Measuring Interaction Design before Building the System: a Model-Based Approach

Giorgio Brajnik, Simon Harper

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    Early prototyping of user interfaces is an established good practice
    in interactive system development. However, prototypes cover
    only some usage scenarios, and questions dealing with number of
    required steps, possible interaction paths or impact of possible user
    errors can be answered only for the specific scenarios and only after
    tedious manual inspection.
    We present a tool (MIGTool) that transforms models of the behavior
    of a user interface into a graph, upon which usage scenarios
    can be easily specified, and used by MIGTool to compute possible
    interaction paths. Metrics based on possible paths, with or without
    user navigation errors, can then be computed. For example, when
    analyzing four mail applications, we show that Gmail has 3 times
    more shortest routes, has twice more routes that include a single
    user error, has routes with 13% fewer steps, but has also optimal
    routes with the smallest probability to be chosen.
    Without MIGTool, this kind of analysis could only be done after
    building some prototype of the system, and then only for specific
    scenarios by manually tracing user actions and relative changes to
    the screens. With MIGTool the exploration of suitability of a design
    with respect to different scenarios, or comparison of different
    design alternatives against a single scenario, can be done with just
    a partial specification of the user interface behavior.
    This is made possible by the ability to associate scenarios steps
    to required user actions as defined in the model, by an efficient
    strategy to identify complete execution traces that users can follow,
    and by computing a range of diverse metrics on these results.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationEICS’16, June 21 - 24, 2016, Brussels, Belgium
    Publication statusPublished - 24 Jun 2016


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