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Human Factors Laboratories in Information Technologies

Objective

The key objective of HUFIT was to provide the European IT industry with a means of developing world-class products more closely matched to the tasks, needs and characteristics of users, and made feasible and economic by the employment of user-centred design and development tools with effective, usable, and flexible user interfaces.
The objective was to provide the European information technology (IT) industry with a means of developing world class products more closely matched to the tasks, needs and characteristics of users, and made feasible and economic by the employment of user centred design and development tools with effective, usable, and flexible user interfaces. Some of the tools developed are described below. The human factors toolset provides an integrated approach to user centred design for use by designers and human factors practitioners. The intelligent user interface design tool (INTUIT) is a tool for user centred design in the construction of usable application software, in particular the building of user interfaces. Both the display formats and dialogue management components of interface design can be developed with computer assistance from the system. The computer human factors information service is a bibliographic information service dealing specifically with the diverse field of computer human factors (CHF). The service provides online access to a database of bibliographic references. The rapid prototyping toolset enables and supports prototyping and rapid development of user interfaces for experimental, evaluation and implementations purposes. The tools have been developed on the basis of an extensive survey of user interface management systems and dialogue modelling approaches. The multimedia expert system is a demonstrator combining different forms of information presentation and their respective forms of dialogue techniques. Collections of guidelines and appropriate software components have been developed which allow the designer to choose appropriate combinations of media and interaction techniques suited for the particular application domain. On the basis of empirical studies, a direct manipulation design guide has been developed which provides well structured operational advice and examples for the design of direct manipulation interfaces. The system for learning re quirements provides a structured methodology and tools for determining learning requirements and procedural knowledge for performing defined tasks with interactive systems.
A variety of human factors methods and tools were developed for the design of usable IT products. They exist in different forms, ranging from simple paper-based ones to an IT-based decision-support system which contains a large amount of human factors knowledge.
The most important methods and tools stemming from the project are:
-HUFIT, Human Factors Toolset
This toolset provides an integrated approach to user-centred design for use by designers and human factors practitioners, and contains: User Requirements Specification Tools; QED - Quick Ergonomic Design; Usability Human Factors Tools; Methodology for th e Identification of User and Task Characteristics; Documentation Design Tool; CUSI - Computer User Satisfaction Inventory; and IT Support for Managerial Tasks. Prototypes of the tools were developed. They are:
-INTUIT - Intelligent User Interface Design Tool
INTUIT is a tool for user-centred design in the construction of usable application software, in particular the building of user interfaces. Both the display formats and dialogue management components of interface design can be developed with computer ass istance from the system.
-CHF - Computer Human Factors Information Service
This is a unique bibliographic information service dealing specifically with the diverse field of Computer Human Factors (CHF). The service provides online access to a database of bibliographic references with abstracts, conference reviews, book reviews, citations to books, reports, standards, conference proceedings and non-book materials and journals.
-Rapid Prototyping Toolset (QUICK, Dialogue Manager, DIAMANT)
The purpose of this toolset is to enable and to support prototyping and rapid development of user interfaces for experimental, evaluation and implementations purposes. The tools have been developed on the basis of an extensive survey of user interface ma nagement systems and dialogue modelling approaches. QUICK is mainly concerned with speech interfaces. The Dialogue Manager supports the development of integrated graphical interfaces and has been further developed into a commercial product with numerous installations all over Europe. DIAMANT is an object-oriented tool which allows the development of integrated, dynamic multimedia interfaces.
-MULTEX, Multimedia Expert System
This is a demonstrator combining different forms of information presentation (text, graphics, images, animation, video, speech) and their respective forms of dialogue techniques. Collection of guidelines and appropriate software components have been deve loped which allow the designer to choose appropriate combinations of media and interaction techniques suited for the particular application domain.
-Direct Manipulation Design Guide
On the basis of empirical studies, a design guide has been developed which provides well-structured operational advice and examples for the design of direct manipulation interfaces.
-System for Learning Requirements, SANE
This toolkit provides a structured methodology and tools for determining learning requirements and procedural knowledge for performing defined tasks with interactive systems.
Exploitation
The project strongly influenced the national (DIN, BSI) and international (ISO, CEN) standard organisations in the field of usability and computer interaction. A widely accepted consultancy service has been set up for the transfer of human factors knowledge to industry.
A company, ESA, has been formed to commercialise the results of the project, especially DIAMANT, an object-oriented tool for the development of integrated, dynamic multimedia interfaces.

Coordinator

Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Angewandten Forschung eV (FhG)
Address
Holzgartenstraße 17
70174 Stuttgart
Germany

Participants (10)

BULL SA
France
Address
7 Rue Ampère
91343 Massy
Ingegneria C. Olivetti and C. SpA
Italy
Address
Via Campi Flegrei 34
80078 Pozzuoli Napoli
International Computers Ltd (ICL)
United Kingdom
Address
Cavendish Road
SG1 2DY Stevenage
Loughborough University of Technology
United Kingdom
Address
The Elms Elm Grove
LE11 1RG Loughborough
PHILIPS DUPONT OPTICAL
Netherlands
Address
Groenenwoudseweg
5621 BA Eindhoven
Siemens AG
Germany
Address
Paul-gossen-straße 100
91052 Erlangen
THE PIRAEUS GRADUATE SCHOOL
Greece
Address
Karaoli Dimitriou 40
18532 Piraeus
UNIV COLLEGE CORK
Ireland
Address
Prospect Row
X Cork
UNIV DO MINHO
Portugal
Address
Largo Do Paco
4719 Braga
WESTFÄLISCHE WILHELMS-UNIVERSITÄT MÜNSTER
Germany
Address
Spiekerhof
4400 Münster