PhD Candidate, University College London
My research looks at how users look up information from various sources as part of data entry work.
Think back to the last time you came back from a conference. You probably saved all your receipts from the trip, and had to enter them into a computer-based accounting system to claim back your expenses. You probably started out by entering the items and prices into the system. Maybe you needed to open a website to convert prices from one currency to another. After entering the receipts, you might then have needed to enter your bank details. This might require a further forage for this information from an online banking system. After this, entering the correct budget code might require further searching through old emails to find the correct information. Throughout this scenario, how many times have you interrupted the data entry task to go and look up relevant information? Alternatively, you might have gathered all the required information beforehand, to not have to interrupt the data entry task. Maybe, you entered information you knew first, and left the items you had to spend time looking up until the end? Whatever way you chose to complete this task, it involved making decisions as to when to gather relevant information to enter it into the computing system.
People often have to go in and out of applications, documents and even physical locations during routine data entry work, which can be disruptive and increases likelihood of errors. It is challenging for users to organise and manage their information in a structured way.
My research is concerned with how people in finance offices collect and organise information as part of their data entry work. I have conducted two field studies interviewing employees and observing them doing their work. This showed that people carefully plan and organise their paper sources, such as receipts. Digital sources, such as Excel spreadsheets, were fetched in an unplanned and reactive manner as and when they were needed. I then conducted three experiments to see how time costs to collect information influences people's strategies. This showed that people group items that have a similar costs together, rather than finishing one data entry task. The consequence is that people collect and enter all easy-to-find items first, even if that means interleaving between tasks.
For the final part of my PhD, I plan to design a prototype to better support people in their information needs, and evaluate these with end users.
Abstract: Nurses frequently have to program infusion pumps to deliver a prescribed quantity of drug over time. Occasional errors are made in the performance of this routine number entry task, resulting in patients receiving the incorrect dose of a drug. While many of these number entry errors are inconsequential, others are not; infusing 100 ml of a drug instead of 10 ml can be fatal. This paper investigates whether a supplementary graphical number representation, depicting the magnitude of a number, can help people detect number entry errors. An experiment was conducted in which 48 participants had to enter numbers from a ‘prescription sheet’ to a computer interface using a keyboard. The graphical representation was supplementary and was shown both on the ‘prescription sheet’ and the device interface. Results show that while overall more errors were made when the graphical representation was visible, the graphical representation helped participants to detect larger number entry errors (i.e., those that were out by at least an order of magnitude). This work suggests that a graphical number entry system that visualizes magnitude of number can help people detect serious number entry errors.
Pub.: 27 Oct '15, Pinned: 25 Aug '17
Abstract: Link-shortening services save space and make the manual entry of URLs less onerous. Short links are often included on printed materials so that people using mobile devices can quickly enter URLs. Although mobile transcription is a common use-case, link-shortening services generate output that is poorly suited to entry on mobile devices: links often contain numbers and capital letters that require time consuming mode switches on touch screen keyboards. With the aid of computational modeling, we identified problems with the output of a link-shortening service, bit.ly. Based on the results of this modeling, we hypothesized that longer links that are optimized for input on mobile keyboards would improve link entry speeds compared to shorter links that required keyboard mode switches. We conducted a human performance study that confirmed this hypothesis. Finally, we applied our method to a selection of different non-word mobile data-entry tasks. This work illustrates the need for service design to fit the constraints of the devices people use to consume services.
Pub.: 28 Jul '16, Pinned: 25 Aug '17
Abstract: Conventions are necessary to establish in any recurrentcooperative arrangement. In electronic work, they are importantso as to regulate the use of shared objects. Based on empiricalresults from a long-term study of a group cooperating inelectronic work, I present examples showing that the group failedto develop normative convention behavior. These difficulties informing conventions can be attributed to a long list of factors:the lack of clear precedents, different perspectives among groupmembers, a flexible cooperation media, limited communication, thedesign process, and discontinuous cooperation. Further, I arguethat commitments to the conventions were difficult, due to theconventions not reaching an acceptance threshold, uneven payoffs,and weak social influences. The empirical results call for aspecific set of awareness information requirements to promoteactive learning about the group activity in order to support thearticulation of conventions. The requirements focus on the roleof feedback as a powerful mechanism for shaping and learningabout group behavior.
Pub.: 01 Sep '02, Pinned: 22 Jun '17