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SIL Electronic Working Papers 1998-004
In search of task-centered software: Building single-purpose tools from multipurpose components
Simons, Gary F.
The humanities computing community has developed some great tools but they seem to be underused. A large segment of their target audience finds them too difficult to learn and use. This paper suggests that a significant contributing factor is the semantic gap between the specific task the user wants to do and the general functionality that the tool provides. It proposes a solution in which the developer begins with a task analysis of the work users do, and then pieces together reusable multipurpose components to construct single-purpose tools to support the various subtasks. An example is used throughout of tasks for which a lexicographer might use a concordance. The appendix gives a working demonstration of a prototype in which interactive Web documents use forms and components to implement single-purpose tools and use hypertext links to informational pages that provide integrated performance support.
|In search of task-centered software: Building single-purpose tools from multipurpose components|
|Keywords||computing; lexicology/lexicography; software development; lexicon/dictionary; concordance; Computational linguistics; Computer programs|