Title page for ETD etd-07182005-162358

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Chewar, Christa M
Author's Email Address cchewar@vt.edu
URN etd-07182005-162358
Title User-Centered Critical Parameters for Design Specification, Evaluation, and Reuse: Modeling Goals and Effects of Notification Systems
Degree PhD
Department Computer Science
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
McCrickard, Donald Scott Committee Chair
Bowman, Douglas A. Committee Member
Carroll, John M. Committee Member
Hix, Deborah S. Committee Member
Sutcliffe, Alistair G. Committee Member
  • Usability engineering
  • Human-computer interaction
  • Information design
Date of Defense 2005-07-15
Availability unrestricted
Responding to the need within the human-computer interaction field to address ubiquitous and multitasking systems more scientifically, this research extends the usefulness of a new research framework for a particular class of systems. Notification systems are interfaces used in a divided-attention, multitasking situation, attempting to deliver current, valued information through a variety of platforms and modes in an efficient and effective manner. Through review of literature and experiences with empirical dual-task perceptual studies, we recognize a lack of unifying framework for understanding, classifying, analyzing, developing, evaluating, and discussing notification systems--fundamentally inhibiting scientific growth and knowledge reuse that should help designers advance the state-of-the-art.

To this end, we developed a framework (referred to as the IRC framework) for notification systems research based on a core taxonomy of critical parameters describing user goals. Next, we extend the framework, focusing on three key aspects: 1) a system description process, allowing articulation of abstract design objectives that focus on critical user requirements; 2) interface usability evaluation tools, enabling comparison of the design and user's models, while supporting generalizability of research and early identification of usability concerns; and 3) design comparison and reuse mechanisms, saving time and effort in requirements analysis and early design stages by enabling design reuse and appreciation of design progress.

Results from this research include the development of tools to express IRC design models (IRCspec) and user's models (IRCresults), and the extension of the critical parameters concept. Validation studies with novice designers show sufficient assessment accuracy and consistency. Leveraging these tools that help designers express abstract, yet critical, design intentions and effects as classification and retrieval indices, we develop a repository for reusable design knowledge (a claims library). Responding to challenges of design knowledge access that we observed through initial user testing, we introduce a vision for an integrated design environment (LINK-UP) to operationalize the IRC framework and notification systems claims library in a computer-aided design support system. Proof-of-concept testing results encourage the thought that when valuable design tools embody critical parameters and are coupled with readily accessible reusable design knowledge, interface development will improve as a scientific endeavor.

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