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Second language user support

Weir, G.R.S. and Ni, X.Q. (1993) Second language user support. In: 5th International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction, 1993-08-08 - 1993-08-13.

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Abstract

Computer users rarely experience entirely trouble-free interaction. The natural variety ofindividuals ensures that no software systems yield constantly fluent interaction for allusers. In consequence, software designers often strive to ameliorate this situation bybuilding 'user support' into their systems. User support can take different forms but,conventionally, each aims to assist the needy end-user by means of facilities directly supporting the performance of certain operations, or through supply of information thatadvises the user on available system functionality.The present paper briefly characterises a range of user support facilities before describingone requirement in greater detail. This aspect considers the needs of users whose mother-tongue is not English, but who are obliged to use English-based information systems. Inthis context, 'helping the user' must reasonably extend beyond mere advice on systemoperation to selective elucidation of information content. We regard this move as alogical extension of the user support concept, by seeking to address specific interactionneeds in a target user population. An example of this approach is described through aninformation system, in the domain of civil engineering, for native Chinese speakers ofEnglish.