Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Department of Information Systems


This thesis describes the development of a research prototype of a Statistical Information System intended for use by casual and novice users of External Statistical Data (ESD). The research prototype, Abacus, has been developed by integrating Online Analytical Processing, Multi-Dimensional Databases and the World Wide Web. Critical reflection on the development of Abacus has provided useful insights into the development of such hybrid systems. Typical users of ESD have tested Abacus and the results suggest that the technologies integrated in Abacus provide suitable functionality for the intended users. Moreover, user evaluation of the prototype suggests that Abacus is perceived as being both useful and easy to use. The results of usability testing have also been used to assess the usefulness of a proposed model of casual and novice users and have been used to develop a number of more complex models for individual performance measures. In addition, user observation has provided data about the errors made with Abacus and this data has been analysed in light of a well-researched model of human error. Finally, the research has enabled the development of an initial model of the task of retrieving and manipulating ESD by casual and novice users.