Second Quarter 2013 Issue of the IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication Includes a Special Section on Designing Usable Systems for Self-Service

The second quarter 2013 issue of the IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication, available now both online and in print.

This issue features a special section that is likely to be of high interest to readers interested in the topics of user experience and design:  Designing a Better User Experience for Self-Service Systems.  This special section represents an international collaboration among guest editors Thea van der Geest and Lex Van Velsen in Europe and Judy Ramey and Stephanie Rosenbaum in North America.

In addition, the issue features a research article on virtual worlds, a tutorial on search engine optimization, and a teaching case from New Zealand.

How to read these articles: Members can read these articles either by visiting IEEExplore ( (a valid password and userid are needed to read articles online and download them) or by checking the most recently mailed issue of the journal (which also contains the second quarter 2013 issue).

Specific articles in this issue include:

1.   Introduction to the Special Section: Designing a Better User Experience for Self-Service Systems
by Thea van der Geest, Judy Ramey, Stephanie Rosenbaum, and Lex Van Velsen

Describes the purpose of this special issue and places their contributions to the challenges of designing usable self-service systems (in which documentation is often indistinguishable from the product) in context.

2.   [Research Article] Identifying User Experience Dimensions for Mobile Incident Reporting in Urban Contexts
by M. Winckler, C. Bach, and R. Bernhaupt

Despite the increasing interest raised by incident reporting systems, it is still unclear what dimensions of user experience (UX) and other contextual factors should be taken into account for the various stages of declaring an incident using mobile-phone applications. This study explores incident reporting in one particular context: a citizen-focused mobile application offered by a local government.  It specifically explores how citizens perceive and describe urban incidents; the user experience (UX dimensions that are important for reporting an incident with a mobile-phone application; other (contextual) factors that users find important when reporting incidents; and which UX dimensions and contextual factors are important when reporting an incident.

3.   [Research Article] Improving User Experience for Passenger Information Systems. Prototypes and Reference Objects
by S. Wirtz, and E. M. Jakobs

This case study explores how established patterns, means, and services influence the users’ first experience when encountering a novel self-service application: a passenger information system for public transportation that runs on mobile phones.

4.   [Case Study] A User-Centered Design Approach to Self-Service Ticket Vending Machines
by K. Siebendhandl, G. Schreder, M. Smuc, E. Mayr, and M. Nagl

Since their introduction, self-service ticket vending machines (TVMs) have become an increasingly important distribution channel in the public transport sector, progressively replacing the traditional ticket counter. In a public transport setting, where ticket counter closures have left different groups of people dependent on TVM to meet their mobility needs, a single, effective system is required. This research-based case study specifically explores the barriers that hinder use of TVMs; the requirements that barrier-free TVMs must fulfill; and the design of a new self-service TVM for a nationwide public railway company.

5.   [Research Article] Professional Virtual Worlds Supporting Computer-Mediated Communication, Collaboration, and Learning in Geographically Distributed Contexts
by P. M. Bosch-Sijtsema and A. Sivunen

Although much research exists on virtual worlds, few studies focus on professional virtual worlds used for working in a global setting. This study aims to fill that gap by exploring how do global managers currently use and experience professional virtual worlds (Virtual Worlds) as a communication media for global work and how these Virtual Worlds support global and professional communication in a geographically distributed context.

6.   [Teaching Case] The Frequency and Function of Just in British and New Zealand Engineering Lectures
by Lynn Grant

This teaching case explores the use of a common word we rarely think about: “just.”  Is just as frequent in the academic genre of university lectures as in other genres of spoken English? Does just have the same functions in British and New Zealand engineering lectures as found in a previous study at an American university? Does a better understanding of the different ways that just is used in lectures have pedagogical implications for professional communication, especially for English as an additional language learners?