Research papers: mini-dissertation in human-computer interaction

In South Africa, most of our degree courses are presented over three years. An honours qualification prepares the student for further postgraduate work. I decided to record my students’ topics each year for posterity – [these changes are mine].

Student details are kept private for a good reason. If you’re interested in connecting with one of these students based on their topic, contact me.

Themes this year include gaming, social media, computer literacy, software development methods, e-education and usability.

User Interfaces for Social Network Privacy Settings


In this paper, I studied what the flaws in current social network privacy settings user interfaces are, and how they can be improved. To investigate the problem, I sent out a questionnaire, asking users of social networks to rate how difficult they found it to change the privacy settings specified in the questionnaire, for each of their social networks. I found that with privacy settings interfaces, that have all the privacy settings on a single page, it is easier to change the privacy settings; but if the privacy settings are not grouped well, some of the privacy settings might get lost among the [other settings].

The Effect of Gaming on Computer Literacy


With computers becoming increasingly central to everyone’s lives, it is essential that people are computer literate. We [investigated] the effects of playing computer games on computer literacy. In order to determine this, a questionnaire was placed online for people to fill in and 80 people responded. The questionnaire consisted of questions used to determine the participant’s computer literacy level, gaming level, gender, etc. Using these results we found that participants who were classified as gamers were in fact more computer literate than those who were classified as non-gamers.

What motivates people to sign up for beta testing?


Over the past few years the demand for software solutions have become greater, and together with this the demand for quality control and testing of the software. One of the major parts of software testing is beta testing, which aims to sort out the bugs in a program before it is released to the general public. In this study I investigated what motivates beta testers to sign up for beta tests.[…]

The majority of beta testers that only do game beta testing are primarily motivated to sign up for beta testing to see the game or new features before release. On the other hand beta testers that interact with developers outside of beta tests are more likely to sign up to help the developers [- the same] goes for beta testers that have been in beta testing for a long time.

Gamifying student participation: A participation feedback system to increase motivation in undergraduate students


This paper presents a discussion of participation and participation feedback. It describes the details of a participation feedback system for an undergraduate course, justifies its effectiveness, and suggests variations. The paper includes the design process and an exmple implementaion of the proposed system.

A subjective study of the influence of customisation on the video game play experiences in a Japanese role-playing game (JRPG)


Studies done in the field of customisation have shown that customisation has become an important feature in a video game. This study found its inspiration in a customisation study done on MMORPGs. This author proposes that customisation can also be found in JRPGs, and is an important game feature in this genre. This author proposes that having customisation adds to the engagement experienced by a player playing a JRPG. A literature review was conducted that addresses customisation in the JRPG genre, and a questionnaire was distributed to ascertain the views of current JRPG players on these matters. It was found that customisation in a JRPG affects the level of engagement players experience while playing a JRPG, specifically in the games, Kingdom Hearts I, Kingdom Hearts II, and Final Fantasy. Additionally, it was found that 90% of participants would be more inclined to buy a customisable JRPG. It can be argued, therefore, that customisation is an important game feature which, depending on how well it is implemented, could either add to or take away from the player experience (including engagement) in a JRPG.

Laptop Input Devices: A Comparison between the Usability of the Touchpad and the Mouse by Middle-Aged Users



This work presents conclusions of a test that was developed and applied to subjects in two different age groups using both the touchpad and the mouse to analyze differences in usability of two input devices. The findings suggest that the mouse is more usable than the touchpad.

The mouse was found to be more comfortable to use, it was also found to be easier to use and the results from the test application [imply] that using the mouse almost always resulted in the set task being completed successfully in less time than when using the touchpad. The younger group of subjects performed the tasks in an overall less time than the middle-aged group of subjects.

How social media [relates to] computer literacy skills


The purpose of this paper is to find a link between computer literacy and social media and ways to use social media to teach computer literacy skills. The paper defines social media and computer literacy. Questionnaires and interviews were administered to find results.


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