Representational frameworks and models for human-computer interfaces
This paper is mainly based on discussions between a computer scientist and a psychologist concerning models of human-computer interaction. It tries to specify what a model is, which purpose it serves, and which components of human-computer interaction have to be modelled. Furthermore, these specifications are compared with already existing models.
Models are discussed recently in connection with building up an adequate user interface architecture. Design criteria are needed to construct interfaces which take into consideration human information processing abilities as well as task structures represented by the human. Hereby, "Architecture means the complete and formal description of the surface of a system seen from a well-defined interface. Therefore, architecture is more than the usual specification. Architecture also contains a model of the user and a model of the communication between a user and a system ... Architecture does not refer to the product only. With the same weight, architecture refers to the production process and its documentation" (Zemanek 1982; translated by the authors).
To meet these requirements, models of human behavior in interaction with computer systems are needed. Several models of human-computer interaction have been worked out in the past. They differ however very much in the aspects they describe. A classification of these models has not been done yet.
In this paper an attempt is made to clarify the knowledge and methods that are required to build up an adequate model of human-computer interaction and would help to formulate an abstract architecture. Central roles in the discussion play the terms model and representational framework. It must be pointed out that the first step in building up an architecture is the complete formal specification of the virtual system from an intended user's point of view.
KeywordsVirtual Machine Mental Representation Symbolic Representation Sign Notation Task Space
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