[ Evariste® | Forum ]

From patrick.schouller@inria.fr Thu Jun  3 20:30 MET 1999
To: (Suppression de la liste des destinataires)
From: Sabine Payr  (via Patrick Schouller )
Subject: 5th FP partner search: GUI tools

The Vienna University of Technology based research centre FGI
(Forschungsgesellschaft Informatik, http://www.fgi.at) plans to
participate in the fifth framework programme of the European Community,
Key Action III "Multimedia Content and Tools", Action Line 2.1 "Authoring
and Design Systems" (deadline: 16 JUNE!!). Our idea is to create a software
for distributed
prototyping of user interfaces. Therefore we are searching for suitable
partners in HCI research and development, as well as in object-oriented
database management systems. Here is a more detailed description of the
project idea:


Information technology (IT) increasingly enters all areas of daily life.
Therefore more and more people without technical background get in touch
with IT based devices. To cope with this increasing complexity, user
interfaces that understand the needs of everyday users are needed. An
intuitive, easy to use interface will be a key factor for the success of
applications, especially those that use a rich mix of media.

In the process of creating a user interface people of several different
fields work together. Beside conventional developers with good education
in computer science there are psychologists, graphic designers and
interdisciplinary educated graphical user interface (GUI) designers.
Today's tools are mostly aimed at developers, helping them to accelerate
the implementation of the graphical elements of user interfaces. Other
participants are put into the role of commenting observers after an
initial common development phase.

The problem here is that technical issues tend to dominate the user
interface - quality and the human component are suffering. It is
therefore crucial to tightly integrate all participating groups in the
development process up until the final implementation stage.

Another problem when creating large applications and their user
interfaces is the large number of involved persons. To optimize
development it is essential to effectively manage and organize the
modules of the application as well as the tools that are needed. Since
the trend is more and more towards tele-work, it is furthermore important
to have an efficient, highly automated organization amongst co-workers.

We propose a draft for a GUI-Tool (named "ETUI", European Tool for User
Interfaces) that tries to close the gap between the analysis of user
tasks and the functions implemented in the application. It helps the
designer to identify the interconnections between the tasks which the
user tries to accomplish, the interface elements, the layout and the
implemented functions of the application. A detailed user interface
specification including the graphical layout of the interface is created
by using ETUI. The designer communicates this specification by generating
a human readable report and a runnable prototype. ETUI generates
prototypes to create runtime environments that run on all modern systems.

We believe that the user centered model of user interface design together
with solid support of project management and collaboration will
significantly improve the user interface and the process of its creation.

In the converging European market, localization of software is an issue
of increasing importance. Localization has always been a central
component of the user interface, so it will be heavily supported by ETUI.
Localization helps marketing by allowing an easy adoption of the
application for different markets.

In the future the user interface will be vital for the success of
software. The development of tools that not only speed up implementation
but also allow the creation of user centered interfaces will be crucial
to success.


Gunter (gupi) Piringer
Forschungsgesellschaft fuer Informatik
phone: +43-1-512 65 22-14

Dr. Sabine Payr
FGI/RCIT - Research Center Information Technologies
Akademiestr. 2, A-1010 Vienna, Austria
phone & ISDN video +43-1-5130594, mobile +43-676-4733705
fax +43-1-5126522-11