An Abstract User Interface Framework for Mobile and Wearable Devices

An Abstract User Interface Framework for Mobile and Wearable Devices

Claas Ahlrichs, Michael Lawo, Hendrik Iben
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-2041-4.ch015
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In the future, mobile and wearable devices will increasingly be used for interaction with surrounding technologies. When developing applications for those devices, one usually has to implement the same application for each individual device. Thus a unified framework could drastically reduce development efforts. This paper presents a framework that facilitates the development of context-aware user interfaces (UIs) with reusable components for those devices. It is based on an abstract description of an envisioned UI which is used to generate a context- and device-specific representation at run-time. Rendition in various modalities and adaption of the generated representation are also supported.
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Several frameworks for automatic UI generation already exist. Three of them are listed and summarized as follows. Most frameworks can also be used to create wearable and mobile computing applications.

  • WUI Toolkit: Witt et al. (2005) introduced ``a toolkit for context-aware UI development for wearable computers'' called wearable user interface (WUI) toolkit. It was designed and developed to meet requirements of wearable computers and aimed to ease development of WUIs. The toolkit first utilized reusable UI components and was based around a model-driven approach. It support self-adapting UIs without being limited to specific interaction devices or graphical UIs (Witt, 2005; Witt, Nicolai, & Kenn, 2007).

  • Huddle: Huddle is a system that uses an abstract description language for automatic generation of task-based UIs for appliances in a multi-device environment (e.g. a home theater or presentation room). It makes use of an XML-based language for describing functionalities of appliances in those environments (e.g., televisions, DVD players, printers or microwave ovens). Huddle has been used to generate graphical and speech interfaces for over thirty appliances on mobile phones, handhelds and desktop computers (Nichols & Myers, 2007; Nichols, Myers, Litwack, Higgins, Hughes, & Harris, 2004; Nichols, Rothrock, Chau, & Myers, 2006).

  • SUPPLE: SUPPLE is an alternative to creating UIs in a hand-crafted fashion. Instead UIs are automatically generated with respect to a person's device, abilities and preferences. It is based around an abstract UI describing its functionality rather than its representation. The actual generation of UIs with SUPPLE is interpreted as an optimization problem (Gajos & Weld, 2004; Gajos, Weld, & Wobbrock, 2010).

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