Home > Articles > Software Development & Management > Object Technology

Designing with Idiom

  • Print
  • + Share This

3.6 Concrete User Interface Design

A concrete user interface design is a detailed description or specification of the appearance and interactivity of the user interface to an interactive system, including the core object representations and the system behavior at the user interface. Concrete user interface design is the activity of producing such a description or specification.

Inputs to concrete user interface design include:

  • User profiles

  • Scenarios

  • Task models

  • Sequence diagrams, if they are used

  • The core model

  • The view model: static and dynamic

  • Interaction style and implementation technology choices

Outputs include:

  • Window, dialog box, and alert layouts; interaction techniques used in these layouts; and the resultant system actions during and after use of the interaction techniques

  • Core object representations, interaction with core object representations including any selection and dynamic feedback

  • Menu and palette layouts, system actions on menu item and button choices, shortcuts, and undo facilities

Hopefully the outputs also include:

  • Help facilities

  • User documentation

  • Training aids

These outputs may be represented using

  • Text and diagrams

  • Sketches and storyboards

  • Interaction sequences

  • Tool-generated layouts

  • Prototypes

An aspect of the outputs is to show how user interactions affect the state of the core and view models. Interaction sequences, which are defined and discussed in the next section, allow designers, if they so desire, to tie prototypical user interactions to changes in model state.

3.6.1 Interaction Sequences

Interaction sequences show graphical depictions of prototypical interactions that are representative of user interactions and associated system responses. Thus while an interaction sequence might depict a user drawing a line of a particular length and direction, the interaction sequence is interpreted as depicting all line drawing situations. Interaction sequences can be used in three kinds of situations:

  • Interaction sequences may be used early in and throughout the design cycle for many visualization and design purposes, often quite informally, and almost certainly without the use of pre- and post-conditions (discussed below in this section). Interaction sequences are both expressive and easy to use for visualization and design; on a whiteboard they provide a fluid medium for redesign.

  • Interaction sequences may be used to specify interactions where the pre- and/or post-conditions are important for design and/or subsequent development purposes.

  • Interaction sequences may be used to document and specify concrete user interface design details, particularly for detailed specification where cursor changes, cursor movement, alignment, and dynamic feedback are important.

An interaction sequence is composed of screen shots or sketches of screens or fragments thereof, interspersed with renditions of user interactions that may vary in scale from a simple button depression to more complex interactions such as the use of a menu or dialog box. An interaction sequence may optionally include a pre-condition that characterizes conditions that are required to undertake the interaction, and may optionally include a post-condition that specifies what will be true after the interaction is completed. Pre- and post-conditions can be expressed using different levels of formality. Natural language is sufficient for most interactive system and user interface design purposes, and the Object Constraint Language (OCL) [Walmer and Kleppe 1999] can be used if precision is required. The pre- and post-conditions are expressed in terms of core and/or static view model states. In post conditions it may be useful to adopt the convention that overlines are used to refer to system state before the interaction, and non-overlined state information refers to systems state after the interaction. An example interaction sequence that belies the ease of informal use of interaction sequences appears in Figure 3.24. In fact the example illustrates use of the notation at a formal extreme, more suited for detailed specification, rather than design, purposes.

Figure 3.24 Examples of interaction sequences. Normally, these interaction sequences would be used with natural-language pre- and post-conditions. The detail shown here illustrates the level of fine-grainedness that can be achieved if the system description demands it, and the way in which a formal link can be made to core and static view model states. From [van Harmelen 1994].

Although interaction sequences are useful for the three purposes outlined above, it would be counterproductive to attempt to use interaction techniques to describe all interaction with a medium or large sized development; if only because working out which interaction sequences are applicable at a given point in time requires evaluation of all pre-conditions. In such cases designers should consider sketches, storyboards, and prototypes to convey design information, and selectively limit their use of interaction sequences to interesting, complex, or otherwise important aspects of interaction.

Interaction sequences draw on unpublished user interaction and screen depictions used by Stephanie Wilson and myself in the period 1984 to 1986. Pre- and post-conditions were added later by myself circa 1991.

3.6.2 Prototypes

Lo-fi prototypes were not used in this study, although they could, and indeed, should have been used at various stages from soon after the inception through the concrete user interface design stage.

A small number of medium-fidelity prototypes were tested by prospective users. The prototypes provided partial functionality along a scenario path of initiating and terminating a conversation. Two screen shots from one version appear in Figure 3.25. Users were introduced to the task, to communicate with other users, and were asked to use the prototype to initiate a conversation, to imagine a typed conversation with other users, and to leave the conversation. The users were asked to verbalize briefly their reactions to or feelings toward the system as they used it, and to mention if things were hard or easy to do. Sometimes the users were prompted in a non-directed fashion to express their feelings toward and reactions to things that they had noted as being easy or hard, as well as the reasons why they thought those things were easy or hard.

User feedback on the prototypes ranged from comments about functionality (for example, "It would help if I knew who's online when I'm using this") to questions and comments about the context of use of the system (for example, "Is this for business or personal use or what? If it's for...").

Figure 3.25 Initiating and terminating a conversation

  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.

Overview


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information


To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.

Surveys

Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.

Newsletters

If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information


Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.

Security


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.

Children


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.

Marketing


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information


If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.

Choice/Opt-out


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information


Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents


California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure


Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.

Links


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact


Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice


We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020