טכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל
הטכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל - בית הספר ללימודי מוסמכים  
M.Sc Thesis
M.Sc StudentGuy Shani
SubjectMitigating the Detrimental Effect of Menus and Wizards on
the Use of Programming Interfaces: Observational
Learning within the Wider Context
DepartmentDepartment of Industrial Engineering and Management
Supervisor Professor Emeritus Gopher Daniel
Full Thesis textFull thesis text - English Version


Abstract

Most users of computer applications initially encounter a “Wizard” or “Menu” type interface, while the more powerful and efficient “Command” type text driven interface lies unused or even feared. Command type interfaces rely on knowledge of syntax and command names; skills that are irrelevant to the use of a Wizard type interface. Low skill interdependency between these two interface types may block users proficient in the use of a menu type interface, from transferring to a command type interface, even at the cost of reduced efficiency. An augmentation of a typical Menu and Wizard type interface was proposed, where users were required to interact with command names and syntax via observational learning within this wider task context, a context relevant to the command type interface. Implementing such an interface approach as a training environment, users may reap the benefits of the easier Menu and Wizard type interface, while gaining skills which will be relevant when later learning to use a command-type text-driven interface. Results of a skill transfer experiment with 60 “Programming Naïve” subjects sheds light on the negative implications of using a menu and wizard type interface prior to transfer to a programming interface, implications which are negated by implementation of the augmented menu and wizard interface during training. These findings have ramifications with regard to design of application interfaces where a powerful command text driven type interface is used alongside easy-to-use Menu and Wizard type interfaces. The findings also point to an observational learning approach as a feasible alternative to costly and time consuming training approaches for these powerful and efficient interfaces.