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Tool Support for Designing, Managing and Optimizing Multi-Device User Interfaces

Book - Dissertation

People often access the same information on a variety of devices such as laptops, mobile phones and tablet PCs. On every device, this information is accessed through a user interface that is speci cally designed for this device. Currently, designers have to create these multi-device user interfaces manually, which is time consuming and implies switching across a lot of di erent, often mutually exclusive, design tools. Furthermore, designers need to repeat a lot of design steps in order to keep these designs consistent. The research presented in this dissertation explores how design tools can be improved in order to better support the design of realistic multi-device high- delity prototypes. As a rst contribution, we propose Gummy, a graphical design environment for creating multi-device user interfaces. This design environment allows designers to target multiple devices in one environment without raising the threshold to design user interfaces. The second contribution concerns techniques for managing multiple devicespeci c user interfaces. These techniques automate several parts of the design process in order to reduce the amount of repetitive design actions designers have to perform. The proposed techniques allow designers to copy widgets from one device-speci c user interface to another and to edit these copies in concert. We also present a design tool macro system, which facilitates designers to record design actions in one design and to reply them afterwards in the same or another design. When creating multi-device user interfaces, it is important that every device-speci c user interface takes into account target device constraints such as screen size, CPU speed or touch screen sensitivity. To ensure this, we propose tools for iteratively optimizing user interfaces until they meet the constraints of the target device. These iterative optimization tools allow designers to switch rapidly between designing and testing in order to verify whether their design decisions work like intended on the target device and to update their designs if necessary.
Number of pages: 149
Publication year:2011