Improving Usability in Information Services: User Interface Evaluation Metrics and New Widgets

Last year we evaluated Platform Independent User Interface Builders to design and build GUI applications with one set of source code that can be compiled and run on multiple hardware and windowing environments. This year we created several "next generation" GUI widgets which constitute the University of Maryland Widget Library (TM) including the range slider, AlphaSlider, secure toggles, treemap, and treeview widgets. This widget library, which was documented with a new specification notation, will be distributed to the Galaxy community. It was used to create the FilmFinder application, an integrated environment for finding films based on dynamic queries, a starfield display, and tight coupling.

We created automated evaluation metrics that designers and programmers can use to help ensure user interfaces adhere to the tenets of high quality user interface design. These tenets include interface consistency with respect to word use, object use, and standards guidelines; proper positioning of objects for task performance, comprehensibility, information density, and aesthetics; an appropriate mix of GUI objects; user interaction logging for use patterns; etc. This environment will aid in creating consistent and powerful GUI applications plus adhering to design guidelines and established recommendations.


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