37 Design of Visual and Auditory Human-Machine Interfaces with User Participation and Knowledge Support

Gunnar Johannsen

1

Introduction

Human-machine interfaces for dynamic technical systems (such as industrial processes, vehicles, etc.) are a particularly important and complex subset of user interfaces. The design of these interfaces has become so sophisticated that it can, already for quite some time, no longer be handled in an intuitive fashion. The designer needs to possess a huge amount of multidisciplinary knowledge and experience with respect to the application domain of the respective technical process, the available automation and information technologies, the capabilities and limitations of the human users (human operators, maintenance personnel, and others), work psychological and organizational matters as well as ergonomic and cognitive engineering principles of good human-machine interface design. Participative design is mandatory for achieving better human-machine interface products. This is a strong human factor concern that still needs to be implemented more often and more systematically in industrial design projects. In addition to a systematic design approach with user participation, different forms of knowledge support are appropriate means for achieving good design solutions. This article outlines the functionalities of human-machine interfaces (Sect. 2), describes systematic design stages with user participation (Sect. 3), explains possibilities of knowledge-based design support (Sect. 4), and exemplifies designs of visual and auditory displays (Sect. 5). Thereby, the paper summarizes several contributions from earlier publications of this author (JOHANNSEN 1994, 1995, 1997a,b, 1999, 2000, JOHANNSEN et al. 1995, 1997a,b). More references can be found in these cited publications.

C.M. Schlick (ed.), Industrial Engineering and Ergonomics, DOI 10.1007/978-3-642-01293-8_37, © Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2009

The environmental compatibility goals refer to the consumption of energy and material resources as well as to impacts on soil. as well as different normal and abnormal situations and states of the dynamic technical system. The means for achieving the goals can be separated into purely technological means and human-related means. particularly. the prescribed goals and the available means for their .. An appropriate goal structure needs to be specified in which these four goal classes are related to each other and further subdivided into several hierarchical levels of sub-goals. in risky systems. the knowledge-based decision support systems should be designed with a human-centered approach considering humanrelated means. All these means are implicitly inherent in the application domain but often need to be transformed for explicit usage. The productivity goals include economic as well as product and production quality goals. Other human-related means are available through different views on the application domain.500 Johannsen 2 Functionalities of Human-Machine Interfaces Any human-machine interface is installed between one or several human users and a dynamic technical system (the so-called machine. The importance of the safety goals is strongly influenced by the application domain. (2) safety goals. Further. too. situations and contexts of the human-machine system. The humanization goals comprise team and work organization. i. and cognitive relationships. and degrees of coherence. Most issues concerned with the design of the technical process itself are purely technological means. The functions specification for the human-machine interfaces depends on the goals and the goal structures prescribed for the humanmachine system. causal. job satisfaction. The supervision and control systems and.. functional. This may be described by structural. and cognitive compatibility. i. the application) which includes the dynamic technical process and its automation and support systems (JOHANNSEN 1992). The degree of automation also belongs to this category but represents human-related means. The tasks to be performed by the human users depend on certain scenarios. and on the tasks to be performed by the human users with the purpose of achieving the goals by appropriate usage of the available means. The latter includes the sub-goals of transparency and human understanding. navigational possibilities. and (4) environmental compatibility goals. Different experience and knowledge of the human users. even more. The human-related means comprise several issues.e. lead to different subjectively perceived tasks. and air. (3) humanization goals. parallel versus serial presentation. The overall goals of the human-machine system are mainly (1) productivity goals. water. This goal class dominates all others in many large scale systems and. These views consider the levels of abstraction. Knowledge about the application domain as well as about human users’ needs and strategies can be regarded as human-related means. on all kinds of technological and intellectual means for accomplishing these goals. the levels of aggregation or detail.e. ergonomic compatibility.

which are both typical presentation level functionalities. Among other subfunctionalities. means. multimedia interfaces with speech output (STREETER 1988) and other auditory information are. and the tasks can be correctly perceived and effectively performed.. • organizing sufficient and timely information transfer from and to the technical system and all its subsystems with respect to goals. and tasks (dialogue functionality). The Generating Outputs functionality normally contains a lot of graphical and textual dynamic pictures and is designed by means of special graphical editors. The presentation level is concerned with the problems of how to present the information to the human users. this includes the resolution of possible conflicts between different components with respect to dialogue requests to and from the human user(s). 1993). increasingly important (JOHANNSEN 2004). are separated from each other under the UIMS perspective (User Interface Management System). see e. can be designed as a quite complicated goal-oriented component for handling the dialogue between the human user(s) and all other components and subcomponents of the humanmachine interface and. The functions of any human-machine interface (HMI) should be defined in such a way that the prescribed goals can be achieved. The more traditional levels of human-machine interfaces. and • avoiding or compensating for human errors (human error-tolerance functionality). of the technical system (ALTY & JOHANNSEN 1989).g. also called Supervising Dialogue. means. the available means can be transformed and used appropriately. • supporting appropriate task perception and performance (task functionality). in addition. The dialogue level deals with the information flows regarding such problems as what information to handle at what time. The human-machine interface includes the functionalities of Handling Inputs and Generating Outputs. The HMI functions can be specified into the following global categories: • supporting the accomplishment of all goal classes (goal functionality). • supporting the transformation and usage of all available means (means functionality). The main mode of presentation is still the visualization created with the dynamic graphical editors. thereby. • visualizing all process and systems states with respect to goals. However. • supporting the human understanding by providing adequate explanation and justification (explanation functionality).Design of Visual and Auditory Human-Machine Interfaces 501 achievement strongly determine the types of tasks to be performed in a certain scenario. JOHANNSEN (1992). and tasks (presentation functionality). • supporting the compatibility and the adaptability of the human-machine interaction to the human users (user functionality). and how to transform their control inputs. Another human-machine interface functionality deals . The knowledge contained in the Generating Outputs functionality is represented in graphical objects and in related non-graphical information about the technical system (FEJES et al. such as presentation and dialogue. The dialogue functionality.

The design process itself can be viewed as a problem-solving activity. namely the human users and the machine. i. Hereby. possibly. A combination with proven theories and methodologies implemented with numerical algorithms often seems to be more appropriate. 3 Design Stages and User Participation Design processes in general and for human-machine interfaces in particular require a lot of human creativity and flexibility (ROUSE 1986). A user model functionality is needed if a certain adaptability to human user classes or single users shall be achieved (KOBSA & WAHLSTER 1989. and not only the knowledge of functioning in which the engineers are more interested (DE MONTMOLLIN & DE KEYSER 1986). and on user or operator models. Further. knowledge on human information processing behavior and cognitive strategies has to be represented in a user model by means of algorithms. rule. the structure and the functions of a particular application. it is not surprising that most designers rely more heavily on their thorough technological rather than on human-related and ergonomic knowledge (MEISTER 1987). on the goals as well as on technical systems or application models. The more explicit representation of such models in the human-machine interface leads to more advanced paradigms (JOHANNSEN & AVERBUKH 1993). A Technical Systems Model contains the knowledge about the goals. human users are involved in many of the design stages from the very early beginning of the development/design life cycle on (JOHANNSEN et al. Designers have to be generalists and several different specialists in one person. One way to do this is the participative design approach. it is necessary to take the knowledge of utilization from human end-users into account during the design process. the complete interaction between the humanmachine interface and both of its sides. active inference mechanisms. The humanmachine interface designers should be specialists in the latter but many of them are not. The functionality of the technical systems model internally supports all the other functionalities of the human-machine interface. Knowledge-based sub-functionalities of Tracking Interaction are responsible for updating the interaction context and for quality control of the whole humanmachine interaction. SUNDSTRÖM 1991). and opportunistic departures from hierarchically structured design plans are very typical with some designers (VISSER 1990). Dependent on the intended dynamicity.. Both the presentation and the dialogue levels can explicitly depend. In addition. Special participative . such knowledge representations may not be sufficient. Frame. A more elaborated user model will always include a technical systems model in order to represent the user’s view with respect to the technical system. rules. in their functionalities. and causal network representations can be used for building such a model. In order to better adapt human-machine interfaces to operational needs. and. the design style may be individually different. 1995). Therefore.e.502 Johannsen with Tracking Interaction.

The methodologies combine systems engineering life-cycle procedures with end-user participation and rapid prototyping. • Designers Perspective: The designer works more application oriented and with a greater certainty about later user acceptance when he or she considers the participation of end-users as an integral element of any good HMI design. systems without dynamic technical processes. should start with definitions of user classes. Besides the fact that the interfaces will be more convenient. task analyses are also necessary in order to have a solid basis for user requirements and systems specifications. Strictly speaking.g. of being able to exert an influence on the whole working environment. Further. overall goals and means for their achievement. e. However..Design of Visual and Auditory Human-Machine Interfaces 503 rapid prototyping tools are necessary in order to optimize the design in a cooperative way between designer and human user. it is restricted to human-computer interaction. User requirements should consider the goals-means-tasks relationships and should be based on a task-oriented perspective. taking a user seriously will also improve the overall task orientation and. such as humanmachine interfaces. e. many of the GUIDE techniques are also relevant for dynamic systems. the commitment to the work. Any user-oriented design of interactive software products. It also helps to mediate a feeling of “being asked”.e. Participation of users helps to develop interfaces that are much more appropriate to the task requirements.g. particularly for the functional specifications of the human-machine interfaces. . In addition. whether they are judged by the management or the end-users or even by the designers. The human user has the opportunity to concentrate on his or her application knowledge without the need to become knowledgeable about software and interactive computers. Methodologies have been developed that allow the support of designers of human-machine interfaces in their design and evaluation activities. thus providing a more efficient and secure way to handle a given technical process. this design method strongly emphasizes the presentational issues. • End-Users Perspective: Involving the users into the design process can be seen as part of a tendency to increase the overall capabilities and also responsibilities of the end-users. The objectives are to enhance the efficiency of these activities and to improve the final interface products. The objectives of user participation reveal a surprising multitude of aspects. • Management Perspective: The management is supposedly mostly interested in meeting the productivity and safety goals. The different types of objectives are briefly listed. i. This is particularly demanding for multi-human machine interfaces because several different human users have to be consulted during the participation process.. One of these methodologies is the Graphical User Interface Design and Evaluation method GUIDE by REDMOND-PYLE and MOORE (1995). yet also includes the dialogue issues. thus. Most of these aspects depend on the viewpoint..

Then. namely (1) the Goals knowledge module. 37. is based on all these specifications. The methodology starts with defining user classes and usability requirements (see Fig.1). Presentational issues and also navigational/dialogue issues are considered by the style guide. which needs to contain particular guidelines for visual and/or auditory presentation. Several iterations lead to progressively improved versions of prototypes via respective intervening evaluations and usability testing (see Fig. 37. 37. and (6) the Design Procedures knowledge . (2) the Application knowledge module. The example of Fig.2 presents six knowledge modules. The user object model is specified by the designer with the intention to support the development of an interface in which such a user object model may create effective mental models inside the users’ mind.504 Johannsen The design stages of the GUIDE methodology have specific objectives and deliver well-defined outputs. 37. It refers to the initial design of the interface and should provide a solid basis for prototyping.1). The stage of designing the HMI. task models and task scenarios are produced.1: Cognitive systems life-cycle development of HMI (Human-Machine Interface) displays (after REDMOND-PYLE & MOORE 1995) 4 Knowledge-Based Design Support The designer of human-machine interfaces can be supported by knowledge modules. in the narrower sense. (5) the Human-Machine Interface (HMI) knowledge module. Fig. (4) the Tasks knowledge module. (3) the Users knowledge module.

safety. the technological knowledge of the application domain is made available to the interface designer in a consistent form. Further. a task-related categorization of human errors will support the designer in her or his decisions. The Human-Machine Interface knowledge module (HMI Issues) works on the basis of the other modules that have just been described. development time. The Goals knowledge module contains information about operational design criteria with respect to efficiency and performance. as well as related knowledge about perceptual and cognitive ergonomics.2: Knowledge modules for supporting the designer of human-machine interfaces (from JOHANNSEN 1997a) In a corresponding way. and the information processing behavior of human users. the combination of cognitive task analyses with knowledge-based user modeling provides a way in which real human-centered designs of human-machine interfaces are possible.Design of Visual and Auditory Human-Machine Interfaces 505 module. Several goals-means relationships from the research literature as well as from industrial experience can be included in this module. producibility. and the perceived tasks. All this structural and functional knowledge can possibly be loaded from plant and control systems data bases as well as from the knowledge bases of the decision support systems. etc. The knowledge of this module interlinks the knowledge of the two preceding ones. as well as about the knowledge-based decision support systems (DSS) of the technical system. However. reliability. the cognitive strategies. but also as interrelated knowledge pools. costs. Thus. Typical task scenarios may be described as time lines and causalities of events. This module is the most active part of the knowledge-based designer support and contains several editors for the presentation. the task scenarios. Such users’ knowledge is more difficult to collect than the application knowledge. These modules should not be viewed as only separate support subsystems. Fig. the dialogue and the hypertext levels. The Application knowledge module comprises knowledge about the technical process and its supervision and control (S&C) system. the Users knowledge module supplies the designer with knowledge about the information needs. 37. The Tasks knowledge module considers the work organization. The levels of presentation and .

textual messages. They allow one to design different picture pyramids for different abstraction levels. Fuzzy logic is used for translating these natural language procedures into objects in the knowledge base of the human-machine system and. A multimodel is acquired through task. With the Multimodel-Based user display approach. economic efficiency. strategies. help or reminder to the design experts as well as a training tool or a demonstrator for design novices.506 Johannsen dialogue are linked with each other through object hierarchies. Additional editors may be available for creating hypertext structures as well as other data and knowledge bases. flow diagrams. functional diagrams. but also from a failure. The editors for the dialogue level are dialogue specification tools for designing information flow and state transition networks.and process-analyses and includes elements that contain knowledge about process variables.1 Designs of Visual and Auditory Displays Visual Displays In conventional human-machine interfaces. states. Great emphasis is put on the integration of the different models within the knowledge base to achieve a consistent visualization of the dynamic process (and the whole technical system) on the user display.g. Information about possible design failures and about how to avoid or correct them may also be included because designers can learn not only from successful experience. analogue and digital instruments) as well as all kinds of graphical symbols and other basic elements.. an interface is designed on the basis of a set of models that represents the process (and the whole technical system) on different levels of abstraction and from different viewpoints. 1993). (1997a) provided solutions to this problem with a Multimodel-Based user interface approach. of operators) and are stored as objects in the knowledge base of the human-machine system. different information forms (e. . The Design Procedures knowledge module comprises knowledge about successful procedures used by experienced designers. process goals. also. The knowledge about the technical system is acquired in collaboration with experienced users and expressed in natural language. 5 5. the visualization of dynamic processes is mostly realized by the use of topological representations. etc. as well as knowledge-based dialogue assistants. This module can serve as an aid. different window layouts. The editors for the presentation level are mainly graphical editors (FEJES et al. security classes. The latter may be oriented towards subsystems or subtasks. JOHANNSEN et al. All these elements are based on the experience and the knowledge of human users (particularly. This set forms the so-called multimodel. for the visualization of this knowledge on the user display. These kinds of user interfaces become very intricate when the functioning of complex plants has to be visualized. as well as with a Goal-Oriented Functional display approach.

during some of their segments. the sounds of .Design of Visual and Auditory Human-Machine Interfaces 507 The multimodel contains the following models: • A model of the human information processes involving human decision making.2 Auditory Displays The design of auditory displays has been investigated by JOHANNSEN (2000. The robot sound tracks actually used in the experiments of the supermarket scenario were the overlapping of the sound tracks of the intended robot trajectories and. Further details are discussed in the book chapter by JOHANNSEN et al. • A qualitative states-causal model. Two successive task scenarios deal with the directional orientation in an abstract open space with eight possible directions and. This model is not explicitly used in the design of the user interfaces. then. namely non-musicians and musicians. The development of style guides for auditory displays requires major efforts. A mobile robot in a supermarket scenario characterizes the example application domain. the states are “optimal”. The usability requirements include understandability and recallability of auditory sounds. with the communication of robot trajectories and states in a fixed supermarket floor plan. These are states of the process as perceived by experienced operators (e. classification and standardization. In the second half of the experiments. and the Ecological Interface Design (EID) by VICENTE and RASMUSSEN (1990). developed by LIND (1990).. This model contains objects that describe the critical subsystems. Two user classes are considered. (1997a). For all subprocesses. Waiting. For the work with the mobile robot in a supermarket scenario. Such subsystems have a qualitative state. These interfaces integrate the knowledge about the plant into the display. This was accomplished with basic musical elements and recorded robot noise signals. 5. 2004) over several years. Near Obstacle. The systems life-cycle phases of design and prototyping include the design of directional sounds and robot sound tracks. The directional orientation and the intent communication of the robot have been indicated to the human by means of auditory displays.). but it is applied in the design philosophy. namely the Multilevel Flow Modeling (MFM). Important user objects are directions as well as additional states such as Heavy Load and Near Obstacle. a heuristic approach based on knowledge from music theory and sound engineering was chosen. etc.g. mainly on the levels of research. state-critical subsystems in the technical process can be distinguished. and Low Battery. the additional sounds for the robot states and situations Heavy Load. The Goal-Oriented Functional display approach has been based on the integration of interfaces designed with two techniques. sound design. • A model of the psychological task levels of operators. This model describes different psychological task levels that cover the whole spectrum between the technical process and the actions of the human operator. “high”.

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