Presentations(Georgia Institute of Technology, 1998) Ram, Ashwin ; Catrambone, Richard ; Guzdial, Mark ; Kehoe, Colleen Mary ; McCrickard, D. Scott ; Stasko, John T.A central issue in the development of multimedia systems is the presentation of the information to the user of the system and how to best represent that information to the designer of the system. Typically, the designers create a system in which content and presentation are inseparably linked; specific presentations and navigational aids are chosen for each piece of content and hard-coded into the system. We argue that the representation of content should be decoupled from the design of the presentation and navigational structure, both to facilitate modular system design and to permit the construction of dynamic multimedia systems that can determine appropriate presentations in a given situation on the fly. We propose a new markup language called PML (Procedural Markup Language) which allows the content to be represented in a flexible manner by specifying the knowledge structures, the underlying physical media, and the relationships between them using cognitive media roles. The PML description can then be translated into different presentations depending on such factors as the context, goals, presentation preferences, and expertise of the user.
ItemEvaluating Animation as a Mechanism for Maintaining Peripheral Awareness(Georgia Institute of Technology, 2000) McCrickard, D. Scott ; Stasko, John T. ; Catrambone, RichardAnimation is becoming increasingly used to communicate information within some limited viewing area. Little is known, however, about the effectiveness and the possible distractions of animation used in this way. This article describes an initial experiment exploring the information awareness and distraction capabilities of different styles of animation.
ItemInvestigating Multimedia Learning with Web Lectures(Georgia Institute of Technology, 2006) Day, Jason Allan ; Foley, James D. ; Catrambone, RichardNaturalistic research has shown that a web lecture intervention that includes multimedia lectures studied before class, short homework assignments, and in-class application activities can increase students' grades and satisfaction. The multimedia lectures, called web lectures, are a combination of video, audio, and PowerPoint streamed over the web. This experimental study was motivated by a desire to understand the contribution of web lectures themselves to the web lecture intervention's success. Educational multimedia design guidelines from Cognitive Load Theory (CLT) and the Cognitive Theory of Multimedia Learning (CTML) were used to evaluate and hypothesize about the learning efficacy of three information-equivalent-Video+Audio+PPT (web lecture), Audio+PPT, PPT+Transcript-and one information-nonequivalent-PPT-Only-educational presentation conditions. 60 randomly assigned participants studied the educational materials and completed a posttest and exit survey. Participants in the web lecture condition performed statistically significantly better on the posttest than all other conditions, and survey responses indicated that participants perceived the combination of modalities used by web lectures as more educationally effective than those used in the other conditions. This study verifies the educational contribution of web lectures to the web lecture intervention, web lectures' educational effectiveness as standalone learning objects, and the value-added of video for educational multimedia. These results were not completely in line with our hypothesis based on CLT and CTML, suggesting these theories' limited applicability for multimedia presentations with characteristics of those used in this study. Several possible factors that might account for the results inconsistent with CLT and CTML are identified, including the visibility of gesture in the video and the length and subject matter of the presentations.
ItemCollaborative research: institutionalizing a reform curriculum in large universities(Georgia Institute of Technology, 2011-01-04) Schatz, Michael F. ; Catrambone, Richard ; Marr, M. Jackson ; Georgia Institute of Technology. Office of Sponsored Programs ; Georgia Institute of Technology. School of Physics ; Georgia Institute of Technology. Office of Sponsored Programs
ItemDo Algorithm Animations Aid Learning?(Georgia Institute of Technology, 1996) Byrne, Michael Dwyer ; Catrambone, Richard ; Stasko, John T.Two experiments examined the general claim that animations can help students learn algorithms more effectively. Animations and instructions that explicitly required learners to predict the behavior of an algorithm were used during training. Post-test problems were designed to measure how well learners could predict algorithm behavior in new situations as well as measure learners' conceptual understanding of the algorithms. In Experiment 1, we found that when learners both viewed an animation and made predictions, their performance on novel problems improved comapred to a control group's, but the effects of the two manipulations were not distinguishable. In Experiment 2, no effect was found for conceptual measures of learning, but a marginally reliable effect similar to the one seen in Experiment 1 was found for procedural problems. The results from the two experiments suggest that the benefits of animations are not obvious and that in order to determine whether animations can truly aid understanding, teachers and researchers should consider a careful task analysis ahead of time to determine the specific pieces of knowledge that an animation can help a learner acquire and/or practice.
ItemAnthropomorphic Agents as a UI Paradigm: Experimental Findings and a Framework for Research(Georgia Institute of Technology, 2002) Catrambone, Richard ; Stasko, John T. ; Xiao, JunResearch on anthropomorphic agent interfaces has produced widely divergent results. We suggest that this is due to insufficient consideration of key factors that influence the perception and effectiveness of agent-based interfaces. Thus, we propose a framework for studying anthropomorphic agents that can systematize the research. The framework emphasizes features of the agent, the user, and the task the user is performing. Our initial experiment within this framework manipulated the agent's appearance (lifelike versus iconic) and the nature of the user's task (carrying out procedures versus providing opinions). We found that the perception of the agent was strongly influenced by the task while features of the agent that we manipulated had little effect.
ItemAn Empirical Study of the Effect of Agent Competence on User Performance and Perception(Georgia Institute of Technology, 2004) Catrambone, Richard ; Stasko, John T. ; Xiao, JunWe studied the role of the competence of a user interface agent/assistant that helped users to learn and use a new text editor. Participants in the study made a set of prescribed changes to a document via the editor with the aid of one of four interface agents. Participants could ask questions out loud to the agent and the agent would respond using a synthesized voice; the agent would also make proactive suggestions. The agents varied in the quality of responses and suggestions made. One group of participants were provided with a help screen as well as the agent. We focused on assessing the relation between users' objective performance, interaction style, and subjective experience. Results revealed that the perceived utility of the agent was influenced by the types of errors made by the agent, while participants' subjective impressions of the agent related to the perceptions of its representation. In addition, allowing participants to choose their preferred assistance style(s) (agent vs. online-help) improved objective performance. We correlate quantitative findings with qualitative interview data and discuss implications for the design and the implementation of systems with interface agents.