Using knowledge structures to redesign an instructor-operator station

Russell Branaghan, Christine M. Covas-Smith, Kenneth D. Jackson, Craig Eidman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Frequently, user interface (UI) designers must choose between modifying an established, but suboptimal and familiar, UI or to avoid such changes. Changing the UI's, organization may frustrate users who have become familiar with the original design, whereas failing to make changes may force users to perform at an unsatisfactory level. This paper presents two studies that investigate whether users familiar with a poorly designed UI would find items faster, and prefer a reorganized UI that conformed to domain expert knowledge, or would their familiarity with the original UI yield faster performance and higher satisfaction. This paper describes activities to redesign a menu structure in a simulator instructor-operator station (IOS) using hierarchical card sorting and cluster analysis (Romesburg, 2004). This analysis was used to reorganize the menu structure to reflect the knowledge representations of domain experts in accordance with the principle of proximity compatibility (Wickens and Carswell, 1995; Rothrock et al., 2006). The new design was validated with a separate set of users by a reaction time experiment and preference selection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)934-940
Number of pages7
JournalApplied Ergonomics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2011


  • Mental models
  • Menu design
  • Simulation training

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Engineering (miscellaneous)


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