Sustaining Designers' and Users' Quality of Life in the Paradigm of Plastic UIs
In Revista Română de Interacţiune Om-Calculator 6(3). pages 269-289. 2013.
Jean Vanderdonckt (Eds.)
Modern User Interfaces need to dynamically adapt to their context of use, i.e. mainly to the changes that occur in the environment or in the platform. Model-Driven Engineering offers powerful solutions to handle the design and the implementation of such User Interfaces. However, this approach requires the creation of an important amount of models and transformations, each of them in turn requiring specific knowledge and competencies. This leads to the need of adapted process models and tools sustaining the designers’ work. Moreover, automatic adaptation to new devices implies that users could have questions about the interaction with the same UI in such new devices. As this adaption is automatically performed at runtime, designers cannot foresee all the possible combinations of contexts of use at design time in order to conveniently support the users. For this reason, dynamic help systems are necessary to generate dynamic explanations to the end-user at runtime.
This paper presents (1) a new vision of process model flexibility that makes it possible to adapt the process model to the designer's knowledge and know-how, (2) the "flexibilization" of the UsiXML methodology, (3) the principles supporting self-explanatory UIs and (4) the integration of all these notions in UsiComp, an integrated and open framework for designing and executing plastic User Interfaces. UsiComp relies on a service-based architecture. It offers two modules, for design and execution. The implementation has been made using OSGi services offering dynamic possibilities for using and extending the tool. This paper describes the architecture and shows the extension capacities of the framework through two running examples.