How people interpret and react to everyday automation issues
Preusse, Kimberly C.
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Automation is frequently used in everyday life. However, automation can err and thereby complicate human-automation interactions. Current human-automation literature has investigated cues (e.g., frequency) people use to know that an automation issue has occurred (e.g., Itoh, Abe, & Tanaka, 1999) but has lacked investigation into the interpretation people have of the issues. Additionally, there is a need to understand how people respond to automation issues when the constraints of an experimental setting are lifted and response options can range beyond continuing to use the automation or ceasing use of the automation (e.g., Dzindolet, Peterson, Pomranky, Pierce, & Beck, 2003). The present study utilized two different interview methods to qualitatively examine the cues people used to interpret an automation issue, their interpretation of the issue, the reasons they use in deciding how to respond, and the response strategies they have for an automation issue. Results demonstrate the generalizability of cues currently in the human-automation literature and reveal previously undocumented cues (e.g., measurement comparison). Further, users do not always interpret issues causally, and may instead interpret issues generally or may understand where the issue occurred but not why (i.e., specifically). The cues people use to understand automation issues differ on if they interpreted an issue generally, specifically, or causally. Results also documented the additional response strategies of (1) gather information or seek help to get the issue fixed, (2) change or monitor the user’s behavior in the situation, and (3) try to fix it on my own. The reasons people gave for their responses included various types of knowledge, the importance of the issue for their purpose of use, the ease with which the response could be implemented, the availability of alternative actions, the frequency and size of the error, and the range of situations within which the issue occurred. These reasons people use in selecting a response strategy differ depending on the strategy they select. Conceptual models of issue interpretation and response selection are presented to document the different relationships between cues to errors and issue interpretation, and between reasons and responses. To help with troubleshooting, designers should incorporate cues to errors to help promote the necessary understanding by the user and incorporates reasons for responses to help promote the necessary actions of the user.