Computer Science Department
School of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University


IETM Usability: Using Empirical Studies to Improve Performance Aiding

Jane Siegel, Elaine Hyder, Jack Moffett, Elise Nawrocki

May 2001
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(Color Version)
(Color Version)

Keywords: Information searches, interface design, navigation, performance aiding, mobile computers, interactive electronic technical manuals

Substantial expectations have been set about the effectiveness and role that high level Interactive Electronic Technical Manuals (IETMs) for performance aiding will play in enabling lesser skilled U.S. Navy maintainers to perform their jobs. This empirical study about the design and effectiveness of high level IETMs provides baseline and comparative data about two high level IETM interfaces used for one F/A-18 aircraft maintenance task. Eight maintainers whose experience levels varied from new (less than one month) to very experienced (more than eight years) participated in this study. Both baseline and "with IETM" data collection efforts occurred at China Lake Naval Weapons Station. Study results include performance data and insights about needed improvements to attain correctness, speed, and ease of use in information search, navigation and magnification activities. Differences in expert and novice preferences and performance were documented to inform future adaptive interface design efforts. The maintainers who participated were unanimously enthused about the possibility of having improved IETMs on small mobile computers for performance aiding in the near future.

41 pages

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