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Web Design has been evolving with Web-based systems becoming more complex and structured due to the delivery of personalised information adapted to end-users. Although information presented can be useful and well formatted, people have little mental workload available for dealing with unusable systems. Subjective mental workload assessments tools are usually adopted to measure the impact of Web-tasks upon end-users thanks to their ease of use and are aimed at supporting design practices. The Nasa Task Load Index subjective procedure has been taken as a reference technique for measuring mental workload, but it has a background in aircraft cockpits, supervisory and process control environments. We argue that the tool is not fully appropriate for dealing with Web-information tasks, characterised by a wide spectrum of contexts of use, cognitive factors and individual user differences such as skill, background, emotional state and motivation. Furthermore, in this model, inputs are averaged without considering their mutual interactions and relations. We propose to see human mental workload as non-monotonic concept and to model it via argumentation theory. The evaluation strategy includes coparisons with the NASA-TLX in terms of statistical correlation, sensitivity, diagnosticity, selectivity and reliability.
Longo, L. (2012). Formalising human mental workload as non-monotonic concept for adaptive and personalised web-design. User Modeling, Adaptation and Personalization, pg.369-373. doi:10.1007/978-3-642-31454-4_38