International Journal of Human-Computer Interaction
Special Issue: HCI Studies in Management Information Systems
Vol. 19, No. 1, 2002


Guest Editors

Fiona Fui-Hoon Nah, University of Nebraska, Lincoln
Ping Zhang, Syracuse University
Scott McCoy, College of William and Mary

Background

Human-computer interaction (HCI) is an important area of research and practice that cuts across several disciplines including Industrial Engineering, Management Information Systems (MIS), Computer Science, Information Science, Psychology, Sociology, and Anthropology. HCI research within the MIS discipline has some distinct features, which are related to the evolution and current state of the MIS discipline. MIS started as applied Computer Science in the 1970s and gradually developed into a more social science oriented discipline (Baskerville & Myers, 2002). MIS is broadly defined as "the effective design, delivery and use of information systems in organizations" (Keen, 1980). The two distinguishing features of MIS from other ‘homes’ of HCI are its business-application and management orientations (Zhang, Nah, & Preece, 2004). HCI is an important area of research that is gaining increasing attention in MIS (Zhang, Benbasat, Carey, Davis, Galletta, & Strong, 2002). In general, HCI researchers in the MIS discipline are more interested in studying and understanding the ways humans interact with information, technologies, and tasks in the business, managerial, and organizational contexts (Zhang et al., 2002). Hence, the focus lies in understanding the relationships and interactions between people (e.g., management, users, implementers, designers, developers, senior executives, and vendors), tasks, contexts, information, and technology.

The Association for Information Systems (AIS) is the premier global organization for academics specializing in Management Information Systems. A Special Interest Group on Human-Computer Interaction (SIGHCI) was founded in 2001 by Ping Zhang from Syracuse University and Fiona Fui-Hoon Nah from University of Nebraska-Lincoln. AIS SIGHCI provides a forum for AIS members to discuss, develop, and promote a range of issues related to the history, reference disciplines, theories, practice, methodologies and techniques, new developments, and applications of the interaction between humans, information, technologies, and tasks, especially in the business, managerial, organizational, and cultural contexts. The mission of AIS SIGHCI is twofold: to facilitate the exchange, development, communication, and dissemination of information among AIS members, and to promote research related to human-computer interaction within business, managerial, and organizational contexts among AIS members and to the larger community of practitioners and scholars (Zhang, 2004).

Since AIS SIGHCI’s inception, HCI has become a common theme in major MIS conferences, as demonstrated by the successful HCI mini-tracks/tracks at the Americas Conferences on Information Systems in August and the HCI workshops held prior to the International Conferences on Information Systems in December each year. These meetings have yielded a number of special issues in top MIS and HCI journals, including International Journal of Human-Computer Studies (Volume 59, Issue 4, October 2003), Journal of Association for Information Systems (January and March, 2004), Behaviour and Information Technology (Volume 23, Issue 3, May-June, 2004), and Journal of Management Information Systems (forthcoming in 2005).

These special issues represent AIS SIGHCI’s continued outreach efforts to establish dialogues, synergies, and connections with the HCI communities across various disciplines. Additional recent efforts of AIS SIGHCI include organizing two “HCI in MIS” sessions at the 2005 HCI International Conference and participating in the ‘User Experience’ development consortium at the CHI 2005 conference (Galletta, Zhang, & Nah, 2005). Given the shared HCI interests, concerns, and goals among various disciplines (Zhang & Dillon, 2003), we believe that HCI interest groups from various disciplines need to carry out more dialogue exchanges with each other to share their multifaceted perspectives and facilitate cross-fertilization of ideas. We envision that the HCI field as a whole can benefit from such collaborations and dialogues, and establish greater synergies by working together. We hope this special issue will help to achieve the above goals by facilitating greater collaborations between SIGHCI and various international HCI communities.

This IJHCI special issue is the 4th journal special issue sponsored by AIS SIGHCI.

Papers in the Special Issue

Visualizing E-Brand Personality: Exploratory Studies on Visual Attributes and E-Brand Personalities in Korea
Su-e Park, Dongsung Choi, and Jinwoo Kim

The brand personality of an online product and service, usually represented by a web site, is known as its e-brand personality. Although, in the competitive conditions of online markets, e-brand personality is agreed to be an important factor in securing distinctive identity, few studies have suggested how to establish e-brand personality through the visual design of web sites. This study explores the feasibility of constructing target e-brand personalities for online services by using visual attributes. It consists of three consecutive studies. The first identifies four major dimensions of e-brand personality on diverse web sites. The second uses 52 experimental home pages to identify key visual attributes associated with those four personality dimensions. The third is to explore whether those findings from the second study can be applied in constructing websites for online services. The results show that two visual attributes, simplicity and cohesion, are closely related to a bold personality. Three attributes, contrast, density, and regularity, can be used to create a web site that has an analytical personality. Contrast, cohesion, density, and regularity are closely related to a web site that is perceived to have a friendly personality. Regularity and balance were expected to be related to the sophisticated personality dimension, but no such relation was identified in our third study. The paper concludes with a discussion of implications, limitations, and future research directions.

 

The Enhanced Restricted Focus Viewer
Peter Tarasewich, Marc Pomplun, Stephanie Fillion, and Daniel Broberg

The Enhanced Restricted Focus Viewer (ERFV) is a unique software tool for tracking the visual attention of users in hyperlinked environments such as Web sites. The software collects data such as mouse clicks along with the path of the user’s visual attention as they browse a site. Unlike traditional eye-tracking procedures, the ERFV requires no hardware to operate other than a personal computer. In addition to cost and time savings, the ERFV also allows the administration of usability testing to groups of subjects simultaneously. A laboratory test comparing the ERFV to a hardware-based eye-tracking system showed that the two methods compare favorably in terms of how well they track a user’s visual attention. The usefulness of the ERFV as a usability testing tool was demonstrated through an experiment that evaluated two Web sites that were equivalent in content but differed in terms of design. While several open issues concerning the ERFV still remain, some of these issues are being addressed through ongoing research efforts.

 

Issues in Building Multi-User Interfaces
V. Srinivasan Rao, Wai-Lan Luk, and John Warren

The proliferation of interest in collaborative computer applications in the past decade has resulted in a corresponding increase in the interest in multi-user interfaces. The current research seeks to contribute to an understanding of the process of developing user models for group interaction, and to the design and implementation of multi-user interfaces based on the model. We use group ranking as an exemplar task. User requirements were identified, by observing groups perform the ranking task in a non-computer environment. A design was proposed based on the identified requirements and a prototype implemented. Feedback from informal user evaluation of the implemented interface is reported. Insights on the methodology are discussed.

 

Online Consumer Trust and Live Help Interfaces: The Effects of Text-to-Speech Voice and 3D Avatars
Lingyun Qiu and Izak Benbasat

With the increasing prevalence of online shopping, many companies have begun to provide Live Help functions, through instant messaging or text chatting, on their websites to facilitate interactions between online consumers and customer service representatives (CSRs). The continuing reliance of these functions on text-based communication limits non-verbal communication with consumers and the social contexts for the information conveyed, but with the help of emerging multimedia technologies, companies can now use computer-generated voice and humanoid avatars to embody CSRs, thus enriching the interactive experiences of their customers.

In this study, a laboratory experiment was conducted to empirically test the effects of Text-To-Speech (TTS) voice and 3D avatars on consumer trust towards CSRs. TTS voice was implemented to deliver answers aloud. A 3D avatar served as the humanoid representation of a CSR. The results demonstrate that the presence of TTS voice significantly increases consumers’ cognitive and emotional trust toward the CSR. These findings offer practitioners guidelines to improve the interface design of real time human-to-human communications for e-commerce websites.

 

An Empirical Examination of the Effects of Web Personalization at Different Stages of Decision-Making
Shuk Ying HO and Kar Yan TAM

Personalization agents are incorporated in many websites to tailor content and interfaces for individual users. But in contrast to the proliferation of personalized web services worldwide, empirical research on the effects of web personalization is scant. How does exposure to personalized offers affect subsequent product consideration and choice outcome? Drawing on literature in human computer interaction (HCI) and user behavior, this research examines the effect of three major elements of web personalization strategies on users’ information processing through different decision-making stages: personalized content quality, feature overlapping among alternatives, and personalized message framing. These elements can be manipulated by a firm in implementing its personalization strategy. A study using a personalized ring-tone download website was conducted. The findings provide empirical evidence of the effects of web personalization. In particular, when users are forming their consideration sets, the agents can play a role in helping users discover new products and/or generate demand for unfamiliar products. Once a decision has been made, however, the personalization agent’s persuasive effects diminish. Our results establish that the role of personalization agents changes at different stages of users’ decision-making process.


Beyond Perceptions and Usage: Impact of Nature of IS Use on IS-enabled Productivity
Vikas Jain and Shivraj Kanungo

Assessing individual performance impacts from information system (IS) use has been a key area of concern for IS researchers for many years. However, past studies have reported mixed results about the relationship between information system use and performance impacts at the individual level. The research reported in this paper has two primary objectives: (1) to propose a model of individual IS-enabled productivity that focuses not only on the usage of information systems but also the nature of this usage, and (2) to empirically test the model across two IS applications. The key premise in this research is that IS use is necessary but not sufficient to observe productivity gains and that nature of IS use potentially mediates the relationship between IS use and IS-enabled productivity. We validate our research model through a survey of 486 individuals across six organizations. Results from this study confirm the proposition that the nature of IS use is as important as the duration of use of an information system as a determinant of IS-enabled productivity. Based on our findings, we provide theoretical and managerial implications of the relationship between IS-enabled productivity and IS use.


Role of Human Computer Interaction (HCI) Factors as Moderators of Occupational Stress and Work Exhaustion
K.S. Rajeswari and R. N. Anantharaman

Software professionals perform boundary-spanning activities and hence need strong interpersonal, technical and organizational knowledge to be professionally competent. They have to perform in a demanding work environment that is characterized by strict deadlines, differing time zones, interdependency in teams, increased interaction with clients and extended work hours. These characteristics lead to occupational stress and work exhaustion. Yet, the impact of stress is felt in different ways by different people even if they perform the same functions. These differences in the perception of stress can be due to varying confidence in their technical capabilities. Individuals possess varying technical capabilities based on their acquisition of technical skills, comfort level in using the technology and intrinsic motivation. These attributes represent the HCI personality of software professionals. It is therefore the focus of this paper to examine, if these HCI factors moderate the relationship between occupational stress and work exhaustion. Data was collected from software professionals located in Chennai and Bangalore in India. Data revealed that HCI factors have main effect on work exhaustion, but does not have moderating effects on work exhaustion. Control over technology variable emerged as the key variable among the HCI factors that affects software professionals’ ability to cope with stress and work exhaustion.

Acknowledgements

The guest editors are grateful to the editors-in-chief for their strong support and encouragement to bring the idea of editing a special issue on ‘HCI studies in MIS’ to fruition. The guest editors also thank the following reviewers who have not only played an important role in quality control during the entire review process but have also contributed to the development of the manuscripts included in this special issue: Ranida Boothanom, Xiaowen Fang, Holtjona Galanxhi, Dennis Galletta, Jane Gravill, Traci Hess, Andrea Houston, Richard Johnson, Brian Jones, Jinwoo Kim, Barbara Klein, Kevin Kuan, Dahui Li, Na Li, Nancy Lightner, Eleanor Loiacono, Tom Roberts, Sharath Sasidh, Tom Stafford, Heshan Sun, Dov Te’eni, Raul Trejo, G.J. Vreede, Sidne Ward, John Wells, and Mun Yi.

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