Ruprecht-Karls-Universität HeidelbergPsychologisches Institut
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Forschung > BMFT-Projekt OPTIMANU > Manuals for video recorder

Manuals for video recorder

Manuals for video recorder:
Selection of text using the theory of finite automata

"Joachim Funke" & Heike Gerdes

Improvements in the design of manuals were up to now concerned primarily with features of layout. The present article tries to point out how to make a selection of content of the information to be given to a user. Starting with the theory of finite automata as a tool for describing how a device works, we then construct transition matrices which can be transformed into procedural text. For illustrating purposes we selected the task of timer programming of a video recorder. A total of 40 novice subjects were confronted with either the original manual or with the version for which we improved the content selection. After reading the manual subjects had to fulfill certain programming tasks. It shows up that there are advantages of the improved manual on measures of performance and knowledge. These advantages hold only for the initial learning phase, but this time period is a critical one for novices. So the proposed strategy of optimizing manuals seems promising especially if one adds further treatments which are mentioned in the final comment.

Source: Zeitschrift für Arbeitswissenschaft, 1993, 47, 44-49.

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Zuletzt bearbeitet am 02.04.2008 von JF.