Today's personal computers enable complex forms of user interaction. Unlike older mainframe computers that required batch processing, personal computers enable real-time user control on a one-to-one basis.
Such user interaction involves mixed initiative, logic, language and pointing gestures, features reminiscent of interaction with another human. Yet there are also major differences between computer interaction and human interaction, such as computers' inability to stray from scripts or to adapt to the idiosyncrasies of particular recipients or situations.
Given these similarities and differences, can we study computer interaction using methods similar to those for studying human interaction? If so, are the findings from the analysis of human interaction also useful in understanding computer interaction?
In this paper, we explore these questions and outline a novel methodological approach for examining human-computer interaction, which we call "computer interaction analysis." We build on earlier approaches to human interaction with a computer and adapt them to the latest technologies for computer screen capture and eye tracking.
In doing so, we propose a new transcription notation scheme that is designed to represent the interweaving streams of input actions, display events and eye movements. Finally we demonstrate the approach with concrete examples involving the phenomena of placeholding, repair and referential practices.