Bridging the information transfer gap: Measuring goodness of information “fit”
The ability to determine, a priori, how well an interface design meets the information needs of a user—that is, to ‘bridge the information transfer gap’—is a critical component of any intelligent interface design system. Yet most current approaches either sidestep the problem of computationally measuring ‘goodness of fit’ by compiling design knowledge into a set of pattern matching rules or, at best, use a very limited set of parameters in scoring. We describe a formal representation for capturing the information needs associated with user tasks and the information conveying capabilities of interface elements. A multifaceted scoring technique, using this representation, is presented for assessing a design's goodness of fit against current user requirements. The hallmarks of this approach are the explicit representation of the goals of good user interface design, evaluation of a proposed design against these goals and a computational approach to performing tradeoffs among these goals when incompatible. Finally, we report on the implementation and user acceptance of this design in an adaptive interface application for military attack/scout helicopters.