Among the most important criteria in the design and implementation of an interactive system for data analysis are: data structure, control language, user interface, sytem versatility, extensibility, and portability. The design of an interactive system, viewed as a set of constrained decisions based on these criteria, will be discussed. The concepts and considerations discussed in this article about the design of interactive systems are general in nature and are neither problem-specific nor discipline-specific. Specific examples from statistical packages and their designs are cited for illustration purposes only.
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