Project: ALIAS 94 — Improving the Fluency of Work Through Transparent Interface Designs

Partner: Alias Research Inc.
Dates: August 1994 - December 1995
Participants: Vicente, K. J., Harrison, B
Collaborator: Bill Buxton, Gordon Kurtenbach, and Jonathan Shekter, Alias | Wavefront Inc.
Description: The purpose of this research was to improve the fluency of work by introducing "see-through" or semi-transparent user interface objects such as windows, icons, tool palettes, etc. This particular project consisted of controlled laboratory experiments which evaluated divided and focused attention and visual interference issues in semi-transparent interface designs. To this end, a series of experiments were conducted which introduced progressively more realistic task elements taken from the target task domain. The results of these experiments were subsequently used to inform our design choices within selected industrial applications, in particular, 3-D modeling, animation, and painting applications. A case study of transparent user interface objects in a working application was completed. The results of these studies indicate that transparency can improve performance, but that several obstacles must be overcome before this technology can be introduced effectively into commercial products.
Publications:

View PDF Harrison, B.L., & Vicente, K.J. (1995). An experimental evaluation of transparent menu usage. (CEL 95-07). University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada.

View PDF Harrison, B.L., Hiroshi, I., Vicente, K.J., & Buxton, B. (1994). Evaluation of a display design space: Transparent layered user interfaces. (CEL 94-07). University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada.

View PDF Harrison, B.L. (1997). The design and evaluation of transparent user interfaces: From theory to practice. (CEL 96-10). Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada

View PDF Harrison, B. L., & Vicente, K. J., "A case study of transparent user interfaces in a commercial 3-d modeling and paint application," Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society 40th Annual Meeting, pp. 375-379, 1996.

Harrison, B. L., and Vicente, K. J., "An experimental evaluation of transparent menu usage," Human Factors in Computing Systems: CHI 96 Conference Proceedings, pp. 391-398, 1996.

Harrison, B. L., Kurtenbach, G., and Vicente, K. J., "An experimental evaluation of transparent user interface tools and information content," Proceedings of the ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology, pp. 81-90, 1995.

Harrison, B. L., Ishii, H., Vicente, K. J., and Buxton, W. A. S., "Transparent layered user interfaces: An evaluation of a display design to enhance focused and divided attention," Human Factors in Computing Systems: CHI '95 Conference Proceedings, pp. 317-324, 1995.

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