|Author(s)||Yutaka Yamauchi, Jack Whalen, Daniel G. Bobrow|
|Title||Information use of service technicians in difficult cases|
|Tag(s)||EMCA, Workplace studies, Information Use, Technology, Instructions|
|Journal||CHI'03: Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems|
Service technicians in the field often come across difficult service problems that are new to them. They have a large number of resources that they can draw on to deal with such problems, including both people and documents. We have undertaken a detailed study of technicians' everyday work, and have discovered two distinct types of information use, reflecting two different problem-solving practices. The less frequently used problem-solving practice is instruction following, where technicians follow company-documented Repair Analysis Procedures (RAPs). The second, more common practice is gleaning, where the information is gathered from many sources — including other technicians and informal tips, which are documents written by technicians describing their invented solutions to hard service problems. Our observations show how the informational and interface affordances of the system for accessing the tips support their easy incorporation into the gleaning approach for problem solving in difficult cases. We also recommend ways that RAPs can be augmented to provide affordances for gleaning, and more effective instruction following.