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Kulwinder Kaur <[log in to unmask]>
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Kulwinder Kaur <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 12 Apr 1999 16:56:59 +0100
TEXT/PLAIN (81 lines)
I would like to take this opportunity to inform the VE and HCI communities
of the completion and availability of my Ph.D. thesis on 'Designing
virtual environments for usability'.  The thesis involved the development
of user interface design guidelines for virtual environments (VEs), using
interaction modelling as a theoretical base.  A prototype tool was
developed to present the guidelines to designers.  The structure of the
thesis is given below.

The thesis was completed June 1998 and chapters can be downloaded from:
The thesis will also be shortly available from City University library and
the British library.  Some of the work has been published and papers are
available at the above web address.  The prototype tool, which presents a
subset of the guidelines, can also be viewed at this address.

Thesis structure
Chapter 1 - Introduction to the problem of interface design and usability
for VEs.

Chapter 2 - Existing research on the design of VEs, how users interact
with VEs, and models and guidance for conventional human-computer

Chapter 3 - Studies carried out to assess the need for interface design
guidance for VEs.  In particular, an evaluation of a VE in use which
highlights major usability problems, and structured interviews of VE
designers which show they lack a coherent approach to interaction design
and usability.

Chapter 4 - A theory of interaction behaviour in VEs, consisting of modes
of interaction (task-based, exploratory and reactive) and stages of
interaction.  From this, generic design requirements for usability and
relevant elements of user knowledge are derived.  Correspondence rules
link these components and predict the conditions under which usability
problems are likely.

Chapter 5 - Empirical work carried out to test the theory.  A study of
interaction, using protocol analysis, provides data on observed user
behaviour, which is compared with that predicted in the models.  Data on
usability problems encountered is compared with predictions made using the
correspondence rules.  A controlled study is used to test the impact of
the theory on interaction success, by comparing usability with and without
implementation of the predicted design requirements.  Finally, the logic
of the correspondence rules is tested through a partial computational
implementation.  The evaluation work provides general support for the
theory components and results are used to refine and improve the theory.

Chapter 6 - Word towards design guidance.  The predicted usability
requirements are translated into concrete guidelines and a hypertext tool
is designed to present the guidelines.  A partial implementation of the
tool is evaluated by expert VE designers and results indicate the
guidelines and tool can support designers in considering usability issues
when developing VEs.

Chapter 7 - The research contributes by providing an improved
understanding of interaction in VEs and delivers usability design
guidance.  Future directions include further work on VE interaction,
completion of the guidance tool for designers, and work on methods for
evaluating VEs.

Supervisors were Professor Alistair Sutcliffe and Dr Neil Maiden, at City
University, London.  The funding body was The Engineering and Physical
Sciences Research Council.



Dr Kulwinder Kaur Deol
Researcher/Consultant - Virtual Environments & Usability

Centre for Human-Computer Interface Design
City University, Northampton Square, London EC1V 0HB
Tel: 0171 477 8418   Fax: 0171 477 8859
email: [log in to unmask]