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ACM Computer Graphics 21

  1. ACMCG 1986-11-00 Volume 21 Issue 2

ACMCG 1986-11-00 Volume 21 Issue 2

ACM SIGGRAPH Workshop on Software Tools for User Interface Management BIB 71-72
  Dan R., Jr. Olsen; David Kasik; James Rhyne; James Thomas
Goals and Objectives for User Interface Software BIBA 73-78
  Bill Betts; David Burlingame; Gerhard Fischer; Jim Foley; Mark Green; David Kasik; Stephen T. Kerr; Dan Olsen; James Thomas
This written report summarizes the discussions and conclusions of the goals and objectives group at the ACM/SIGGRAPH Workshop on Software Tools for User Interface Development. The report is organized into the following sections:
  • Section 1 -- Overview of group goals and discussions
  • Section 2 -- Definition and characteristics of a UIMS
  • Section 3 -- Criteria used to develop a taxonomy of a UIMS
  • Section 4 -- Tasks and tools for user interface development
  • Section 5 -- Suggested topics and areas of research
  • Tools and Methodology for User Interface Development BIBA 78-87
      Jim Rhyne; Roger Ehrich; John Bennett; Tom Hewett; John Sibert; Terry Bleser
    The objective of the task force was to characterize in a broad way the understanding of procedures for enduser interface design and development. Discussion often focused on tools to assist designers and implementers, paying particular attention to research topics of current and future interest. There was a consensus that enduser interface software proceeds through phases of requirements/solutions, design, implementation and testing common to other software and hardware developments.
    Reference Models, Window Systems, and Concurrency BIBA 87-97
      Keith A. Lantz; Peter P. Tanner; Carl Binding; Kuan-Tsae Huang; Andrew Dwelly
    This group was originally chartered to develop the architecture of the user interface software "external to the UIMS." This charter presented a classic chicken-and-egg problem since, in order to determine what was "external to" the UIMS, it was necessary first to determine what was meant by "the UIMS," a determination being made in parallel with other working groups! We addressed this problem by formulating a reference model for the implementation of interactive software as a whole, and then specifying those components of the model that we believed corresponded to the intended meaning of "the UIMS."
       Subsequently, we focused on the software comprising what traditionally has been referred to as the "window system" [23], leaving it to another working group to discuss the relationship of the UIMS to higher-level (application) software [16]. Of particular concern are the sharing of devices between multiple clients, the ways in which concurrent programming techniques can expedite the implementation of relevant software and an evaluation of standards efforts in this area.
    The Run-Time Structure of UIMS-Supported Applications BIBA 97-101
      John R. Dance; Tamar E. Granor; Ralph D. Hill; Scott E. Hudson; Jon Meads; Brad A. Myers; Andrew Schulert
    This group was concerned with the run-time support provided by a UIMS, as opposed to design, analysis, evaluation or other support. In particular, we were concerned with the demands placed on a dialogue manager by user interfaces that require a high level of semantic feedback.
    Collaboration of UIMS Designers and Human Factors Specialists BIBA 102-105
      John L. Bennett
    In this note I explore some prerequisites for increased effective contribution to system design by human factors specialists. I see an opportunity for these specialists to become a vital part of the system development process rather than playing an after-the-fact testing and evaluation role. Demonstrated effective collaboration among people expert in user requirements and people expert in computer requirements could yield tangible benefits by shaping function to meet the needs of the intended end users during the UIMS design process. The end users include both the application builders who will use the UIMS to construct the user interface and the people who access applications through the user interface. The resulting UIMS must meet respective needs for ease of learning, ease of use, and flexibility in growth of use.
    An Object-Oriented Construction and Tool Kit for Human-Computer Communication BIBA 105-109
      Gerhard Fischer
    Over the last several years, we have developed an object-oriented, knowledge-based construction kit for human-computer communication (HCC) and a large number of associated tools and intelligent support systems needed to exploit this kit effectively. Answers to the "HCC design question" are given by providing appropriate building blocks which suggest the way HCC's should be built. The object-oriented system architecture is highly flexible and enhances the reusability of many building blocks. In designing new HCC capabilities the designer can use either existing objects or objects with minor modifications, and can thereby rely on standard and well-tested components. Our support tools analyze HCC systems, provide assistance and guidance in building them, and create informative graphical displays of their structure. They help the designer regain control over systems that have become too complex to master without support tools. Our research efforts have given us an understanding of how the concepts and abstractions of our HCC toolkit have evolved and of what it means today to design new systems that make use of various types of graphical representations, icons, windows, and menus.
    Transformations on a Formal Specification of User-Computer Interfaces BIBA 109-113
      James Foley
    Present software tools for designing and implementing user-computer interfaces are too low-level: while they provide support to the designer at the presentation level of screen layout, dialogue design, etc., they provide no support at the conceptual and semantic design levels.
       Our present research project objective is to develop a formal representation for key aspects of the conceptual and semantic design of a user-computer interface. The representation embodies information about the user interface in terms of objects, actions, relations, attributes, and pre- and post-conditions associated with the actions. We are building an interactive system, using a frame-based expert system shell, which will help the designer create the specification for an intended interface. Once the designer has completed the user interface specification, our system will be able to:
  • Apply consistency and completeness checks to the specification.
  • Transform the specification into a series of functionally equivalent
       specifications, each of which has a slightly different user interface to the
       same functionality.
  • Evaluate speed of use of the interfaces, based on task scenarios and using
       the keystroke-level model [2], or formal grammar analyses [1,8].
  • Input any or all of the specifications into an appropriate UIMS, such as
       GWUIMS [9], to quickly implement any of the user interfaces.
  • Directions for User Interface Management Systems Research BIBA 113-116
      Mark Green
    Over the past five years there has been considerable growth in the area of User Interface Management Systems (UIMS). This interest has resulted in a number of experimental UIMS, and a few commercial products. In this paper three possible directions for user interface management system research are proposed. The two main purposes of this paper are to stimulate research in UIMSs, and to provoke discussion on which directions this research should take. As a result, in the discussion of the three research areas the emphasis is on the open research problems and not how they might be solved.
    Some Important Features and Issues in User Interface Management Systems BIBA 116-120
      Ralph D. Hill
    Some key features that are believed to be required in future User Interface Management Systems (UIMSs) are presented and discussed, as are some key philosophical issues. These features and issues concern the range and quality of user interfaces that can be supported, and the ease with which the user interfaces can be implemented and modified.
       The arguments presented are based on experience gained with the Sassafras UIMS. Sassafras is a prototype UIMS that was explicitly designed to support some features that were not common in UIMSs, but were believed to be necessary to support many styles of interactions.
    UIMS Support for Direct Manipulation Interfaces BIBA 120-124
      Scott E. Hudson
    Recently direct manipulation interfaces have received a lot of attention. The direct manipulation paradigm seems to offer significant advantages, particularly for novice users. In this paper we will consider what direct manipulation is, what this means to user interface management systems, and what we should do about it. We will conclude that to support direct manipulation, syntax should be de-emphasized and decentralized, the presentation component of the system should be made more flexible than most exiting systems, and feedback, particularly semantic feedback, is very important and should be supported in a much more automatic fashion.
    Multi-Process Structuring of User Interface Software BIBA 124-130
      Keith A. Lantz
    Many contemporary user interface management systems suffer from the lack of adequate operating system support for multi-process structuring. They either adopt a single-process server approach, resulting in monolithic code, or are implemented as run-time libraries, resulting in a high degree of redundancy and complex synchronization problems. This paper, on the other hand, describes a methodology that takes advantage of lightweight processes and fast interprocess communication to structure user interface software as multiple cooperating processes. It demonstrates that such an approach can lead to exceptional flexibility -- with respect to the addition of new functionality, in particular -- without sacrificing performance.
    Gaining General Acceptance for UIMSs BIBA 130-134
      Brad A. Myers
    User Interface Management Systems (UIMSs) have now gained acceptance in the research and business communities. Unfortunately, they are still not widely available or used. This paper proposes three reasons for this: that they are too hard to use, that they are still too limited in the types of interfaces that they create, and that they are not portable with respect to different machines, operating systems and graphics systems. UIMSs can be made easier to use by avoiding programming-language-like techniques, and they can be made more functional by providing the ability to create Direct Manipulation interaction techniques and to integrate them into modern interfaces. UIMSs can be made more portable by inventing new input models and graphics packages that are appropriate for highly-interactive interfaces and that can work in various environments.
    Larger Issues in User Interface Mangement BIBA 134-137
      Dan R., Jr. Olsen
    Since the Seattle workshop where the term UIMS was coined there have been a number of User Interface Management Systems built and a number of papers published about them [13]. Most of such papers have primarily focused on the issues of dialogue management and models for describing human-computer dialogues. Such research has been somewhat narrow in its focus and has not addressed a number of larger issues that surround the development of user interfaces to applications programs. This paper presents a number of these larger issues and outlines some of the areas that the author believes need attention.
    Dialogue Management for Gestural Interfaces BIBA 137-142
      Jim Rhyne
    Gestural interfaces are electronic analogues to pencil and paper. Since the effectiveness of such interfaces depends heavily on enduser familiarity with pencil markup of printed documents, the interface must conform to the user's behavior and not rely on education the enduser. Spatial relationships among the gestural forms partially determine the syntactic interpretation of gestures, along with information about the context in the neighborhood of the gesture. Temporal grouping of gestural forms is more important than their temporal sequence. Such characteristics suggest a form of dialogue recognition in which rules do not specify temporal ordering of forms, and in which multiple parses are carried out in parallel.
    Multi-Thread Input BIBA 142-145
      Peter P. Tanner
    Implementors of interactive computer workstations have tended to shy away from making several devices simultaneously available to a user of their systems. The principal reason for this reluctance has been the difficulty faced by an application program in analyzing the several streams of input that such a configuration would present. Recently systems have been developed that support such multi-thread input. This paper discusses the requirements of multi-thread input and gives examples of how the requirements are being met by the experimental systems.
    Bibliography of Software Tools for User Interface Development BIBA 145-147
      A Anonymous
    The participants in the workshop were requested to bring their 10 favorite references on user interface development tools. Approximately one third of the workshop attendees complied with this request, and the following bibliography was constructed from the material they contributed. The entries in the bibliography fall into two groups. The first group contains references to existing software tools for user interface development and issues related to the construction of such tools. New researchers in this area will profit from a careful study of a number of these papers. The other group contains references to areas which have an impact on, or could in the future have an impact on, the development of user interface software tools. A number of contributors have included references that have influenced their current research and thoughts in this area. These references could provide new directions for user interface tool research.