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information generated and communicated by a computer system in response to input from the user; typically it is provided to guide or confirm task-relevant behavior

Fitts’ Law

A predictive model of human movement developed by Paul Fitts in the 1950s. The model predicts the time for rapid aimed movements, that is, the time to acquire a target of a specified size at a specified distance.


A concept used in focus shift analysis. It deals with the objects of work as the anchoring point of identifying the level of human action. A focus shift draws attention to the shift between one level of action and another. It indicates the dynamics of the situation that is the main point of concern.

formal methods

In computing, this refers to the use of specification and analysis methods based on algebraic or set theoretic mathematical methods. It does not encompass all uses of mathematical analysis in computing, but it is principally applied to those concerned with the formal specification of discrete systems.

formal specification

See formal methods.


A philosophy or practice that focuses on the manipulation of surface representations or symbols with a disregard for the underlying semantics and meaning. This may be as a strong philosophical stance or it may be because it is believed that, in a certain situation and for a particular end, the symbols capture faithfully the underlying meaning.

formative model

A model that identifies requirements that must be satisfied so that a system can behave in a new, desired way if needed.

functional system

The functional system is the unit of intelligent activity that is analyzed in DCog; it may be composed of a collection of any number of individuals and artifacts. It is bounded by the problem, and it includes all of the entities that compose the problem space and which are involved in problem solving.



The “G” in GOMS, goals are what the user is trying to achieve through interaction with the computer system


GOMS is an analytic technique for making quantitative and qualitative predictions about skilled behavior with a computer system. The acronym stands for goals, operators, methods, and selection rules.

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