, Volume 8, Issue 1, pp 29-44

Designing user interfaces for problem solving, with application to hypertext and creative writing

  • Harold ThimblebyAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, Stirling University Email author 

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Interactive computer systems can support their users in problem solving, both in Performing their work tasks and in using the systems themselves. Not only is direct support for heuristics beneficial, but to do so modifies the form of computer support provided. This Paper defines and explores the use of problem solving heuristics in user interface design.

A demonstration hypertext system, Hyperwriter, was developed as the outcome of considering general problem solving heuristics as goals of interactive systems design. Whereas hypertext joins and relates ideas, Hyperwriter additionally, and as a direct outcome of the design approach, has ways of separating, ordering and polishing ideas. As an application for creative writing, Hypertext supports effective thinking over a period of time. (This paper was drafted, organised and re-organised using the system itself.) Some issues arising in implementing Hyperwriter are also discussed.


Problem solving heuristics Hypertext User interface design