CogTool... Designers want to know how users will interact with their systems, but they often do not have the time or resources to test their designs with actual users. This is especially true for systems intended for trained users. It can be expensive to train users with a prototype, but unskilled users do not interact with a product in the same way as a skilled user. Cognitive performance modeling aims to solve this problem by predicting how a skilled user will interact with a system. Simulation and analysis take the place of expensive training and testing.
Predictive human performance modeling has one of the longest research histories in Human-Computer Interaction. Starting with Card, Moran, and Newell in the 1980s, the prediction of skilled performance time has enjoyed a constant stream of validation and expansion into many areas of user interaction with computers. Over one hundred research papers have been published about GOMS and the Keystroke-Level Model (KLM). Given its validity and predictive value, it is surprising that modeling has not become widespread as a tool for design in the user experience community. Our belief is that the cost of learning and constructing correct models, even ones as simple as the KLM, is perceived to be too high to justify the benefits of estimating skilled performance times.
We don't believe that this has to be true. With the support of tools, the time and training costs of performance modeling can be greatly reduced, and the accuracy of resulting models can be increased. Our project has produced a software application that takes the first steps toward these goals. We have already achieved great reductions in the time to produce new KLM-GOMS models. We have also shown an improvement in the accuracy of predictions compared to previously published examples of KLM.
Detailed information is provided in the CogTool User Guide. We highly recommend that you read this guide to get the most out of the CogTool system.
To help you get started quickly with CogTool, we have also provided a Tutorial. This document walks you through an example in detail, but it is not as comprehensive as the CogTool User Guide and it refers to the CogTool User Guide, so you need both.
The ability to execute task models integrated with driving is not available in the current version. If your primary interest is models integrated with driving, you may still use the old version, which requires a Mac OS X system (but does not run on Intel Macs).