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  • Reviser:
    Rapid Evaluation of Interactive Systems using Expert Knowledge

    The development time of interactive systems is decreasing rapidly while the stress of competition rises. Due to this fact the use of tools for usability evaluation is getting increasing attention. Simultaneously, the quantity of standards and guidelines which have to be regarded rises as well as the errors by their manual application.

    A couple of tools for automatic guideline review exist which only focus on the evaluation of location and arrangement of GUI objects (within the scope of the GUI design). Just a few tools consider the used terms (information design – wording) whereas no tool exists which is able to evaluate the use of operating controls referring to the conformity with user expectations (interaction design).

    In my Phd-thesis a concept for the automatic criteria oriented usability evaluation of all design areas (GUI design, wording, interaction design) by verifying the guideline conformity is developed. This concept is realised in the tool Reviser (Rapid EValuation of Interactive Systems using ExpeRt knowledge). Reviser is designed as an expert system which enables the dialog based specification of criteria in terms of rules. Designated areas of application are menu based interactive systems like cell phones or driver information systems.
    For the evaluation of the GUI design numerous metrics for measuring the colouring, location and arrangement of GUI objects are implemented. Furthermore the consistency of the GUI as a predictor for user satisfaction and strain is quantified.
    For the evaluation of the wording a comparison of used terms with a given ontology will be performed. The ontology represents the semantic relations of terms of menu based systems and has to be determined empirically. The static evaluation of the interaction design based on a formal system specification is not possible. Hence an autonomous agent is used for the first time, which is able to operate on an interactive system using a-priori knowledge.
    For demonstration of the tools’ ability, two driver information systems (Audi MMI, BMW iDrive) are evaluated. The systems differ in the type of user controls, the menu construction and the information presentation. Reviser was able to identify different errors of the system designs and generates numerous suggestions and remarks for the improvement of both designs. Additionally, an empirical evaluation validates almost all of the results automatically generated by Reviser. This shows that Reviser is the first tool, which has the ability to perform an automatic criteria orientated usability evaluation of interactive systems covering all design areas.

    Additional informations can be found in the following publications:

    If you are interested in using Reviser, please contact me (email below).