The MEFISTO  Project has three main objectives:

To design a method which allows designers to develop ATC user interface specifications and related software implementations which satisfy usability and safety requirements. This would allow software designers and developers to reduce the costs of their work as it is easier and cheaper to correct errors and bad design choices in the first phases of the design and development cycle.

To develop a set of automatic tools supporting the method and allowing designers to address large size, industrially relevant, case studies. Some tools are developed from scratch, others by modifying existing tools. Different tools will address different phases: formal specification verification, software prototyping from specifications, usability evaluation. Most of the phases of the global method developed will be semi-automatic so as to allow designers to concentrate on semantically relevant aspects and will have automatic support for repetitive processing.

To implement ATC user interfaces prototypes which are validated against usability and safety requirements by formal specification and empirical testing. They will provide concrete examples for end users (air traffic controllers) indicating how new methods and technologies can optimise their work in front of the growing complexity caused by the increase of air traffic.

In order to achieve these objectives, we must:

Develop a method, and related tools, which allow designers to apply formal methods in order to perform usability and safety evaluation over the formal specification of the system. This evaluation is mainly carried out by using model checking techniques. The formal approach can be used to provide some performance evaluation in a system model which is obtained in a task-driven way. We aim at eliciting and verifying a set of criteria to establish, during the design process, whether a system will reach a satisfactory quality level for the end user.

Define and implement an approach which takes formal specifications validated against usability and safety requirements and produces a related software prototype in a multimodal environment. The software implementation of the multimodal user interface must fulfil the requirements verified over the formal specification.

Develop a method for usability evaluation of ATC user interfaces and apply it to the prototypes developed to improve their overall quality. The method takes into account empirical evaluations and the models (user, task, architectural models) used to drive software design and development. It is tool-supported to manage the large volume of data which can be collected while the users are testing the prototypes.

The goals of MEFISTO can be graphically summarized with the below diagram:

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