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Analysing interactive devices based on information resource constraints

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Michael HarrisonORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Analysis of the usability of an interactive system requires both an understanding of how the system is to be used and a means of assessing the system against that understanding. Such analytic assessments are particularly important in safety-critical systems as latent vulnerabilities may exist which have negative consequences only in certain circumstances. Many existing approaches to assessment use tasks or scenarios to provide explicit representation of their understanding of use. These normative user behaviours have the advantage that they clarify assumptions about how the system will be used but have the disadvantage that they may exclude many plausible deviations from these norms. Assessments of how a design fails to support these user behaviours can be a matter of judgement based on individual experience rather than evidence. We present a systematic formal method for analysing interactive systems that is based on constraints rather than prescribed behaviour. These constraints capture precise assumptions about what information resources are used to perform action. These resources may either reside in the system itself or be external to the system. The approach is applied to two different medical device designs, comparing two infusion pumps currently in common use in hospitals. Comparison of the two devices is based on these resource assumptions to assess consistency of interaction within the design of each device.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Campos JC, Doherty G, Harrison MD

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: International Journal of Human-Computer Studies

Year: 2013

Volume: 72

Issue: 3

Pages: 284-297

Print publication date: 01/03/2014

Online publication date: 28/10/2013

Acceptance date: 02/10/2013

Date deposited: 16/01/2014

ISSN (print): 1071-5819

ISSN (electronic): 1095-9300

Publisher: Elsevier


DOI: 10.1016/j.ijhcs.2013.10.005


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Funder referenceFunder name
ERDF - European Regional Development Fund - through the COMPETE Programme
10/CE/I1855Science Foundation Ireland
EP/G059063/1UK EPSRC
FCOMP-01-0124-FEDER-015095FCT - Fundacao para a Ciencia e a Tecnologia (Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology)