Personal tools
You are here: Home 1997 Vol 29, No. 1, January 1997 Workshop: HCI and Requirements Engineering Human Computer Interaction and Requirements Engineering
Navigation
 
Document Actions

Human Computer Interaction and Requirements Engineering

Papers from an Interdisciplinary Workshop, 15th January, 1996.

No earlier issue with same topic
Issue
Previous article
Article
SIGCHI Bulletin
Vol.29 No.1, January 1997
Next article
Article
No later issue with same topic
Issue


Introduction

The papers in this collection were presented at a workshop on Requirements Engineering and Human Computer Interaction. This meeting formed part of an inter-disciplinary series on the design and implementation of interactive systems. Previous workshops have focused upon Software Engineering and HCI (see SIGCHI Bulletin, 26(2), 1994) and Temporal Aspects of Usability (see SIGCHI Bulletin, 28(2), 1996). These earlier meetings deliberately had a wide scope. They were motivated by particular problems for HCI and hence drew a diverse range of participants. For example, the workshop on time attracted empirical studies of long-term training effects as well as research into formal notations for CSCW systems. Our intention was to repeat this approach by again drawing together workers in two different, but strongly related, areas.

We decided to concentrate upon requirements engineering because it offers a rich area for cross-fertilisation between Software Engineering and HCI. Methods of requirements engineering that originate from the field of Software Engineering have often neglected user requirements. For example, formal and semi-formal specification techniques cannot easily be used to describe human-computer interaction. Conversely, task analysis techniques have often focused upon user-centred design without considering the underlying engineering. They cannot easily be used to represent safety, security, performance or commercial constraints.

It seems surprising that there have been so few attempts to synthesise requirements engineering techniques for interface design and systems engineering. Both disciplines share a common concern to identify and analyse the needs of customers and clients. Both areas have recently identified a common set of problems which frustrate this task. For instance, in both HCI and Software Engineering there is an increasing concern that user requirements cannot be isolated from the external pressures of time and money. This works at two levels. Firstly, financial constraints impose pragmatic barriers to the development process. In Software Engineering this has led to the development of methodological techniques that can be used to gauge and monitor the early stages of the development cycle. These techniques are intended to control costs and support project management. Secondly, the problems of time and money can also impair the elicitation of user requirements from particular individuals within a company. Contextual pressures and the everyday stress of working in complex organisations can prevent designers from accurately gauging user requirements. In HCI this has led to the development of observation and contextual analysis techniques. A prime aim in this workshop was, therefore, to unify the project management skills of software engineering and the broad scope of requirements elicitation in HCI.

The level of commercial and academic interest in the problems of requirements engineering is illustrated by the fact that two new series of conferences have sprung up in the last four years. These are now well established. It is important to emphasise, however, that the concerns which are addressed in these meetings have long formed a focus for work in the field of HCI. For example, much of the work on task analysis has been inspired by the problems of determining what a system must do in order to satisfy users' goals and aspirations. Unfortunately, much of the pioneering work in HCI is relatively unknown to large sections of the Software Engineering community. A secondary aim of our workshop was, therefore, to prevent new generations of researchers from 're-inventing the wheel'.

Authors' Addresses

Chris Johnson, Department of Computer Science, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, G12 8QJ, Scotland.

johnson@dcs.gla.ac.uk

Sara Jones, School of Information Sciences, University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield, Herts, AL10 9AB, U.K.

No earlier issue with same topic
Issue
Previous article
Article
SIGCHI Bulletin
Vol.29 No.1, January 1997
Next article
Article
No later issue with same topic
Issue

 

Powered by Plone CMS, the Open Source Content Management System

This site conforms to the following standards: