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authors Bhavnani, S., Flemming, U., Forsythe, D.E., Garrett, J.H., and Shaw, D.S.
year 1995
title Understanding and Assisting CAD Users in the Real World
source Computing in Design - Enabling, Capturing and Sharing Ideas [ACADIA Conference Proceedings / ISBN 1-880250-04-7] University of Washington (Seattle, Washington / USA) October 19-22, 1995, pp. 209-227
summary In spite of the rapid increase in functionality and resources provided by CAD systems, productivity growth expected from their use has been difficult to achieve. Although many surveys describe this "productivity puzzle", few studies have been conducted on actual CAD users to understand its causes. In an effort to understand this issue, the first author visited a federal architectural office and observed CAD users in their natural setting using ethnographic techniques developed by cultural anthropologists. This paper describes preliminary results obtained from the study. The study revealed that users had leveled-off in their learning and experimentation and were using the CAD system in sub-optimal ways. The authors argue that this sub-optimal usage occurs because users have limited ways to learn better or different ways of executing tasks. The authors propose that CAD systems should provide active assistance, that is, intervene spontaneously with advice, assistance, and relevant information while the user interacts with the system. They conclude with some issues revealed by the study that should be considered when developing such active assistance.

series ACADIA
email bhavnani@umich.edu
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