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Enhancing the usability of a task analysis method: a notation and environment for requirements specification.

Ormerod, TC, Richardson, J and Shepherd, A (1998) Enhancing the usability of a task analysis method: a notation and environment for requirements specification. Ergonomics, 41 (11). pp. 1642-1663.

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This paper presents a notation and computer-based tool for the Sub-Goal Template (SGT) method, a task-analytic approach to specifying information requirements. In particular, it focuses upon the ergonomic redesign of a notation used in the SGT method for specifying contingent sequences in operators' tasks. Two experiments are reported in which two notations for redescribing sequences that involve making a choice between task alternatives are compared: a disjunctive form (Either ... or ...)-used in the original SGT scheme, and a conditional form with a redundant negative (If ... then ... if not ...), which has been promoted as a notation for capturing procedural sequences in computer programming. In experiment 1, performance with the conditional notation was better than with the disjunctive notation for redescribing simple and moderately complex task plans, although there was no difference for the most complex task plans. In experiment 2, a computer environment for specifying task plans using the SGT method was compared with a paper-based equivalent. In general, the computer environment was found to be easier to use and led to greater accuracy in plan redescription, although it was slower perhaps as a result of the constraints that it placed on participants. This paper argues for the necessity of ergonomic design in developing notations and tools to support task analysis methods.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Surrey research (other units)
Authors :
Richardson, J
Shepherd, A
Date : November 1998
DOI : 10.1080/001401398186117
Uncontrolled Keywords : Computers, Humans, Semantics, Software Design, Task Performance and Analysis
Related URLs :
Depositing User : Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited : 17 May 2017 10:05
Last Modified : 24 Jan 2020 18:26

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