Map: 'user-exp.GIF'

Users' Experience

Image-500 was studied at Aftonbladet late 85 to early 86
A pilot installation of Image-500 was used and studied at Aftonbladet during late 1985 and early 1986. The function and use of Image-500 was compared to the requirements specification and the experience of the graphical users was collected and documented (see Utopia report no 21).
Liber-TIPS, Aftonbladet, Utopia and the graphical workers gained from Image-500
Several parties could benefit from the pilot installation:
  • Liber-TIPS gained experience for further development of the product and valuable contacts with qualified users;
  • Aftonbladet gained mental and technical preparation for a wider introduction of computers in the procuction;
  • Utopia gained a base for development of the requirements specification and for continued work with computer supported layout, human-computer interaction, technology development etc.
The evaluation of Image-500 was based on the experience of the graphical workers that used the system.

Image-500 versus earlier technology
Faster turn around and less chemicals
Compared to the conventional technology, which was used in parallel with the study, the new technology saves silver and chemicals, gives faster turn around and is open for an integration of image processing with page-layout. The conventional equipment was reprographic cameras and an electronic camera, Autokon.
Every operation can be checked immediately
Operations used for almost every image are cropping, scaling, tone correction and screening. With the new technology, the result of each operation can be inspected on the screen and the operations are at least as fast as before.
Considerably easier retouching, tone correction and composition
Image-500 also offers image processing that is impossible or time consuming with conventional methods such as retouching, complicated tone correction and composition of images.
Ethics of manipulated images
Advanced image processing requires a certain amount of responsibility and judgement from the graphic workers in order to maintain the confidence of the public to the image as documentation.
Drawing images in the studio
The use of Image-500 at Aftonbladet opens up for a wider use of images in the newspaper. The computer may be an important tool in the studio for creation of maps, diagrams and real-looking but synthetic pictures.
The study of TIPS at Aftonbladet increased the awareness of the graphical work and the shortcomings of the technology. The following remarks can be used as additions and modifications to the requirement specification.
Important to work with images in true size
The users stressed that it is important to be able to work with pictures in true size. Image-500 showed the images at the resolution of one scanned pixel per screen pixel. Images are usually stored with higher resolution than is needed for true size presentation on the screen. Therefore the users must be aware of that an image in true size is usually simplified. To have full control you have to work with an enlarged image.

A simple magnifying glass might be sufficient
The graphic workers found viewports difficult to grasp and saw no apparent use for them. The model has a very general viewport concept. A general concept usually has only a few properties and a very broad use. The problem is that a general model is distant from the practical application. In this case a more practical model could be one of the following.
  • An overview of the table in reduced size. The overview can have a fixed position on the screen. Images can be moved directly or via the overview.
  • A single window covering the whole screen with possibility to slide it relative the table.
  • A magnification glass with default size, position and power which can, however, be changed.
Separate material not to be screened
A required addition to the image model is a graphics layer for material, like text and borders, that should not be screened.
Indicate operands of image operations
Several image processing operations use a primary and a secondary image. Sometimes it is unclear to the user which these images are. Some kind of mark should show which image is primary and which is secondary.
Both analogue and digital input and presentation
Several operations use scales on the screen (sliders etc.) to input parameters. These scales give a good understanding of the value but turn out to be too unprecise. Scales of this kind should also have a number field that show the current value and that can alternatively be used for input.
Naming and using command sequences ("macros")
The users also found it very important and useful to be able to create and name often performed sequences of image operations ("macros") as one regular users' operation, cf Requirements specification and Developers' Experience.
Need for operating system knowledge
The graphic workers expressed a need to know more about basic functions of the underlying operating system. Immediately needed werw directory listing of images, and output queues, which of course could (and should) have been available as commands in the user interface, but there will always be in the user interface unanticipated situations, where the workers as system users will need access to commands at operation system level.
Information about the image
Finally an image should have additional attributes such as date of publication, theme, corresponding article and comment.

Björn Sporsén, Graphic worker at Aftonbladet: "TIPS is a very good system. You can see what you are doing with the picture which you couldn't see before. The greatest advantage with TIPS is that you can see everything that you do, so that you know what the end product is."

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Latest update by Axel Henriksson 96-04-16