Dynamic and structural modelling framework for web user interface design : a declarative service perspective

Publication Type:
Thesis
Issue Date:
2007
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NO FULL TEXT AVAILABLE. Access is restricted indefinitely. ----- Over the past decade, the World Wide Web has revolutionised the way we communicate, learn, work, and function in many other aspects of our daily lives. The rapid advancement of implementation and deployment technologies has resulted in the creation of web applications with advanced interactivity and functionalities. However, in order for a web application to be effective in providing the required services for users as intended, usability considerations forms an important aspect of its design. If the usability of a web application is not at an appropriately high level, the web user who could be anywhere in the world, would just become frustrated and leave the website, and this would mean the loss of a customer. A usable web application doesn't just happen; attention must be paid to the analysis of the requirements from a user's perspective and user workflows, with the aim of having this information drive the appropriate · design decisions. Despite the importance of usability for web applications, the design of user interfaces for web applications remains a largely ad-hoc and technologically-oriented activity. This thesis proposes a user-centric modelling approach for the analysis and design of a web user interface, and aims to fill the vacuum in the support of these two specific areas in the process of web user interface development. Interaction dynamics, user interface composition, and user perspective are three important elements that web user interface conceptual models need to be considered. The proposed approach includes three linked but separate models that capture the interface at different level of granularity, namely: Context Navigation Net, Intracontext Flow of Interaction Net, and Intracontext Composite Structural Model. The main objective is to provide a suitable methodology for the high level dynamic analysis of user interaction that in fact forms the basis of the web user interface design. In order to capture a user-centric view of an application, we introduce the notion of considering the web user interface as a separate concern from the application domain. The proposed approach defines a set of models with intuitive visual notation for the modelling of the navigation dynamics, user interaction and structural composition for a web application. Furthermore, these models are supported with XML representation which provides enriched semantics, and bring in the notion of user perspective declaration. In that the modelling approach promotes and assures usability concerns are incorporated into the web application at an early stage of the development process.
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