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The Management of Repair in Human Computer Interaction

Frohlich, David; Drew, Paul; Monk, Andrew

HPL-93-48

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Abstract: This paper reports an investigation of the initiation and management of repair in human computer interaction, from a conversation analytic perspective. It describes some ways in which pairs of novice users deal with what they see as `trouble' in the operation of a multi- window database system called SAMi. A typical sequence has the character of a user request followed by a pause or computer granting, leading to user repair in initial or third position. Three components of repair are identified as undo, redo or new; in which the user attemps to get the computer to undo a previous granting, to redo a previous request, or to grant a new request. Some common ways in which these components are combined, ordered and performed are illustrated with reference to transcripts of actual sequences of recorded interaction. The relevance of these findings for design is discussed, together with the future potential of the approach which generated them.

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