Summary and Info
As the computer gradually automates human-oriented tasks in multiple environ ments, the interface between computers and the ever-wider population of human users assumes progressively increasing importance. In the office environment, for instance, clerical tasks such as document filing and retrieval, and higher-level tasks such as scheduling meetings, planning trip itineraries, and producing documents for publication, are being partially or totally automated. The range of users for office oriented software includes clerks, secretaries, and businesspersons, none of whom are predominantly computer literate. The same phenomenon is echoed in the factory production line, in the securities trading floor, in government agencies, in educa tional institutions, and even in the home. The arcane command languages of yes teryear have proven too high a barrier for smooth acceptance of computerized func tions into the workplace, no matter how useful these functions may be. Computer naive users simply do not take the time to learn intimidating and complex computer interfaces. In order to place the functionality of modem computers at the disposition of diverse user populations, a number of different approaches have been tried, many meeting with a significant measure of success, to wit: special courses to train users in the simpler command languages (such as MS-DOS), designing point-and-click menu/graphics interfaces that require much less user familiarization (illustrated most clearly in the Apple Macintosh), and interacting with the user in his or her language of choice.
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