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A Task-Based Approach to User Interface Design for a Web-Based Hydrologic Information Systems

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Hydroinformatics is a new and rapidly developing field that integrates knowledge and understanding of water resources with the latest developments in information technology to improve decision-making in many critical applications. It encompasses methods for data capture, storage, processing, analysis and visualization, and the use of advanced modeling, simulation, optimization and knowledge-based tools and systems infrastructure. Three types of hydrological data are most commonly used: flow rate in major rivers and streams, height of water in wells, and precipitation. To get a complete view of the state of water at a given point in space and time, one must analyze many different types of hydrological data together to derive information using an online GIS tool. To help use these disparate data sources more effectively and efficiently, we have built an online interface called the IJEDI WebCenter for Hydroinformatics using a task-based approach. In this design, we first identify the tasks that users perform to study water-related issues, then organize data for each task, and build task-specific tools to present and analyze data and information. In a study involving both novices and experts in hydrology, we found that the both groups performed water-related studies more effectively and efficiently than they would have without the WebCenter.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Computer Science and Engineering University of Nebraska

Publication date: May 1, 2006

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