Giving undo attention

Gregory Abowd &Alan Dix

At time of publication: University of York, UK.

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Full reference:

G. D. Abowd and A. J. Dix (1992).
Giving undo attention.
Interacting with Computers, 4(3): 317-342.

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In this paper, we investigate the problems associated with the provision of an undo support facility in the context of a synchronous shared or group editor. Previous work on the development of formal models of undo has been restricted to single user systems and has focused on the functionality of undo, as opposed to discussing the support that users require from any error recovery facility. Motivated by new issues that arise in the context of computer supported cooperative work, we aimtointegrate formal modelling of undo with an analysis of how users understand undo facilities. Together, these combined perspectives of the system and user lead to concrete design advice for implementing an undo facility. The special issues that arise in the context of shared undo also shed light on the emphasis that should be placed on even single user undo. In particular, we come to regard undo not as a system command to be implemented, but as a user intention to be supported by the system.

Keywords: Undo support, CSCW, formal methods

Alan Dix 15/4/2000