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Title: The Paradox of the Assisted User: Guidance Leads to more Shallow Behavior
Authors: Nimwegen, Christof van
Oostendorp, H. van
Schijf, H.J.M.
Burgos, Daniel
Keywords: Human factors
Interface design
Problem solving
Issue Date: 27-Oct-2005
Abstract: This research investigates whether certain interface styles (internalization or externalization) and cognitive style influence performance on a problem solving task. It is often hypothesized that performance on problem solving tasks improves when certain task related information is being externalized on the interface. This externalization is thought to assist the user by making recall less necessary and relieving working memory. Here, display-based behavior is provoked, which however does not necessarily instigate planning, understanding and knowledge acquisition. When this assistance on the interface is absent, certain task-information needs to be internalized, stored in memory. This is thought to provoke plan-based behavior, which may lead to better performance and knowledge. Another variable that influences user behavior, is “Need for Cognition” (NFC), the tendency to engage in and enjoy effortful cognitive tasks. High NFC subjects are assumed to plan more, leading to better performance and knowledge. We did an experiment using a conference planning application, in which effects of interface styles and cognitive style were compared. The results show that interface style indeed influenced problem-solving behavior, but NFC does not. The internalization interface caused more planful behavior, better solution routes and less reconsidered actions. We conclude that when a plan-based approach is preferred, designers should take care in giving a user (too) much help.
Description: Please cite as: Van Nimwegen, C., Burgos, D., Van Oostendorp, H. and Schijf, H. (2006). The Paradox of the Assisted User: Guidance can be Counterproductive. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI conference on Human factors in computing systems (Montreal, Quebec, Canada, April 22 - 27, 2006). ACM Press, New York, NY.
Appears in Collections:1. LN: Publications and Preprints

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