The nature of user interface design — The role of domain knowledge

  • Jan Gulliksen
  • Bengt Sandblad
  • Mats Lind
Part of the IFIP Advances in Information and Communication Technology book series (IFIPAICT)


The importance and growing awareness of domain knowledge acquisition in information systems development and, especially, in the process of design of human-computer interfaces, are becoming more evident. In several in-house development projects, methods for efficiently capturing and utilising domain knowledge have been defined and tested (e.g., through the definition of domain specific style guides and analysis of information utilisation). Also, methods for modelling case handling work in general terms, which is the main application focus of our studies, have been developed and tested in larger organisations.

This paper focuses on the relation between domain knowledge models and conceptual models in information system development and user models in human-computer interaction. Based on Norman’s model of user perception of an existing computer system, different limitations are identified and possible extensions are discussed. By introducing the domain context, several additional models of the work task by the user, as well as the designer, occur. If the dynamic iterative system development process is regarded, additional models and dynamic changes in the models over time can be traced. Furthermore, these models are related to the state-of-the-art knowledge on mental models and domain modelling. Implications for design, such as work modelling, iterative system development, analysis of information utilisation, design and evaluation methods, are discussed.


Mental models design methods domain knowledge iterative system development 


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Copyright information

© IFIP International Federation for Information Processing 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jan Gulliksen
    • 1
  • Bengt Sandblad
    • 1
  • Mats Lind
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for Human-Computer StudiesUppsala UniversityUppsalaSweden

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