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    Context Sensitive User Interfaces

    BCS-FACS Workshop on Formal Aspects of the Human Computer Interface

    Sheffield, UK. 10th - 12th September 1996


    J.C. Campos & F.M. Martins


    This paper presents a conceptual design model for user interfaces (MASS1) and a general formalism for dialogue specification (Interaction Scripts) which are the most important components of an approach to the methodological, iterative design of Interactive Systems from formal, model-based specification of both the application and the User Interface (UI).

    This approach allows the integration of both dialogue and application semantics from the beginning of the design process, by using prototypes derived from both specifications.

    Assuming that all the application semantics is available at early design stages, the MASS model defines a set of guidelines that will enforce the designer to create user interfaces that will present a prophylactic instead of the usual therapeutic behaviour.

    By a prophylactic behaviour it is meant, metaphorically, that the UI will exhibit a behaviour that prevents and avoids both syntactic and semantic user errors, in contrast with the most usual therapeutic, or error recovery, behaviour.

    The dialogue specification formalism(Interaction Scripts) despite being general, in the sense that it may be applied to the specification of any kind of dialogue, is specially suited to the specification of UIs with the behaviour prescribed by the MASS design model.

    In addition, it is independent from concrete environment details, therefore allowing for different implementations of the same specification, that is, different looks and feels.

    The operational semantics of the Interaction Script notation is also presented in terms of Petri-Nets that are automatically generated from the Interaction Script specification of the dialogue controller.


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