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Evaluating performance for procurement: A structured method for assessing the usability of future speech interfaces

Martin Andrew, Cruickshank Life; (1991) Evaluating performance for procurement: A structured method for assessing the usability of future speech interfaces. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

Procurement is a process by which organizations acquire equipment to enhance the effectiveness of their operations. Equipment will only enhance effectiveness if it is usable for its purpose in the work environment, i.e. if it enables tasks to be performed to the desired quality with acceptable costs to those who operate it. Procurement presents a requirement, then, for evaluations of the performance of human-machine work systems. This thesis is concerned with the provision of information to support procurers in performing such evaluations. The Ministry of Defence (an equipment procurer) has presented a particular requirement for a means of assessing the usability of speech interfaces in the establishment of the feasibility of computerized battlefield work systems. A structured method was developed to meet this requirement, the scope, notation and process of which sought to be explicit and proceduralized. The scope was specified in terms of a conceptualization of human-computer interaction: the method supported the development of representations of the task, device and user, which could be implemented as simulations and used in empirical evaluations of system performance. Notations for representations were proposed, and procedures enabling the use of the notations. The specification and implementation of the four sub-methods is described, and subsequent enhancement in the context of evaluations of speech interfaces for battlefield observation tasks. The complete method is presented. An evaluation of the method was finally performed with respect to the quality of the assessment output and costs to the assessor. The results suggested that the method facilitated systematic assessment, although some inadequacies were identified in the expression of diagnostic information which was recruited by the procedures, and in some of the procedures themselves. The research offers support for the use of structured human factors evaluation methods in procurement. Qualifications relate to the appropriate expression of knowledge of device-user interaction, and to the conflict between requirements for flexibility and low-level proceduralization.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Evaluating performance for procurement: A structured method for assessing the usability of future speech interfaces
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10121658
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