Cognitive Systems Engineering for User-Computer Interface Design, Prototyping, and Evaluation

Cognitive Systems Engineering for User-Computer Interface Design, Prototyping, and Evaluation

Cognitive Systems Engineering for User-Computer Interface Design, Prototyping, and Evaluation

Cognitive Systems Engineering for User-Computer Interface Design, Prototyping, and Evaluation

Synopsis

This volume seeks to answer the question: "Can findings from cognitive science enhance the user-computer interaction process?" In so doing, it recognizes that user-computer interfaces (UCIs) are often essential parts of an information or decision support system -- and often critical components of software-intensive systems of all kinds. From the outset, the authors note that the design, prototyping, and evaluation of user-computer interfaces are part of larger systems and are therefore ideally designed, developed, and evaluated as part of a larger design and developmental process or "life cycle."

Thus, this book describes the process by which functional, nonfunctional, or display-oriented requirements are converted first into prototypes and then into working systems. While the process may at times seem almost mysterious, there is in fact a methodology that drives the process -- a methodology that is defined in terms of an adaptive life cycle. There are a number of steps or phases that comprise the standard life cycle, as well as methods, tools and techniques that permit each step to be taken. Describing the effort to implement this process to enhance user-computer interaction, this book presents a methodological approach that seeks to identify and apply findings from cognitive science to the design, prototyping, and evaluation of user-computer interfaces.

Excerpt

Many of us have used computer programs that were difficult if not impossible to fathom. Some of us have been active in the design of user-computer interfaces and interaction routines designed to make these systems much easier to use. Many designers of interfaces and interaction routines have relied on the impressive findings of the human factors and ergonomics research community; others have begun to enhance these results with emerging results from cognitive science.

This book is the result of successes and failures, and our casting "the analytical net" as far as we could throw it. We have relied upon conventional human factors and ergonomics, psychology, cognitive science, and even systems engineering to design, prototype, and evaluate user-computer interfaces and interaction routines. We have applied the "methodology" described here to a variety of domains. The book is as much about this methodology as it is about the applications.

It is difficult to separate user-computer interface and interaction routine design, prototyping, and evaluation from the emerging information technology available to all systems engineers. Sometimes it is very hard to tell which interface feature was inspired by the technology or a bona fide user requirement. This issue will remain with us; "requirements pull" versus "technology push" is a very real issue for UCI designers.

There is also the need to remain disciplined and systematic. We wanted to communicate a particular design/prototyping/evaluation "discipline"; that . . .

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