Interface Agents

In this chapter the book talks about how agents are being designed to interact with people in a more human-like way. Examples were talked about, such as ones which help to search the web, instructors on how to do things, and they even give an example of a virtually embodied real-estate agent who converses with users. Personally I have used a few of these agents, in particular Microsoft’s ‘clippy’, and this experience was not very enjoyable because it seemed to never really know what I needed help with. I personally feel that tools such as this have such a hard time making the correct determination of the user’s needs because it must make this judgement while knowing very little about the person using the system and ultimate goals. What benefits do using such interactive agency systems provide opposed to more traditional methods and do you think that these types of tools will continue to be implemented in the future? Do you feel that a user will have a more rewarding experience recieving help from an interactive agent than a simple help menu?

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One Response to “Interface Agents”

  1. nsinex Says:

    I think agents work in certain situations. Namely, younger kids enjoy that personal interaction. I believe this is because kids aren’t in the same rush that adults seem to be in when using a computer. They are more willing to wait for the cute agent character to slowly tell them how to do something as opposed to adults who may be thinking “well if I could just read this information it would be a lot faster.” Kids are also used to being “taught” by a person whereas adults are more used to figuring things out on their own. I think a good compromise for adults might be an agent who help the user fins the information they need and offers to explain it to them, give them the text to read, or do both.


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