Consider a software tool that performs the following functions:

  1. Collection of user-defined constraints
  2. Assessment of the constraints against a data set
  3. [Optional] Automated execution of code to ensure each datum complies with constraints - mutating the datum
  4. Presentation of the results of assessment
  5. Affordance to manually execute code to ensure compliance, mutating the data

There are lots of words that could be used - assessment, auditing, fix.

I wondered whether there was a generic name for such systems. I was interested in the UI patterns used in such applications.

  • Functionally, this sounds very similar to the way a predictive search works: Collect the letters typed by the user, compare them to a database of known words/URL/domains, list the results, and allow the user to click on the one they want to search on. I guess you could argue that 'spellcheck' works like this too but I would go with terms like "predictive" or "analytical" when you're looking for info. Mar 8, 2017 at 9:04
  • Yes, although the data set being worked on is not mutated in anyway - instead a new set of data - the search results - are created. I'll clarify that in the question. "analytical" is good... "predictive"? Trouble is "analytics" software has come to be used for visualisation software for large data sets, e.g. Google Analytics. Mar 8, 2017 at 9:49
  • Evaluation, Evaluator?
    – Harshal
    Mar 21, 2017 at 13:57
  • Probably have better results if you asked this question on english.stackexchange.com Apr 17, 2017 at 17:10

1 Answer 1


I am fairly certain the generic term you're looking for is an expert system.

This has been traditionally applied to AI applications, but regardless of the depth or complexity of the algorithms in your application, it is making decisions about the data, and executing on those decisions; so expert system applies.

A search for "expert system ux" returns plenty of prior work, scholarly and otherwise, for the usability concerns in an expert system.

  • Interesting suggestion, as you say I've always thought of an expert system being AI based, normally a learning system. Apr 18, 2017 at 8:38
  • 1
    @Dan Gravell, having built a small number of expert systems in my career, I can say that they more commonly are not necessarily learning systems, but more typically seeded with a rules-based reasoning engine that can draw conclusions about a body of knowledge and data. I would classify the TurboTax webapp and the GEICO insurance quote system as expert systems, as they duplicate the decisions a human would make, but neither of them actually learn. Apr 20, 2017 at 12:01

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