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Requirements for Effective Every-Citizen Interfaces

In addition to giving us new tools or techniques for carrying out the activities we are already doing, communications and information technologies will provide new opportunities for doing things we cannot currently do: viewing the invisible; hearing the unhearable; shrinking the world or ourselves in real time in order to better explore, learn, or interact with the real or virtual worlds; enhancing our sensory, physical, or cognitive skills; and tackling tasks we would otherwise never attempt because of the physical demands. Not only will what we do and how we do it affect the way interfaces should be designed, but the way we design the interfaces will also have profound effects on the way we do things. At the same time, substantial growth in information quantity and diversity is affecting both activities and the nature of the information infrastructure from the inside out, suggesting alternative perspectives for interface designers to consider. The steering committee expected that viewing existing interfaces through the lens of a familiar life domain would reveal neglected issues, unidentified challenges, unexpected convergences, or new directions for research or action. Accordingly, the workshop convened by the steering committee generated examples of trends, needs, and anticipated developments in education and lifelong learning, selected work environments, and home life, civic life, and social life.

This chapter begins with a high-level overview of the almost kaleidoscopic interplay of task, environment, information, and user attributes to which effective ECIs must be responsive. The overview of tasks, environments, and users provides the basis for an enumeration in the rest of the



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Page 21 2— Requirements for Effective Every-Citizen Interfaces In addition to giving us new tools or techniques for carrying out the activities we are already doing, communications and information technologies will provide new opportunities for doing things we cannot currently do: viewing the invisible; hearing the unhearable; shrinking the world or ourselves in real time in order to better explore, learn, or interact with the real or virtual worlds; enhancing our sensory, physical, or cognitive skills; and tackling tasks we would otherwise never attempt because of the physical demands. Not only will what we do and how we do it affect the way interfaces should be designed, but the way we design the interfaces will also have profound effects on the way we do things. At the same time, substantial growth in information quantity and diversity is affecting both activities and the nature of the information infrastructure from the inside out, suggesting alternative perspectives for interface designers to consider. The steering committee expected that viewing existing interfaces through the lens of a familiar life domain would reveal neglected issues, unidentified challenges, unexpected convergences, or new directions for research or action. Accordingly, the workshop convened by the steering committee generated examples of trends, needs, and anticipated developments in education and lifelong learning, selected work environments, and home life, civic life, and social life. This chapter begins with a high-level overview of the almost kaleidoscopic interplay of task, environment, information, and user attributes to which effective ECIs must be responsive. The overview of tasks, environments, and users provides the basis for an enumeration in the rest of the

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Page 22 chapter of the qualities desired from every-citizen interfaces (ECIs). The steering committee emphasizes that this overview, synthesized from workshop discussions and supporting materials, is impressionistic rather than complete. More completeness is both beyond the scope of this report and problematic: the ease of extrapolating from what we see and do today may be misleading about the future, although contemporary experiences do illuminate what does and does not work well.1 In particular, contemporary examples emphasize the characteristics of contemporary personal computers and, to a lesser extent, telephones and televisions; tomorrow's information infrastructure will draw more on embedded systems and different kinds of devices, too (Verity and Judge, 1996). Diversity Of Demands To Be Met By Every-Citizen Interfaces The interdisciplinary nature of the workshop discussions provided evidence for the contributions to technical development of better interfaces from better understanding of the social context and ''domestication" of system use. For example, how does the new technology change or become integrated into household and community routines? How is the definition of home computing evolving? As explained by social scientists, that understanding should be informed by a history of social change associated with computing and communications systems, leveraging descriptive data and analysis to anticipate the amount and style of use. For example, what are the roles of service features, early experiences, and social influences in the adoption and use of networked infrastructure by mainstream users? Longitudinal, multimethodological field research may be especially important for systems intended for public access (e.g., library resident and kiosk systems2). It may also help in understanding how public knowledge, understanding, and educational needs about security and trustworthiness should be factored into technical decision making. For example, how far can one go in providing anonymity and/or privacy protection to citizens without huge increases in cost or effort associated with use of the national information infrastructure (NII)? Is technology that is aimed mainly at protecting institutional (government or corporate/proprietary) information generalizable, or do individuals present specific additional requirements? Today's Diverse Uses of Information and Communications Technologies Reliable, comprehensive, and up-to-date data about everyday uses to which people currently put information technology are in short supply,

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Page 23 TABLE 2.1 Computer Use at Home Application Percentage of Users by Age Groupa   0-14 Years 15-39 Years 40-59 Years 60+ Years Adults Age 15+ Years E-mail 1 25 35 38 29 Bulletin boards 2 8 8 8 8 Communications NA 18 24 24 20 Databases NA 18 25 21 21 Spreadsheets 1 18 24 20 20 Word processing 26 58 64 57 60 Games 85 20 19 19 19 Graphics 15 14 14 10 14 Household records and finance NA 15 20 17 17 Work at home NA 22 33 21 26 Connect to work from home NA 8 9 4 8 Home-based business NA 4 6 6 5 School assignments 40 33 14 2 24 Educational programs 39 13 18 14 15 Learning computer use 25 21 20 15 20 Programming 3 8 9 7 9 NA, not applicable. aPercentages are the proportion of people who had a computer at home (not the percentage of total U.S. population) and used it for the indicated purpose. SOURCES: U.S. Bureau of the Census, Current Population Survey, October 1993; RAND (1995, p. 185). but what is available provides important insights. Table 2.1 summarizes data from the U.S. Bureau of the Census about computer use by adults and children who have access to a computer at home (22.8 percent of U.S. households at the time of the survey). The Census Bureau data were collected in 1993 in the Current Population Survey, which uses a statistically valid sample of the U.S. population (unlike on-line surveys and most market research reports). The 1993 data are the most recent available from the Census Bureau concerning the country's home computer use; unfortunately, the 1993 survey predated the widespread growth in popularity of the World Wide Web and did not ask about Web use. More recent private surveys (e.g., Hoffman et al., 1996) provide only snapshots, since the combination of broadening use of personal computers and frequent introductions of new software and services leads to relatively frequent changes in who is doing what.

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Page 24 Table 2.1 suggests that work, learning, entertainment, household chores (e.g., bookkeeping), and social/collegial contact (e.g., bulletin boards) have all become part of everyday household computer use. For example, learning-including formal education-is not restricted to household members in the kindergarten through high school age range. Rather, a sizable proportion of adults who have home computers have been doing school assignments on them (24 percent), using educational programs (15 percent), and investing time in learning about computer use (21 percent). Word processing seems to have been the dominant application for adults (60 percent reported its use), probably because it figures into so many other activities (e.g., bulletin boards, e-mail, home-based business, remote work, school assignments). Excluding word processing, e-mail has the highest incidence of home use among adults (29 percent) in the Census Bureau data. More recent data add support to the conclusion that communication is a dominant reason for computers (Sandberg, 1996). A representative example is provided by Forrester Research, which estimated that about 15 percent of all Americans (not just those with home computers and thus a different measure than the Census Bureau data cited above) communicate by e-mail at work and/or at home, up from 2 percent in 1992 (Investor's Business Daily, 1997). Typical of market research optimism, Forrester predicts that growth in the use of personal computers in homes and corporate Internet access will drive e-mail use up to 50 percent of the U.S. population within 5 years. Use of home computers for work-related purposes appears to be increasing. According to an International Data Corporation (IDC) study, the number of households with full- or part-time self-employed home workers reached 20 million in 1996. IDC found that these households lead U.S. households overall in their rates of personal computer (PC) ownership (56.5 percent compared to 35 percent), on-line service use (27.5 percent compared to 21.1 percent), and Internet use (23.1 percent compared to 15.9 percent), and they are more likely to use on-line and Internet services than households with home computers but no home workers. IDC segments home offices according to whether they are used by self-employed home workers or by people with "corporate home offices" (i.e., those who work elsewhere and telecommute or bring work home after hours). Perhaps because of financial and training support from their employers, the latter group have even higher rates of PC ownership and network use than self-employed home workers. Although these data cannot be compared directly to the Census Bureau data in Table 2.1,3 IDC's finding of 10 percent growth in home offices in 1995-1996, combined with the high rates of computer and network use observed among such offices, suggests that doing paid work at home is a more common use of computers and networks now than in 1993.

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Page 25 TABLE 2.2 Internet Use in the Past Three Months (all data represent percentages of the U.S. population) Category People in Computer Households (%) People Using Networks (%) Income quartile     1 15 2 2 34 8 3 43 10 4 68 21       Education level     ‹ HS 26 5 HS or more 32 6 B.A. or more 59 23       Gender     Male 41 12 Female 52 6       Age     ‹ 20 50 14 20-39 41 12 40-59 43 9 › 59 15 2 NOTE: Getting an accurate picture of the distribution of computer and network use among U.S. citizens is not straightforward. Numerous samples are used to generate publicized survey data, but close examination shows that despite care in the planning of sample design, the actual data must be adjusted statistically (through the use of weights) to achieve meaningful and accurate inferences about the U.S. population. In addition, what is being measured is often neither clear nor consistent. Survey researchers have observed, for example, that people often do not understand enough about their equipment or services to answer questions reliably; questions about activities and uses tend to yield more accurate and consistent results. Another factor inspiring caution about reported data is that there is significant "churn" in the PC application and services markets: people start and stop activity relatively often, but it is too soon to describe either long-term attrition rates or consistent patterns in how use varies over time and among different categories of people. SOURCE: "CommerceNet/Nielsen Media Research Internet Demographics Study for Fall 1995 and Spring 1996 Recontact," Nielsen Interactive Services, Dunedin, FL, August 1996. Recent research on Internet use in the United States draws on the 1995 CommerceNet/Nielsen Internet Demographic Survey (CNIDS), a telephone survey conducted in August 1995 (see Table 2.2).4 Unlike the 1993 Census Bureau survey, this survey examined Web use, which is a subset of Internet use since one must use the Internet to reach the Web, but not vice versa. Researchers for Project 2000 at Vanderbilt University found

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Page 26 TABLE 2.3 Internet and Web Use by Frequent Internet Users   High Web Usea Low Web Usea No Web Usea   Male Female Male Female Male Female Gender (%) 78 22 72 28 56 44               Activities performed on Internet (%)b             Communication 37 41 30 28 22 42 Interactive discussion (chat) 9 6 12 12 2 9 Noninteractive discussion 19 24 9 7 15 10 Download software 15 10 8 6 1 4 Use another computer 16 5 7 6 4 7               Activities performed on Web (%)b             Search for product/service information 72 56 49 33     Search for company/organization information 72 67 56 45     Search for other information 86 83 66 66     Browse/explore 95 91 87 82     Make purchase based on Web information 29 18 17 8     Ever used Web for business 57 46 44 30                   Total in segment 4.9 million 4.6 million 3.4 million aAll three segments are frequent Internet users (once per week or more often). Frequency of Web use is defined on a 4-point scale. bPercentage of segment that named the activity as frequently performed. SOURCE: Project 2000 (Hoffman et al., 1996). that 28.8 million people in the United States who are 16 or older had access to the Internet at home, work, and/or school; 16.4 million actually used the Internet at some time in the previous 3 months; 11.5 million had used the Web; and 1.5 million had used the Web to buy something. Table 2.3 presents detailed findings about a subset of the population-the 12.9 million people identified as frequent Internet users (once per week or more), segmented by gender and amount of Web use. Among the interesting findings from this table are that women are much more likely than men to use the Internet for communication (e.g., e-mail, noninteractive discussions on news groups and bulletin boards, and interactive chat discussions) and that men are more likely than women to download software, use a computer remotely over the Internet, make purchases based on information gathered on the Web, or use the Web for business. Project 2000's (Hoffman et al., 1996) finding of 11.5 million Web users in 1995 suggests rapid growth in the use of this relatively new application

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Page 27 in the NII. Information-gathering activity predominates on the Web, with a much smaller share of people using it to plan or make purchases. Web use is constantly evolving, however, and this August 1995 snapshot took place before tools for publishing one's own Web page became widely available.5 Because access to the Internet from work and school as well as from home is included, the Project 2000/CNIDS data are not directly comparable to the 1993 Census Bureau data in Table 2.1. Nevertheless, it is significant that both surveys found communication to be the most common use of the Internet. This finding squares with detailed field observations gathered in Carnegie Mellon University's HomeNet project (Kraut et al., 1996), described at the workshop by Sara Kiesler and Robert Kraut. The HomeNet project gave 48 families of varied demographic backgrounds computers, Internet connections, and technical support for a year. In pretrial questionnaires, participants did not expect that computers would be useful for interpersonal communications. However, communicating with friends and family via e-mail proved to be the dominant reason for use of the Internet, especially among teenagers, and e-mail use turned out to be a strong predictor of Web use-but not vice versa. Teenagers also were likely to become the household experts and most frequent users of networked information and communications media. Similarly, civic networks report that communication is the incentive that draws most of their participants on-line (Anderson et al., 1995), and other anecdotal and case study evidence also points to growth in networked activity among children, especially at home rather than at school. While large income- and education-based differences exist in the access of primary and secondary school students to these media, a 1994 Times Mirror survey of technology in American households found "virtually no socioeconomic differences in how often and for what purposes children use computers if present in the home." Public, civic, and social activities are hardest to represent with robust data (Kraut et al., 1996). Every study of civic networks has reported that access increases community attachment and political involvement (e.g., Anderson et al., 1995). Yet such findings reflect selection bias-respondents are those who have opted for civic network membership. More objective data are available in the nationally representative 1994 Times Mirror household technology survey. The survey established that individuals with network access from home were significantly more likely to know the anwsers to questions about their current political environment than their computer-owning peers without network access. These results are mirrored in enterprise-level research: those who use an organization's network have more knowledge about it and feel more positive about it than those who do not (Huff et al., 1989; Kraut et al., 1992).

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Page 28 Lifelong Learning Evolution of the nation's information infrastructure makes clear that it presents opportunities and challenges to people of all ages, who must learn how to assimilate it into their lives. Continuous changes in technology (and in the mix of activities that make up our lives) imply that people will confront the need to learn new systems or activities at multiple points during their lives, notwithstanding people's changing willingness and ability to learn over time. Today's teenagers, for example, emerge from various studies as leading-edge users and innovators, but those qualities will not necessarily endure over time since a number of circumstances differentiate teenagers from other age groups. Making learning a part of life and the implications this has on how, under the influence of new media, human beings will think, create, work, learn, and collaborate in the future constitute a major consideration for the design of every-citizen interfaces to the NII; recognition of these concerns contributes to the rise of programmatic support for lifelong learning in a variety of contexts. The lifelong learning challenge illustrates the need for interfaces and other elements of technology that transcend today's "gift-wrapping" approach to education, training, and learning in which the tradition of rote learning is "wrapped" in the mantle of new technologies such as multimedia or the World Wide Web (Rubin, 1996; Wasser, 1996).6 See Gerhard Fischer's and Wallace Feurzeig's position papers in this volume for a fuller discussion. Lifelong learning is grounded in a variety of descriptive and prescriptive goals, such as the following: • Learning should take place in the context of authentic, complex problems (because learning is more effective when people understand its impact). • Learning should be embedded in the pursuit of intrinsically rewarding activities. Motivation is an enduring concern. • Learning on demand needs to be supported because change is inevitable, complete coverage of relevant information and knowledge is impossible, and obsolescence of acquired skills and knowledge is unavoidable.7 • Organizational and collaborative learning must be supported to leverage limited individual human minds and to meet collective organizational needs. • Skills and processes that support learning as a lifetime habit, that reflect a realistic view of what should be considered basic skills in a society that assumes broader use of information technology, and that transcend the school-to-work transition must be developed.8

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Page 29 Research is needed to enable successful pursuit of all of these goals. The organizational emphasis that is emerging in a variety of work environments is as a growing and recurrent theme, in part because the NII concept emphasizes the interconnection of groups of people (see Chapter 5). At the workshop, John Thomas, of NYNEX, explained that more frequent and less regular changes in work environments imply that "assimilative learning," which is incremental and oriented to information acquisition, will be supplemented increasingly by "accommodative learning," which relates to more substantial change in perspective and activities. In a variety of contexts, communities of practice exist that may provide vehicles and contexts for learning that may generate requirements for new interfaces (see the position paper by Charles Cleary in this volume). Growing Use in Home, Civic, and Social Activities The growing penetration of computing and communications into home settings and social activities is increasing their commonality with white-collar work. It is possible, as Mark Weiser, of Xerox, mused at the workshop, to begin to talk about personal information infrastructures-which are elements of or complements to the larger NII. The personal and social impacts are changing with the technologies and their uses. For example, as a tool for social interaction, the typewriting-telegraphy nature of today's applications seem to trade off isolation in the immediate environment for dispersed community on the net.
9 With progress in networking technology and access, evolving interfaces are expected to enable tomorrow's electronic communities to see, hear, and touch each other, meeting face to face, safely and anonymously, in cyberspace (see Box 2.1). Already, people are using even typed text interfaces in multiuser domains (MUDs) and multiuser domains/object-oriented (MOOs) to experiment with alternative identities and other behaviors that relate to self-image; two- and three-dimensional avatars are also providing vehicles for play, expression, and experimentation that underscore the potential for social impact that is only beginning to be recognized. The challenge of making interfaces appealing and easy to learn is greater in home and social contexts, inasmuch as people at work have no choice but to learn and make the best of systems available to them, whereas the success of home applications depends more on individual discretion and desire, which are in large part a response to the interface along with the associated content and specifics of the application. These lessons are repeated regularly in market trials of new services and consumer electronics. Home settings also reflect the dynamics of families, which are different from other kinds of groups or institutions. At the

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BOX 2.1 Evolution of Social Interaction America is staying home. In the 1980s, futurist Faith Popcorn labeled the phenomenon "cocooning." Now she is suggesting that we have entered into an even more isolated phase-"burrowing"-as we go beyond physical withdrawal into emotional withdrawal as well: "Some of us are too overwhelmed or exhausted by the stress of life to bother to return ... even the phone calls of friends we really want to talk to." The next stage she predicts is "clanning,'' where we will cluster like birds of a feather into clans of 20 to 20,000 members. That trend is upon us today, and cyberspace is facilitating its growth. In the early part of this century, on a warm summer evening, you could find people sitting on their front porches, calling out to friends and neighbors passing in the street. People lived in communities, knowing who their neighbors were and what they were up to. Radio brought little alteration, except that people might leave their front door open, so that the sounds of "One Man's Family" or "The Shadow" might brighten their evening. Then television came and everything changed. Today, you can walk down those same streets and never see a soul. The only signs of life are the telltale bluish glow of the TV sets within. The resulting social isolation has brought about a new form of instant intimacy. Television shows have devolved from formal stage presentations and movies down to a peek into that interesting neighbor's window down the street (an augmentation of the same peek we used to take in person). You can now watch people just like yourselves losing their pants at a wedding, revealing graphic details of their marital infidelities, or being shot or arrested, all in living color right on your TV. Today, we are engaging in the myth of a set-top box that will connect to the family TV set, around which everyone will cluster, watching in rapture as Dad traverses a labyrinth of baseball statistics or Mom pays the bills. Interactive services do not invite partnership. In the coming decade the single blue glow of the living room TV will be replaced with a separate glow for every member of the family. This has already happened at my house, where we have moved our computers into the living room, so that we can be together while we work and play on our own. With the advent of continuous speech recognition and vocal conversation on the Internet, we may finally be driven into separate rooms, spending time with each other through our viewports and offering greetings as we pass through the hall. SOURCE: Adapted from a background paper prepared for the August 1996 workshop by Bruce Tognazzini, Healtheon Corporation workshop, Patricia Brennan, for example, noted that apparently shared tasks are often defined very differently by different people. This condition suggests added value for tools that allow different people to assign different interpretations to tasks and arrive at a common endpoint. Another clear difference between home and institutional settings (work, school, and public access points such as libraries) is that equipment and networks at home are paid for by individual users. The relatively

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Page 31 greater cost burden of network use by self-owned and very small businesses is reflected in the finding of the 1996 IDC and 1993 Census Bureau surveys that self-employed individuals lagged the general population in access to network services (including access from home, work, or school), despite leading the general population in personal computer ownership. In work settings, the institution provides both equipment and support (training, help, and other resources), which are important for the assimilation of information technology. In contrast, home users presumably must invest discretionary income in acquiring computing and communications systems and associated help, consulting, and training. Less demanding designs for which less help is needed and systems with better built-in help support than is typical at present could reduce these burdens. This premium on usability in home settings is one reason the term appliance has been used with greater frequency to describe an ease-of-use objective for future access devices. The problem of meeting user support needs is compounded, of course, in the case of people with inferior devices or systems (e.g., for reasons of affordability), except inasmuch as their designs require less support. Also, systems that are more self-contained or sealed as a process of being more appliance like may imply a need for disability access features to be built in, on the assumption that modifications will become more difficult. Building in such access may also become a requirement for the shared systems that may be more typical of institutional (e.g., employers or schools) or public contexts (e.g., kiosks) than homes (Government Information Technology Systems (GITS), 1995). Civic activities may involve use of the NII from home or other settings, including public facilities, such as libraries. Examples of civic uses include motor vehicle registrations and renewals of driver licenses; finding and filing income tax forms, getting refunds or paying owed amounts; commenting on a proposed rezoning or a national forest land management plan during a public comment period; and monitoring the agendas and actions of government units at all levels (GITS, 1995). As a class, government-supported efforts (e.g., under the Digital Library Initiative and various NII access initiatives) should be of particular interest to interface researchers because they are inherently more amenable to data gathering and analysis that can be discussed publicly than proprietary efforts, yet this potential is not exploited for the most part. Many experiments are under way at local, state, and federal levels of government and social service organizations, and many workshop participants urged the use of these nascent efforts for study about what works, what does not, what is missing, and so on. Where possible, comparisons to corresponding research in other countries is desirable.

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BOX 2.5 What Is Information? In addressing the question of how to provide every citizen access to the NII, we inevitably cast our questions, at least in part, in terms of information. We assume that citizens will use the NII to get to information, whether from relatively static information sources such as Web pages, databases, e-mail, newsgroup items, and files, or from more dynamic sources such as people, services, and computations. The interfaces we build for every citizen, and the research supporting their designs, will depend upon and be framed in terms of providing every citizen with access to information. The centrality of the notion of information to the development of research programs raises the question of whether the concept of information is well understood. If our understanding of this concept rested on foundations held in common and agreed upon by the joint community of researchers, funders, suppliers-of hardware, software, functionality, and content-and the users of interfaces, then one huge area of potential misunderstanding and difficulties could be regarded as safely under control. However, not only is there no such agreement, but many working in the fields that affect interface design and development do not even recognize that there is an issue here. Different communities use the term "information" presuming a certain meaning, without recognition of the alternatives or of the consequences of adopting a particular stance. Different conceptions of information lead to different questions, different approaches, and different ways of evaluating solutions. Given the scale and diversity of the NII, research agendas may have to be reexamined in light of the foundational assumptions they are making about information. In everyday conversation, "information" refers to facts or knowledge that may be acquired either directly by observation or indirectly by reading or hearing from another. Although there is allowance for error (e.g., "He gave me incorrect information," misinformation), there is usually some presumed authoritative source; the authority might derive from direct observation (and trusted senses) or from the reputation of the source. Box continued page 61 There are two predominant formal technical treatments of the concept, one from the mathematical theory of information, the other from philosophical work in semantics. These two treatments differ from the naive conception and from one another.(see Box 2.5). Otherwise, conflicting assumptions will confound people's interactions with information. An information-centered perspective implies better understanding of the dimensions of information that determine how well people can create, publish, search, browse, retrieve, study, integrate, validate, and use information. How good is the information? Can it be trusted? Is it easily accessible or remote and untouchable? Does it form a part of a larger whole, leading to deep understanding, or does it stand in isolation? Is it useful when found, or does it require an inordinate amount of effort on the part of the finder to comprehend it and concentrate it? Can information from different sources be integrated in meaningful ways? These

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Box 2.5 continued from page 61 The mathematical theory of information is concerned with the amount of information and the accuracy with which it is transmitted. It does not consider meaning; neither what the information is "about" nor its truth (or falsity) are factors that play roles in the questions that information theory asks nor the techniques it develops. It is thus clear why the major impact of information theory is on issues of bandwidth, channel, and the like. Philosophical-semantic treatments deal instead with content and meaning; their focus is on how to treat formally the concept that some entity (the sign or message) "carries the information that. ..."* These theories are newer and less well developed than the theory of information. Although they deal explicitly with the "content" aspect of information, which is central to everyday use of the term and the ways in which ''every citizen" will conceive of information for the NII, they do not address issues of how information is represented, encoded, or displayed, all of which are also of importance for ECIs. Furthermore, because they are grounded in "truth," they are unable to deal adequately with misinformation or with questions of authoritativeness. A major issue for the NII, and certainly for ECIs for the NII, is understanding how these three different perspectives-everyday, mathematical, and philosophical-semantic-relate. Integration of these perspectives will be important for economic issues (which view information as a commodity to be paid for), legal issues (e.g., intellectual property rights), and control (e.g., personal view: ownership, conjoint the right to make change). Thus, the NII must ultimately deal with a conception of "information" that encompasses all facets of everyday use of the term. Both the mathematical and semantical theories can contribute to this understanding, but there are facets important to the NII that neither cover. * A simple example of the concept, "X carries the information that Y," is "smoke carries the information that fire [is present]." Technically, the issue is that X counter-factually supports Y (i.e., if one has X, then one has Y and, furthermore, if Y weren't around, one wouldn't have X). SOURCE: Austin Henderson, Apple Computer Corporation. questions go well beyond requirements for interfaces, but interfaces can support the user seeking to answer such questions. The central concern is dealing with large volumes of information of varying and uncertain quality, recognizing that "quality" can be both subjective and dependent on context.20 Research to support better finding and use of information will be complicated by the absence of standard ways to convey the quality of information to people and the dependence of quality on the context of publication or use, suggesting value in a flexible way of representing quality-grounded in a sound sociological understanding of how people use information-so that people can differentiate the quality of information

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Page 62 for their own context. Interface approaches should take into account not only the needs of end users but also the larger evolution of the information infrastructure per se: the proliferation of information and changes in its cost structure affect the demand for editing, publishing, and library services as well as the demand for information per se. Support for searching and retrieving, including catalogs, abstracts, and other tools, are among the challenges. Ben Shneiderman, of the University of Maryland, argues that searching should not be invisible-people should be informed about and have input into choices about the scope, attributes, results, and opportunities for refinement of their queries (Shneiderman et al., 1997). Kept informed, people can learn and grow from novice to expert searchers. In addition, interdisciplinary assessment can illuminate subtle aspects relating to how information and options for tools are presented. For example, according to recent research by Nass and Reeves (1996), interactive media generate fundamental psychosocial cues even where not intended, and other research points to the impact of wording in commands, messages, presentation of images, and so on. Other challenges relate to the fact that publishing is not a neutral activity, as noted above. Reflecting classical concerns about control over content by those with control over conduits, Apple's Austin Henderson cautioned, at the workshop, that failure of the NII [would] be that a small collection of sources broad- or narrowcast their creations to the waiting masses. As the printing press let everybody be a reader, the copier let everybody be a publisher, the personal computer let everybody be a writer, so the real promise of the NII is that it will allow everybody to be an author (create and publish). The NII can give everybody a voice. A deep concern is whether such plurality of voices will be discouraged or encouraged. Concerns about control over content have shaped past public policy relating to content and equal access in broadcasting (radio and television), antitrust legal inquiries relating to screen displays in computerized reservation systems provided by airlines to travel agents, and recent public statements of information service providers and consumer advocates about screen displays associated with Web browsers and other Internet-related services. Public policy may impose requirements on interface design; technologists should become prepared by recognizing the issue and considering the technical options for representation, display, finding, filtering, and so on. Research on tools for publishing should consider the conflict between the goals of information providers and those of consumers. For example, commercial providers may want to prevent people from mixing and matching parts of services and/or missing the advertising.

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Page 63 Already, computer systems vendors have been contending over control and content of the initial displays associated with operating systems and browsers. More generally, Susan Hockey noted, at the workshop, that even apart from explicit digital annotations or hypertext representations, the processes of transcribing a text (including encoding of accented characters) or digitizing an image (including possible enhancements) involves decisions about the intellectual content of the object. One approach that may affect interface design is to more consistently add metadata to information that could help people-or machines acting on their behalf-to interpret and integrate information. Metadata describe the attributes of information such as format, quality, intended purpose, version, origin, and underlying assumptions. Because everyone views the world differently, integrating information requires a shared description of semantic content. For example, at the workshop, Louis Hecht explained that the Open Geographic Information Systems Consortium Inc. is working on standards for semantic translation because different geodata producers and users give the same geographic feature different names, sets of descriptive parameters, and metadata. Similarly, Kent Wittenburg of Bellcore suggested that research on standardized distributed object-like protocols holds promise for integrating across services, noting that, although commercial services will continue to improve interfaces for searching and browsing, customizing searches across multiple services is a longer-term problem.
21 According to Craig Knoblock, of the Information Sciences Institute, the most natural way to model the semantic content of information sources is in reference to ontologies-knowledge representations that can be constructed for a given subject area (e.g., stock market data); machine learning technology is needed to automate model generation because the body of information is so large.22 Because the metadata also will become semantically drifted, Knoblock argued against central standardization: "There is going to have to be some kind of distributed solution, where if you have these information providers that are actually buying this information, they are going to have to change their model and update things. There has to be enough information in the underlying structure that it is easy to make those changes. But there is no way that you can anticipate all those changes." Moshe Zloof, also at the workshop, cautioned against reinventing lessons from decades of experience with database management. New approaches such as using agents to model the semantics of unstructured data now flooding the Web may be less effective than structuring the data to begin with (e.g., by using a relational database model). As Austin Henderson observed, however, fixed structures-whether embodied in a database or modeled from diverse sources on the Web-inevitably become

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Page 64 out of date: "Suddenly my database shifts, not because anything in it shifts, but because the world shifted. This is the well-known problem of semantic drift. ... [We are] never going to get everyone to agree [on a structure. We are] always going to be in the position of negotiating." Pleasant to Use An important factor in attracting new users and helping them overcome their fear of technology is creating interfaces that are naturally attractive and fun to use. A key historic differentiator between home and work, underscored by social scientists at the workshop, is the element of "desirability": home uses of technology have tended to be discretionary, and interfaces or other aspects of technology that do not appeal to consumers are often not used in the home. The HomeNet study, for example, focuses much more on what people want to do than what they need to do, as would be the case at work. At the workshop, Robert Kraut, of Carnegie Mellon University, explained that there is no direct connection among utility, usability, and desirability and that much is not understood about how those qualities do or can relate to each other. Making systems less threatening, less technical looking, more familiar, and more interesting and fun will be important components in creating interfaces that will actually be approachable and used by many individuals. As mentioned above, these systems, however, must gracefully lead to more efficient interface strategies whenever the interesting/fun interfaces are, themselves, not efficient for long-term or general use. The pleasure, fun, or desirability of use is part of a broader pattern of interaction with behavior that should be considered in designing interfaces. For example, the ability, in a communications context, to see people on screen, especially in real time, can affect how involved an individual is but also tends to result in payment of more attention to physical appearance, associated symbols and cues that can be removed with other communication modes, and increase in cognitive load, which affects attributions to others and persuasiveness. Regardless of context, as Sara Kiesler observed at the workshop, every change in an interface implies changes in social psychology, organizational processes, and other side effects for organizations and individuals-effects that can be studied and anticipated. Telepresence, in the form of casual video conferencing and collaboration, is the subject of much speculation about how technology can eliminate barriers to intimacy. Although many technologists and business analysts tout video teleconferencing as a possible "killer app" for the NII, Robert Kraut and Sara Kiesler noted that research over 25 years suggests limited payoff to it-conversations accompanied by video are not clearer, information exchange is not better-but some do like it better than simple

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Page 65 audioconferencing. Similarly, different attitudes have been recorded for participation in text e-mail versus systems with image transmission. More optimistic technologists hold out the promise that within a year or two some people will be able to glance into the offices-home- or business-based-of perhaps 60 people with whom they normally interact, in contrast to most video conferencing used for remote meetings with many people in attendance. With the advent of wideband digital networks, ease of use, and better quality, the telecommunications center is moving into personal computers or workstations. As the technology becomes more widespread, most meetings could consist of two people collaborating under casual circumstances; as experimentation on the Internet's Mbone multicast system suggests, extremely large (e.g., in the thousands or more participants) or variable-size meetings also will become easier and may become more common. As discussed in Chapters 4 and 5, large group interactions appear to be an area where more understanding of social dynamics is needed. Pulling It All Together: Eci Interfaces In The Year 20xx To describe the future is to risk being wrong, but it is a useful technique for showing how it may be possible to integrate the key concepts of an ECI to work seamlessly together to create a whole new paradigm for interaction between information infrastructure and people. A simple scenario, focusing primarily on the input/output aspects, is provided below. Along with demonstration or prototype projects, scenarios, per se, were suggested by workshop participants as useful elements of an interdisciplinary research program because of their amenability to computer and social science explorations that begin with their design and continue through assessment of the resulting roles/relationships/outcomes under different rules and starting assumptions. As illustrated at the workshop by Michael Traynor's telemedicine scenario, research could develop and explore scenarios that involve multiple stakeholders and diverse interests that converge on cases of NII use. Scenarios might also provide a training/teaching paradigm related to how new media affect extant procedures, expectations, and so on; similarly, simulation games aimed at policy analysis have already shown that scenarios hold promise for providing a framework or vehicle for collaborative policy deliberation among diverse stakeholders and for arriving at negotiated agreements on policy inputs to the NII decision-making process, but the methodology calls for systematic evaluation.

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Page 66 In The Year 20xx-One Scenario It is the year 20XX. Systems with ECIs abound and take a wide variety of forms. Some appear on workstations; others are on accessories carried around as a notepad or cellular phone was carried in the 1990s. These accessories, however, are multifunctional in nature and can be used to access almost any type of information or service available. Many of the ECIs are simply integrated into the environment as part of rooms, vehicles, appliances, and even clothing that people wear. The generalized information systems themselves are integrated so that people can begin a task (e.g., sending a message) in their office on the system built into a desk or wall there and continue the activity seamlessly as they walk out the door to get into their vehicle and leave on a trip. The systems are modality independent with regard to both input and output. In the office, they may be primarily visual display based (especially if one works in a shared office space). However, as the user gets up and leaves, they are able to seamlessly move from interacting in a visual fashion to interacting in a verbal fashion, completing the "e-mail" as they walk down the hall, get into their vehicle, and head for the airport. While en route, the voice interface can be used to access any of the information transaction or communications systems, in a purely verbal fashion. This might include checking weather "maps," buying a gift for one's spouse, touching base with other colleagues, etc. Since the systems can all work either visually or verbally (words), these same systems work equally well for colleagues who have low vision or blindness or are hard of hearing or deaf. Because the verbal information can be rendered as Braille or speech, the systems could also be used by individuals who are deaf or blind or who are unable to read at all because of specific learning disabilities that prevent them from learning to read or read well visually. Individuals who have difficulty learning the new systems or new functions on the systems find that there are built-in agents that will help them through whatever task they are interested in and that will interact with them in a friendly, natural language format (or that can interact with the user's own personal agents). They can either speak to the systems aloud, type on the built-in keypad, or use any other technique or device to input information. As users become more expert, they can begin using shorthand phrases, codes, gestures, and other more efficient but less obvious strategies. The user and the systems that the user interacts with develop these strategies naturally over time. These conventions are also passed from one device to another so that users' familiarity with them is interchangeable as they move between physical systems. In addition to using verbal input, many of the systems will have the ability to monitor both the environment around the individual and the individuals themselves for contextual information. In addition, they can use global positioning systems to determine physically where the individual is and environmental databases to help understand the context or surroundings the individual is in at any point in time. This may include a knowledge of which other people are in the immediate vicinity (inasmuch as they allow this information to be known). With information about the environment, the context, and the individual, the device can much more easily

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Page 67 interpret the interactions and requests it receives from the user and may be able to anticipate or facilitate the activities of the user as well. When an individual does not understand information that is being presented or how to achieve some objective, intelligent agents in the system are available to assist the individual in representing the information in a simpler format or to assist with instructions or with carrying out the activity. Some agents might be autonomous and carry out tasks automatically for the user. Most agents, however, are collaborative and interactive and act more like an intelligent colleague or assistant. They are able to interact with the individual at whatever level and in whatever modality (visual, aural, tactile) is most appropriate and most effective given the environment (noisy, etc.), situation (person's eyes or hands are occupied, or a situation requires silent operation as in a meeting), task, and user abilities or preferences. Although many situations and environments may require the use of only one or another of the available interface modalities (e.g., visual only, verbal only), there will also be times when the full abilities of the user are available, including simultaneous use of whatever visual, auditory, and tactile manipulative abilities the user may have. In these cases the individual can take advantage of this by using a full immersive environment. For example, the user may use an immersive environment to simulate transport to another virtual environment. Instead of traveling to meet colleagues, the user can sit at a desk and move into a mode where he or she visually, aurally, and manipulatively (and, eventually, tactilely and olfactorially?) joins with other colleagues from around the country in a virtual meeting room where they communicate and exchange virtual documents or exhibits and carry out their meeting. The colleagues around the table who are deaf can have the system invoke a speech recognizer and present its output on the screen. (In the next decade or so, the speech recognition technology will probably still make errors. But for clear speakers and narrow domains of discourse, recognition may be sufficient for understandability.) The text may appear to float in space in front of the speaker, or the user can drag the text displays for different people closer together in the space in front so that it is easier to monitor them simultaneously. People who do not have a hearing impairment also find this feature useful, particularly if they can read faster than they can listen and find it easier to focus attention on a particular verbal stream or to check over what was said when everybody's speech is presented visually. It also allows them to check back over what was said. This is particularly valuable if they are trying to listen to multiple overlapping discourses. Colleagues who are blind or who have difficulty reading any of the printed materials can have the materials presented to them aurally or translated into a form that is easier to understand. Sighted individuals also take advantage of this feature in order to allow them to continue monitoring the situation or demonstration with their eyes while the textual information is being fed to them aurally. Even an individual who is deaf or blind can have the information translated and presented on a special dynamic Braille and tactile display that can be attached to the system. Immersive environments can be used for a wide range of functions beyond allowing an individual to travel to and visit most any real or simulated spot on earth. They also allow the individual to scale themselves larger or smaller in

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Page 68 order to explore or better learn about objects or environments (e.g., the ability to zoom in and out to learn about geography, biology, etc.). They are also used to allow individuals to explore things with their senses that are not available to their senses. This includes seeing the invisible, hearing the inaudible, and translating concepts that have no physical form (such as information) into visual or auditory formats in order to gain new insights. Again, users with all of their senses intact can choose to have the information presented in simultaneous multisensory form. Individuals for whom some senses are weaker or absent have the information presented in forms that best meet their individual abilities and learning styles. Notes 1. In addition, early experiences are often limited indicators of new technology's benefits: the 1980s and early 1990s discussions of the "productivity paradox" suggest that disappointing financial returns from early computing investments reflect relatively simpleminded automation of existing work processes rather than the fundamental restructuring of those processes that has proved necessary to realize the full benefits of computing. See CSTB's Information Technology in the Service Society (CSTB, 1994b). 2. An interagency assessment of issues and opportunities for kiosks in government applications proposed a staged pilot and market test program that would support data gathering and incorporation of feedback into future design and deployment steps (see Government Information Technology Service (GITS), 1995). 3. The IDC data are at the household level and thus likely to produce higher percentages than the individual-level data from the Census Bureau survey. However even if both data sets were at the individual level, it would still be impossible to draw meaningful comparisons, because they used different sample weightings in order to factor their results to the scale of the whole population. This is one example of the difficulty of identifying trends and making comparisons from survey data in this field. 4. Project 2000 researchers statistically corrected the CNIDS data to weight the sample in proportion to the U.S. population for gender, age, and education-variables known to affect the likelihood of Internet use. Income was not included because of a high nonresponse relate for income in the CNIDS survey; education, however, is a reasonable proxy for income. The researchers also adjusted the data to omit logically inconsistent responses that the CNIDS had included, such as those from people who initially reported having used the Internet but later in the survey reported the opposite. See Hoffman et al. (1996). 5. Whether new Web-page publishing tools are readily usable by nonspecialists remains an open question. For an anecdotal account that illustrates the difficulties novices have with such applications (among others), see Rigdon (1996). 6. Of course, a number of innovative applications of multimedia technology have been introduced for education, but several education experts believe the promise of such technology is only beginning to be tapped. 7. A further challenge results from the level of exposure to a given environment, situation, or task; for example, there is a difference between a mobile phone one rarely looks at, a phone one never looks at, and a phone one uses frequently. 8. A related concern is whether there are general skills that people can learn for use in a variety of settings. Does learning in a specific context ever limit the usefulness of the resulting knowledge? 9. For example, Internet bridge clubs type in bids without idle chit-chat; they sit

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Page 69 locked in their houses, staring at text, punching at keyboards. 10. By contrast, the encoding features of the Hypertext Markup Language are mainly used to control the appearance of text (e.g., bold type, fonts, blinking text). HTML's descriptive codes are mostly for low-level constructs such as emphasis or indented lists. It has no standard mechanism for indicating common document parts such as author, abstract, keywords, or references. New HTML codes (tags) for such elements could have the side benefit of being interpretable by software agents for automatic indexing and searching. New tags are continually being proposed and implemented; however, the resulting lack of standardization hinders content producers, because a conscientious Web author must test pages to ensure that they appear properly when viewed with a variety of Web browsers that support different overlapping sets of tags (Schulzrinne, 1996). 11. Note that capabilities for filtering and blocking stand out as features specifically contemplated for children as a subpopulation. 12. According to the Cross-Industry Working Team (1995), nomadicity refers to the ability of people to easily access a rich set of services, other people, and content while they are on the move, at intermediate stops and at arbitrary destinations; ubiquitous refers to systems that access communications and computing services via the NII and that will be at least as common as today's telephone. Moreover, the NII will facilitate connectivity through a wide range of electronic devices, including portable, mobile, and wireless computing and communications. 13. U.S. sales of interactive kiosk hardware were $449 million in 1994 and estimated at $610 million for 1995. The retail sector accounts for 84 percent of kiosks installed in 1995, but Venture Development Corporation (VDC, 1996c) expects faster growth in financial, government, and corporate use. Information-dispensing kiosks are about 60 percent of 1995 installations; the remainder are point-of-sale manufacturing kiosks (e.g., greeting card and business card printing) and transactional (e.g., product ordering, driver's license renewal). VDC expects faster growth in transactional kiosks than in information delivery kiosks, partly because return on investment is easier to justify for a kiosk that sells something than for one that gives free information. 14. The most detailed recent survey of disabilities by the Census Bureau is the 1993 Survey of Income and Program Participation. Although the data are now several years old, it is unlikely that the percentages of people with various disabilities have changed significantly. See http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/disable.html. 15. The survey involved interviews with over 26,000 adults. It measured skills likely to be required in work, home, and community contexts, such as locating and integrating information in a prose passage; writing new text; interpreting lists, charts, and graphs; and reading and using numerical information (U.S. Department of Education, 1992). 16. In addition, as Wallace Feurzeig observes in his paper in this volume, spoken-language interfaces allowing literacy training systems to integrate spoken and written communications could enhance training by enabling learners to build on their spoken language abilities. 17. Interoperability is being advanced through standards such as MPEG for video coding and H.323 for multimedia conferencing. There appears to be a trend for Web-oriented multimedia products (telephony, conferencing) to conform to these standards, which, in the immediate future, will make it much easier to communicate without elaborate prearrangements. Interoperability is also advanced, as described earlier, through the use of transportable software (in a standardized language and virtual machine), which removes the necessity of every party to a session needing to have all of the application software in advance, and distributed object systems, which allow existing applications on diverse computing platforms to interact with one another. Standards are taking on new meaning as a means for facilitating interaction between applications or customizing equipment with

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Page 70 transportable software, rather than being rigid constraints on the equipment. Networks, as well as applications, can be customized with transportable software, and programmable networks are a significant near-future research topic. 18. How and when these developments take place depends in part on relevant public policy parameters (e.g., the evolution of cryptography policy). 19. A document-centered approach represents a midpoint, in which people could use various applications, but would still have to access whole documents rather than data from within documents. 20. At the workshop, Robert Kraut, of Carnegie Mellon University, noted that because information is not a passive, inactive thing, it can have different values for consumers and producers. For example, a babysitter who wants to advertise to parents in the neighborhood probably values that information more than the parent who feels bombarded with advertisements from many sources. 21. See http://www-db.stanford.edu/∼gravano/standards. 22. Knoblock refers to information in the Web, but the observation applies more generally to all forms of information in the NII.