Automatic Critiques of Interface Modes

  • Jeremy Gow
  • Harold Thimbleby
  • Paul Cairns
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 3941)


We introduce a formal model of inconsistency-related mode confusion. This forms the basis of a heuristic methodology for critiquing user interfaces, using a matrix algebra approach to interface specification [12]. We also present a novel algorithm for automatically identifying modes in state-based interface designs, allowing a significant level of automated tool support for our methodology. The present paper generalises our previous work on improving state-based interface designs [5].


Model Check Action Mode Interface Design Algebraic Property Interface Mode 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Bredereke, J., Lankenau, A.: A rigorous view of mode confusion. In: Anderson, S., Bologna, S., Felici, M. (eds.) SAFECOMP 2002. LNCS, vol. 2434, pp. 19–31. Springer, Heidelberg (2002)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Clarke, E.M., Emmerson, E.A., Sistla, A.P.: Model Checking. MIT Press, Cambridge (1999)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Degani, A.: Modelling human-machine systems: On modes, error and patterns of interaction. PhD thesis, Georgia Institute of Technology (1996)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Gow, J., Thimbleby, H.: MAUI: An interface design tool based on matrix algebra. In: Jacob, R.J.K., Vanderdonckt, J. (eds.) Computer-Aided Design of User Interfaces IV, Proc. CADUI 2004. Kluwer, Dordrecht (2004)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Gow, J., Thimbleby, H., Cairns, P.: Misleading behaviour in interactive systems. In: Dearden, A., Watts, L. (eds.) Proc. 18th British HCI Group Annual Conference (HCI 2004), vol. 2 (2004)Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Harel, D., Naamad, A.: The STATEMATE semantics of Statecharts. ACM Transactions on Software Engineering and Methodology 5(4), 293–333 (1996)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Holzmann, G.J.: The SPIN model checker. Addison-Wesley, Reading (2003)Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Leveson, N.G., Pinnel, L.D., Sandys, S.D., Koga, S., Reese, J.D.: Analyzing software specifications for mode confusion potential. In: Johnson, B.W. (ed.) Proc. Workshop on Human Error & System Development, Glasgow, pp. 132–146 (1997)Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Miller, S.P., Potts, J.N.: Detecting Mode Confusion Through Formal Modeling and Analysis. NASA Contractor Report, NASA/CR-1999-208971 (1999)Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Rushby, J.: Using model checking to help discover mode confusions & other automation surprises. Reliability Engineering & System Safety 75(2), 167–177 (2002)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Thimbleby, H.: Character level ambiguity: Consequences for user interface design. International Journal of Man-Machine Studies 16, 211–225 (1982)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Thimbleby, H.: User interface design with matrix algebra. ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction 11(2), 181–236 (2004)CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jeremy Gow
    • 1
  • Harold Thimbleby
    • 2
  • Paul Cairns
    • 1
  1. 1.UCL Interaction Centre (UCLIC)University College LondonLondonUnited Kingdom
  2. 2.Department of Computer ScienceUniversity of Wales SwanseaSwanseaUnited Kingdom

Personalised recommendations