Gizmometer
A Heed-Based Monitoring Interface

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The Gizmometer display shows the user the heed of several situations.
Each situation display is characterized by:
  • a low resolution representation of heed, the history of heed, and a forecast
  • a simple grayscale color palette to limit the number visual mappings to be interpreted
  • a mechanism for delving into each situation to clarify the evaluation or identify causes for concern
  • a direct manipulation mechanism for adjusting the evaluation engine to match changing knowledge and conditions

The interface is designed to enable the user to make a quick evaluation of the situation and decide if the situation warrants monitoring. This is distinctly different from an alarm which directs the user to take mitigating action and from large dashboards of sensor readings that enable diagnosis. A heed-based display works in conjunction with alarms and dashboards. It enables a user to forecast that an alarm may be triggered soon, and it directs the user to which sensor dashboard to monitor.

A heed-based display helps a user know when and what to monitor.
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Graph View

At its heart, the gizmometer display is a low-resolution graph of heed vs. time. The left half of the graph shows the history of heed and the right side shows a forecast of heed based on the forecast of the underlying sensors. The gray value maps to likelihood.
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Slider View

Using animation, the graph view collapses into a slider view to convey the relationship of the history and the forecast in this compact, essentially orthogonal, view. The slider view highlights the current heed of the situation and gives an indication how the heed is changing. By clicking the slider view again, the view transforms back to the graph view.

A graph view collapsing into the slider view

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Editing
The fundamental concept behind heed-based monitoring is the support of a user's subjective evaluation of a situation. Subjectivity requires that the user be able to modify how the evaluation engine performs its calculations. Editing of the evaluation engine occurs in the interface directly. A user drags the indicated heed to the position that better fits their own evaluation of the situation. The gizmometer interface then immediately adjusts the engine to match that evaluation.
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Authoring
Subjectivity begins with empowering the user to define what situations would warrant their attention. They use the heed framework to describe those situations, which are recorded in an XML file. The XML file can be modified at any time to accommodate other mitigating or contributing conditions.
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  • More details about the gizmometer interface can be found in my dissertation (10MB pdf).
  • See four unique applications of the gizmometer interface below: