To the decision maker, the user interface is the DSS. The user interface includes all the mechanisms by which commands, requests, and data are entered into the DSS as well as all the methods by which results and information are output by the system. It does not matter how well the system performs; if the decision maker cannot access models and data and peruse results, invoke assistance, share results, or in some other way interact with the system, then the system cannot provide decision support. In fact, if the interface does not meet their needs and expectations, decision makers often will abandon use of the system entirely regardless of its modeling power or data availability.

To paraphrase Dickens, it is the most exciting of times for designing user interfaces, and it is the most frustrating of times for designing user interfaces. It is an exciting time because advances in computing technologies, interface design, and Web and mobile technologies have opened a wide range of opportunities for making more useful, more easily used, and more aesthetically pleasing representations of options, data, and information. It is a frustrating time because legacy systems still exist, and there are a wide range of user preferences. Some DSS must be built using technologies that actually limit the development of user interfaces. Others must at least interact with such legacy systems and are therefore limited in the range of options available. In this chapter, the focus ...

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