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					 Computer-Mediated
Communication: who is
  mediating what?

      John Bateman
   University of Bremen
                Three areas of inquiry
                          for this talk
• the role and nature of the
  communication itself

• the role and function of the ‘user-
  receiver’

• the position and role of the
  computer
StartingPoints
                                                                                   Person


        Person                      Computer



                          HCI                                                  Computer

     Computer as               “from tool to medium”
     Machine or                                                           Medium
     Tool


                                                                                   Person



 adapted from: Höller, Heinzpeter: "Kommunikationssysteme - Normung und              CMC
 soziale Akzeptanz", Braunschweig 1993, S. 107 ff.
        Some Motivations
• ‘anytime’/ ‘anyplace’ interaction

• re-use of materials for wider audience



• re-purposing of materials
  Person
                              Information Re-Use
                        Information Re-purposing


           Computer




                                              Person



Person                               Person
                            Person

               Person
               I:
   The role and nature of the
     communication itself
• explore ways of characterizing activity that
  occurs in computer mediated
  communication systems

• analyses in CMC have tended to concentrate
  on the group activities from a social
  perspective
Classification of situations according
to time and place                    Johansen 1992
  Approaches from Linguistics:
      e.g., register theory
• The language that occurs in a situation is
  critically responsive to that situation

  – features of the situation systematically call for
    particular kinds of features in the language
  – features of the language are one of the main
    means by which speakers judge their
    communicative situations
                    Language:
Context                semantics,
                       grammar,
                       phonology,...


                                          Written
                                     permanent record
                                 more anonymous audiences
             Spoken
joint, interactive achievement
       specific audiences
                 Contrasting forms
     “In your reply to David’s message at
     21-Jan-2000 09:21:12 you said “that
     sucks”, but this is not what you said at
     21-Jan-2000 09:20:30 to Pete.”


     “Hey, you just told Pete it was OK.”
   Attention and Temporal
                              Participant+ Point of
              Addressees
possible disagreement
                    proximity
                               Contrast disagreement
       marker        marker
         Contrasting forms
“In your reply to David’s message at
21-Jan-2000 09:21:12 you said “that
sucks”, but this is not what you said at
21-Jan-2000 09:20:30 to Pete.”


“Hey, you just told Pete it was OK.”
            Consequences...
• interaction is a very exact thing!

• the degree of success or otherwise of a
  CMC-system that attempts to support
  relatively free interaction will be directly
  related to the extent to which it has
  managed to simulate the ‘immediacy’ and
  the ‘placement’ of expression normal with
  speech
                   II:
       The role and function of the
             ‘user-receiver’
             Person
              Person       Computer        Person


learning,
              Educator
distance learning                        Student
            Interactants
communication                         Interactants
business   Company                         Client
CSCW       Workers                      Workers
        II: The role and function of the
                 ‘user-receiver’

MULATION
             Person
              Person         Computer           Person


             Student                       Student

    learning,
ance learning Educator                      Student
              Interactants
   communication                        Interactants
       business
              Company                         Client
        CSCW Workers                       Workers
 Person
                               Customization
                         Information tailoring


          Computer




                                         Person

Person

                       Person
                                Person

              Person
     Respecting the needs of the
     receiver is relatively new!
• how appropriate documents are for their
  readers is one focus of development within
  Graphic Design®Document
  Design®Information Design this century

• still underestimated to what extent the
  reader needs to be considered

• (note: parallel but largely independent of UI-work)
        The functional turn

• With schools of graphic design such as the
  Bauhaus and the Swiss School, the role of
  communicative purpose and function was
  brought into typography and document
  design

• this has also developed, as with CMC,
  alongside emerging technologies...
                                          gannets
Redistribution of                                                1972
Information across                                               The plumage is white
                                                                 with a tinge of buff on the head and
modalities and                                                   neck
                                                                 and dark brown, almost black, wing
across time                                                      -tips.
                                                                 Immatures are first dusky all over,
 Plumage white,                                                  later piebald or white sprinkled
 save the wing quills,                                           with dark spots.
 which are dark brown,
 not black as usually stated.
 The fledgling blackish-slate, spotted white.
 Immature till the third or fourth year,
 and recognized by the dark brown,
 chiefly on the back, wings, and tail,
 which colour diminishes season by season
 till at maturity reduced to the brown of the wing quills.

   1924

                  ADULT: White, black wing-tips,
                         yellow nape.
                  JUVENILE: Grey,
                         gradually becoming white
                         over 5 years.
                                                             1996
  Integrating Words and Pictures
Studies show that designers must help readers:
• search for the information they want in prose
  and graphics
• make sense of it once they find it
• construct a coherent interpretation of the
  prose and graphics
• generate connections between the words and
  the pictures
• put the information to personal use.
        ‘Rhetoric’ for organising
              information


• something that is perceived as necessary for
  good document design: and particulary web
  design and online interaction...

• but how to systematise and teach it?
        The GEM project:
    ‘Genre and Multimodality’
               (http://www.gem.stir.ac.uk)
            Stages in Analysis
• Content analysis: what ‘facts’ are being
  communicated?
• Rhetorical analysis: what is the RST
  structure?
• Layout analysis:
  – what layout elements are there`?
  – what is their hierarchical structure?
• Does the layout support the rhetoric?
    Relation between content,
rhetorical organisation and layout

 • examine the page layout

 • examine the rhetorical structure of the
   information as presented

 • look for interrelationships
Rhetorical Structure Theory: RST

       NUCLEUS                SATELLITE




     Replace spark plugs   so you don´t get the
     one at a time         wires mixed up.

                                        (Honda Civic car manual)
Example relation: motivation
                        motivation

presents an action in which the        NUCLEUS
reader is the actor and which is
`unrealized´ with respect to         Replace spark plugs
                                     one at a time
the context


   SATELLITE                comprehending the satellite
 so you don´t get the       increases the reader´s desire
 wires mixed up.            to perform the action presented
                            in the nucleus

EFFECT: the reader´s desire to perform the action
             presented in the nucleus is increased.
A simple case
Layout Structure: blocks
Rhetorical Structure of the Page

                     elaboration



                                           joint
The artic explorer
wears lots of warm                                 ‘material’
clothes to protect
him from the cold                               balaclava
                                           trousers
         windproof top         mittens
                                       boots
                  woolen underclothing
Layout Structure of the Page

         the page




     G      A       B   C   D   E   F
Content Analysis
                                          RST analysis
                                                                                    background                  background

                                                      elaboration

                            elaboration
                    body parts
     Tiger: pic                                                        attributes                     relationships                comparisons


                                                   weight length                             diet lifespan
                                                             height                        young
                                                       body                 season
                                                              tail   maturity         gestation
                    joint


                                                                purpose
                                                                                             means
      elaboration                         joint                       function
                                                     coat                                                             joint
                                                                      of stripes eyes              coating
                         hearing                  background
Tiger: mouth    joint
   (pic)
                                 back of ears           white spots                                    claws
            canines molars            (pic)              function                                     (pic)                    purpose

                                                                                                             claws       retract         why
Page Layout Elements
Types of element:            Layout Structure
     Drawing
     Intermediate
     Caption
     Textblock




        eyes        ears   coat mouth teeth   claws
Bad Documents and Bad Products
• When people experience difficulty in
  understanding either texts or technology, they tend
  to blame themselves more often than they should.

• This has potentially serious long-term
  consequences:
   – leading them to believe that they are incapable of
     dealing with complex technology
   – leading students (of any age) to believe that they are too
     incompetent to understand the subjects they study in
     school or the topics and technologies they must learn on
     the job.
            The ‘illusion of knowing’
Poorly designed textbooks can create more than one kind of
problem for readers. ... at times we may overestimate how well we
understand. ... College students... who read texts in which
experimenters had “planted” contradictions failed to notice the
contradictions. Suprisingly, after having read contradictory material,
students rated themselves as feeling ‘very certain’ they understood
the text. In fact, students had overlooked the contradictions and had
answered many of the comprehension questions incorrectly.


                       cf.     Schriver (1997:226)
                               Glenberg, Wilkinson and Epstein (1982)
                               Memory and Cognition 10(6):597-602.
             III:
 The position and role of the
          computer


Person    Computer    Person
   Exchange of Data mediated by
            Computer


Person          Computer          Person
         Data              Data
  Exchange of Data mediated by
           Computer

Person
                  Computer
           Data              Data   Person
         Person




Person
   Example: the Dartbio information system:
          Artist Biographical Data
        A
                                Automatic and
            A
                                Semi-automatic
                                 information
    A                             extraction
                                                 User Interface
                    A
                A                                 Information
                                                   Retrieval
    A                                    Data
                A
                                                                  User
                                                  Visualisation
                                  Structured      and Natural
                        A
                            A     Knowledge        Language
                                                   Generation
                                     Base
Authors
           Example: the ILEX system:
    Interactive Web-based Museum Explorer
            (University of Edinburgh)

           Form-based
           information
               input
             interface     Information
                             Request
Museum                       Handler




                                          Web-browser
Curators           Data                                 User
                          Visualisation
           Structured     and Natural
                           Language
           Knowledge       Generation
              Base
University of Edinburgh
ILEX System startup page

Automatic webpage generation from an annotated data base
        New roles and functions for
        the information ‘preparer’?
                                   Computer             Person

             Person
              Person
                              Structured

                       Data   Knowledge
                                 Base




    learning,
ance learning Educator                            Student
              Interactants
   communication                              Interactants
       business
              Company                               Client
        CSCW Workers                             Workers
              Symbolic Authoring
   e.g., Drafter project http://www.itri.brighton.ac.uk/projects/drafter
           Agile project http://www.itri.brighton/projects/agile

• Symbolic authoring allows a ‘writer’ to
  produce texts via a specification of the texts’
  intended meaning rather than directly as text
• A text generation component then converts
  these specifications into natural texts
• Advantages:
  – the text generation component can produce a
    variety of texts from the same information
  – e.g., variations in style and selected language
  – non-variation can be enforced, e.g., terminology
          Multilingual Document
                Production

• Producing documents from a single
  knowledge base source for different
  language communities

• Can either be:
    – translation based: text-in, text-out
    – generation based: authored content-in, text-out

• Can also be spoken
     (Verbmobil Project: http://verbmobil.dfki.de)
   New Technologies and CMC
• New technologies (such as Natural
  Language Processing) are changing the role
  that the computer can take on when
  mediating information

• There are already significant applications
  where information presentation is largely
  taken over...
USA Today: development of the “Weather Page”




    1981              1990            1994
           “Conclusions...”
• There are many places where linguistics and
  computational linguistics will come together
  in CMC

• Understandings of both the ‘rhetoric’ (more
  written organisation) and ‘interaction’
  (more spoken) are crucial

• One of the most important pieces of
  ‘information design’ to be done is
  visualising the interaction process in a way
  that builds on how spoken language already
  works

				
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