Pip Laurenson, Allan MacLean, Tom Moran
Xerox Technical Report
This report consists of two short papers. They address the importance of explicitly asking good QOC
Questions to help structure the design space in a coherent way and to help explore the design space.
Computing technologies are commonly employed as their users discuss either the task at hand or unrelated
matters with co-present colleagues, clients, customers or other individuals. As yet, however, there is relatively
little research concerning the relationship between system use and interpersonal communication in such
environments. Research in HCI has largely been confined to a single user carrying out tasks on a personal
workstation. Moreover, those studies which have focused on the use of systems within socio-interactional
environments have been primarily concerned with using the conversations of the participants as a resource for
analysing human-computer interactions. As such, they have shed little light on the ways in which system use
and communicative conduct may be coordinated and shaped by reference to each other more extensively.
The first paper is an extended abstract which outlines the issues in a general way. The second works through
a more detailed example derived from studies of designers redesigning the user interface for a bank ATM. The
papers point out features of Questions (and the structure of associated Options) which help characterise the
coherent representation of a design space. Such considerations should help designers understand the problem
better and therefore produce more effective solutions and should ultimately make key issues in the design
space more salient for those who have to understand the design later. One implication which emerges
particularly strongly from considering how one goes about creating a good QOC representation is that it evolves
over time and requires continual refinement and restructuring.
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