Time design: The analysis of subjective time
Time plays an essential role in almost every aspect of developing and running socio-technical systems. For instance, acceleration is one of the main drivers of technological innovation; work processes become increasingly dynamic and require on-the-spot replanning; coordination, synchronisation and timeliness are essential requirements in diverse systems; decisions are often taken under acute time pressure. Where time is considered in design decisions, it is usually viewed as an external constraint (deadline view), as a descriptive property of behaviour (epiphenomenal view), as a stressor acting on the human operator, or as a variable that is to be controlled or optimized.
More recently, there has been a growing interest in a functional view of time supported by research into higher-level aspects of temporal decision-making (cf. Varey and Kahneman, 1992; De Keyser, 1995). A functional, or causal, view of time explores the ways in which human control behaviour is sensitive to temporal information and temporal knowledge, what heuristics and biases occur in temporal control decisions, and how temporal aspects of the system constitute degrees of freedom that the operator can use to make adaptive control decisions. Such problems lead us away from assigning objective time tags to human behaviour (as in descriptive approaches) and towards considering how we can design for subjective time, i.e. for the way humans perceive, attend to, process, and control temporal features of their environment.
DIRC has made the following contributions to this approach:
Microworld PumpPlant [requires MSIE]
Microworld PaintShop [requires MSIE]
Microworld When-to-act [requires Firefox]
PapersHildebrandt, M. & Harrison, M.D. (2003). Putting time (back) into Dynamic Function Allocation. Proceedings of the 47th Annual Meeting of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society (pp.488-492).
Hildebrandt, M., Dix, A. & Meyer, H.A. (2004).
Time design. In E. Dykstra-Erickson & M. Tscheligi (Eds.), CHI 2004
Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (Extended Abstracts,
pp. 1737-1738). New York: ACM Press.
Meyer, H.A. & Hildebrandt, M. (2002). Towards Time Design: Pacing of hypertext navigation by system response times. In L. Terveen & D. Wixon (Eds.), CHI 2002 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (Extended Abstracts, pp. 824-825). New York: ACM Press.
Card, S., Moran, T. P., and Newell, A. (1980). The
keystroke-level model for user performance with interactive systems, Communications
of the ACM, 23, 396-210.
Varey, C. & Kahneman, D. (1992). Experiences extended across time: Evaluation of moments and episodes. Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, 5, 169-185.
Michael Hildebrandt [hilde at cs dot york dot ac dot uk]
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