Navigation and Planning in a Mixed-Initiative User Interface

Robert St. Amant

Mixed-initiative planning is one approach to building an intelligent decision-making environment. A mixed-initiative system shares decision-making responsibility with the user such that it acts sometimes as a tool, to be directly applied to a specific task, and other times as an autonomous problem-solver. In the best case, the user can delegate the details of a task to the automated system without giving up the ability to guide and review the decision-making process. We have developed a simple mixed-initiative planner that incorporates a view of problem-solving as navigation. We have explored this notion in two different applications: exploratory statistical analysis and layout design for user interface dialogs. This paper discusses navigation issues in the context of these two systems, the poten- tial benefits of the approach, and some implications for user interface design.

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