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Usability Engineering by John M. Carroll, Mary Beth Rosson

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CHAPTER 3 Activity Design

Sometimes even an obvious idea is a bad idea. Take the case of automatic meeting schedulers (Grudin 1990). Everyone knows that setting up a meeting can be tedious and frustrating, typically involving proposals, counterproposals, iterative checking, and confirming. This is just the sort of troublesome activity that computers should be able to help with—let the computer discover and solve the constraints imposed by conflicting schedules. But for such a system to work, it is important that all prospective attendees enter and maintain their personal schedules.

To the contrary, early studies of office work showed that electronic calendars are used largely by managers or executives as a communication tool for keeping their ...

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