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The need to improve and simplify interactive computing svstems has led to the study of the human factors of these systems. Out of these studies and a general interest in ease of use has come a variety of guidelines and techniques for improving human-machine interfaces. Some of the most important. techniques allow a user to obtain assistance automatically while using a computer svstem. An introduction to the problems, methods, and results in human factors and user assistance for interactive computer systems are provided in this paper and this issue.