An adaptive environment for personal information management
This dissertation reports the results of research into the provision of adaptive user interfaces to support individuals in the management of their personal information. Many individuals find that they have increased responsibility for managing aspects of their own lives, including the information associated with their jobs. In contrast with traditional approaches to information management, which are generally driven by organisational or business requirements, the requirements of personal information management systems tend to be less rigidly defined. This dissertation employs research from the areas of personal information management and adaptive user interfaces - systems which can monitor how they are used, and adapt on a personal level to their user - to address some of the particular requirements of personal information management systems. An adaptive user interface can be implemented using a variety of techniques, and this dissertation draws on research from the area of software agents to suggest that reactive software agents can be fruitfully applied to realise the required adaptivity. The reactive approach is then used in the specification and development of an adaptive interface which supports simple elements of personal information management tasks. The resulting application is evaluated by means of user trials and a usability inspection, and the theoretical architectures and techniques used in the specification and development of the software are critically appraised. The dissertation demonstrates an application of reactive software agents in adaptive systems design and shows how the behaviour of the system can be specified based on the analysis of some representative personal information management tasks.