Eden: an interactive home network management system
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Networks have expanded from the workplace and scientific labs into the home. Consequently, managing networks is no longer only a job for skilled network administrators, but has also become one for general home users, who have to deal with various home network management tasks such as network/device configuration, security management, and troubleshooting to name but a few. However, many home network users have difficulty managing these tasks due to the inherent complexity of the home network and the lack of management tools designed for non-skilled network users. This dissertation addresses the problem of network management for non-skilled network users by investigating a home network management tool with a new interaction model called Eden. Eden is an interactive home network management tool based on direct manipulation. It eliminates the need for users to see all the technical minutia of the network while still allowing users to perform management tasks with a simple drag-and-drop of visually represented networking devices and network settings. The user interface evaluation showed that Eden is intuitive and easy enough for general home users to use. The usability evaluation showed that Eden performed better overall than existing tools and that the majority of the study participants preferred Eden over the existing tools for future use. My contributions are twofold. First, I present what is to my knowledge the first fully direct manipulation system designed specifically for home network management. Secondly, my evaluation highlights a number of properties in my design--particularly in my conceptual model--that improve users' understandings of the network, and their ease with managing it.