(Featured Project Archive)
Reducing Complexity In Consumer Electronic Interfaces
Group: Software Agents Group
Researchers: Jose Espinosa
Project Web site: http://agents.media.mit.edu/projects/consumerelectronics/
We are reaching a crisis with design of user interfaces for consumer electronics. Flashing 12:00 time indicators, push-and-hold buttons, and interminable modes and menus are all symptoms of trying to maintain a one-to-one correspondence between functions and physical controls, which becomes hopeless as the number of capabilities of devices grows.
Consumer electronics devices are becoming more and more complicated to the point that the user is scare to manipulate them. These devices do not know anything about every day life and human goals and they show irrelevant menus and options. This problem arises, since designers try to maintain a one-to-one correspondence between functions and physical controls, which becomes hopeless as the number of capabilities of devices grows.
We propose instead to orient interfaces around the goals that users have for the use of devices.
We present Roadie, a user interface agent that provides intelligent context-sensitive help and assistance for a network of consumer devices. Roadie uses a Commonsense knowledge base to map between user goals and functions of the devices, and an AI partial-order planner to provide mixed-initiative assistance with executing multi-step procedures and debugging help when things go wrong.