Not all Errors are Created Equal

Professor Andrew Sears (University of Maryland, Baltimore, USA)

Meeting Room A, DERI Building, IDA Business Park, Dangan, Galway 11:00 :: 26th January 2011

is talk will explore the issue of dealing with errors as individuals interact with error prone technologies such as speech and gesture recognition. As we design and evaluate user interfaces, we must select metrics that will be used to assess the efficacy of the resulting system. Perhaps the most common choices are the speed-error-satisfaction triad that we see used not only in usability studies but also in more formal evaluations such as those that appear in scholarly journals and conference proceedings. Two studies are discussed which involved error-prone technologies. Through these studies, it has become clear that focusing exclusively on eliminating errors may lead to less than optimal outcomes. It is in this context that we rethink the focus on eliminating errors. Examples are provided that illustrate the potential benefits of shifting our focus to the consequences users’ experience with errors.

Professor Andrew Sears:
Andrew Sears is the Constellation Professor of Information Technology and Engineering and a Professor and Chair of the Information Systems Department at UMBC. Prof. Sears’ research explores issues related to human-centered computing and accessibility. Some of his research projects have addressed issues associated with mobile computing, health information technologies, speech recognition, managing interruptions while working with information technologies, and assessing an individual's cognitive status via normal daily interactions with information technologies. Prof. Sears’ research activities have been supported by various companies, government agencies, and foundations including IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Motorola, NSF, NIDRR, NIST, and the Verizon Foundation. He is an Editor-in-Chief of the ACM Transactions on Accessible Computing and serves on the editorial boards of several journals including the European Journal of Information Systems, the International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, and Universal Access in the Information Society. He served as Conference and Technical Program Co-Chair of the ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 2001) and both General Chair and Program Chair for the ACM SIGACCESS Conference on Computers and Accessibility (ASSETS 2005 and ASSETS 2004). Prof. Sears currently serves as the Chair of the ACM Special Interest Group on Accessible Computing.

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