Model-Based User Interface Generation for Mobile Tourism Applications and Services

Model-Based User Interface Generation for Mobile Tourism Applications and Services

M. O. Adigun (University of Zululand, South Africa), A. O. Ipadeola (University of Zululand, South Africa) and O. O. Olugbara (University of Zululand, South Africa)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-818-5.ch010

Abstract

The purpose of this chapter is to describe a model-based approach for automatic generation of usercentric interfaces for an individual mobile tourist. The generation of user-centric interfaces can provide a tourist with self-customized interfaces for efficient accessibility to mobile applications and services. The authors’ polymorphic logical description (PLD) model is an interface description created at design time to address the diverse needs and preferences of users in a mobile computing environment. A PLD consists of three important modeling elements, namely, polymorphic task modeling (PTM), polymorphic abstract modeling (PAM) and polymorphic concrete modeling (PCM). A toolkit was developed based on the model-based PLD approach to user interface design. The toolkit achieves user-centric and multidevice interface generation with a high degree of dynamism and flexibility. The evaluation results of user satisfaction of the toolkit and usability of the generated interfaces are provided.
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Background

The dynamic nature of the tourism industry brings about some challenges, which crave for efficient technological solution (Staab, et al., 2002). More importantly, the provisioning of efficient access to Tourism Information Systems (TIS) constitutes to be a big challenge. TIS are software applications that are deployable on the web and accessed over desk-top as well as small hand-held devices, for provisioning of tourism business support services (Daramola, et al., 2008). As mobile devices become more prevalent, universal accessibility to mobile tourism applications and services by tourists becomes of prime significance due to the nomadic nature of tourists. Tourism applications and services must be accessible to tourists who are anonymous or familiar, but differ in race, culture, background, needs, preferences and motivation. Tourists are often faced with unfamiliar territory and languages, as pointed out by Yang, et al. (1999). For tourism applications and services to be universally accessible, they must be able to adapt to the intrinsic characteristics of every tourist, and his or her computing device.

Ongoing advancement in wireless technology and communication devices, such as PDA (Personal Digital Assistant), mobile phones, pagers and WebTV are aiding ubiquitous information accessibility. But, to achieve efficient universal accessibility to mobile applications and services, the diversity in users’ preferences must be taken into cognizance. Efficient universal accessibility to mobile applications and services by tourists can only be achieved when the many challenges facing a mobile computing environment are surmounted. We believe that user interface adaptation solutions can play a significant role in adapting tourism applications and services to users’ needs, thereby, making TIS more usable. The general challenges of mobile computing environment that can be addressed by user interface adaptation methods are succinctly summarized as device limitations, diversity in users’ preferences and heterogeneity of execution environment.

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