Representational Reasoning and Verification
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Formal approaches to the design of interactive systems rely on reasoning about properties of the system at a very high level of abstraction. Specifications to support such an approach typically provide little scope for reasoning about presentations and the representation of information in the presentation. In contrast, psychological theories such as distributed cognition place a strong emphasis on the role of representations, and their perception by the user, in the cognitive process. However, the post-hoc techniques for the observation and analysis of existing systems which have developed out of the theory do not help us in addressing such issues at the design stage. Mn this paper we show how a formalisation can be used to investigate the representational aspects of an interface. Our goal is to provide a framework to help identify and resolve potential problems with the representation of information, and to support understanding of representational issues in design. We present a model for linking properties at the abstract and perceptual levels, and illustrate its use in a case study of a ight deck instrument. There is a widespread consensus that proper tool support is a prerequisite for the adoption of formal techniques, but the use of such tools can have a profound effect on the process itself. In order to explore this issue, we apply a higher-order logic theorem prover to the analysis.
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