Optimizing operatoragent interaction in intelligent adaptive interface design: A conceptual framework

Ming Hou, Haibin Zhu, Mengchu Zhou, G. Robert Arrabito

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


Intelligent adaptive interfaces (IAIs) are emerging technologies that promise opportunities for enhancing performance in complex sociotechnical environments, such as multiple uninhabited aerial vehicle (UAV) control. However, a lack of established design guidelines for such advanced interfaces makes many designs costly and ineffective. In this paper, a generic conceptual framework for developing IAIs is proposed to guide interface design. The framework integrates a user-centered design approach with the concept of proactive use of adaptive intelligent agents (AIAs), aiming at maximizing overall system performance. Based on existing design approaches, identified challenges, and IAI design needs, the framework uses a multiple-agent hierarchical structure to allocate tasks between operators and agents for optimizing operatoragent interaction. These AIAs provide interface aids as a means of reducing operator workload, and increasing situation awareness and operational effectiveness. The framework and associated IAI models provide guidance to design a knowledge-based system, such as a UAV control station interface.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number5508315
Pages (from-to)161-178
Number of pages18
JournalIEEE Transactions on Systems, Man and Cybernetics Part C: Applications and Reviews
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Software
  • Information Systems
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


  • Adaptive intelligent agent (AIA)
  • human-automation interaction
  • human-computer interface
  • intelligent adaptive interface (IAI)
  • operator interface design
  • operator-agent interaction
  • uninhabited aerial vehicle (UAV)


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