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The why UI: using goal networks to improve user interfaces
Smith D., Lieberman H.  IUI 2010 (Proceedings of the 14th International Conference on Intelligent User Interfaces, Hong Kong, China, Feb 7-10, 2010)377-380.2010.Type:Proceedings
Date Reviewed: May 14 2010

A critical factor that decides the success of an application is the user interface. The more user-friendly and intuitive an interface is, the greater the chance that it will be effective, useful, and used. Smith and Lieberman argue that knowing how people set goals and achieve them can help in building applications that are aware of the users’ goals, which will help people accomplish their goals more easily and efficiently.

The paper is based on an analysis of data from 43 Things (, a Web site where people set goals, share their experiences, document their success, give and receive advice, and help and encourage others. Smith and Lieberman analyze the goal statements--what one wants to achieve--and plan statements--how the goal was achieved--from the Web site. Then, they use natural language processing (NLP) techniques to convert the goals and plans into goal graphs. These goal graphs (or goal networks) can be used to create intelligent user interfaces. The paper also illustrates the use of these techniques in a real-world application--a location-aware to-do list.

Knowing how to capture and manage the goals and subgoals of potential users will help designers and developers create intelligent and intuitive applications. This paper should interest application designers and developers, user interface designers, and usability experts.

Reviewer:  Alexis Leon Review #: CR137998 (1104-0435)
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