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UBC Theses and Dissertations

A representational basis for human-computer interaction Po, Barry Alan


Mental representations form a useful theoretical framework for understanding the integration, separation and mediation of visual perception and motor action from a computational perspective. In the study of human-computer interaction (HCI), knowledge of mental representations could be used to improve the design and evaluation of graphical user interfaces (GUIs) and interactive systems. This thesis presents a representational approach to the study of user performance and shows how the use of mental representations for perception and action complements existing information processing frameworks in HCI. Three major representational theories are highlighted as evidence supporting this approach: (1) the phenomenon of stimulus-response compatibility is examined in relation to directional cursor cues for GUI interaction with mice, pointers, and pens; (2) the functional specialization of the upper and lower visual fields is explored with respect to mouse and touchscreen item selection; (3) the two-visual systems hypothesis is studied in the context of distal pointing and visual feedback for large-screen interaction. User interface design guidelines based on each of these representational themes are provided and the broader implications of a representational approach to HCI are discussed with reference to the design and evaluation of interfaces for time- and safety-critical systems, interaction with computer graphics, information visualization, and computer-supported cooperative work.

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