Application of User Interaction Description Languages to provide accessible interfaces for elderly people
This thesis suggests the enhancement of Ambient Assistant Living (AAL) environments by applying concepts from the research field of User Interaction Description Languages (UIDL). In detail, it should evaluate how user interfaces for interacting with AAL services can be generated in an automatic or semi-automatic way based on generic user interaction descriptions, and how the users of AAL environments can benefit from such an approach.
This is accomplished by defining a list of criteria for evaluating the applicability of existing User Interaction Description Languages to the field of Ambient Assistend iving. Existing solutions were analyzed and compared with each other based on these criteria as part of this thesis.
The class of mobile devices, including both smartphones and tablet devices, was defined as exemplary target platform for evaluating the possibilities of generated user interfaces. Interviews and user workshops were conducted using mockups of potential user interactions that might occur in common AAL services, in order to analyze how the typical user group of AAL environments interacts with devices belonging to this class. Guidelines for the implementation of a user interface generation system were established based on the results of this investigation.
In addition, a prototype version of a user interface generation system for use in AAL environments was developed, including two exemplary services and a front-end solution for mobile devices.
For evaluating this software product, it was formally analyzed based on the criteria mentioned above, and compared to the other mentioned UIDL solutions. In addition, practical tests were performed in cooperation with members of the system’s prospective user group in order to evaluate how well those potential users can interact with AAL services using automatically generated user interfaces.
Results prove that it is possible to define the user interactions offered by AAL services in a detailed, but nevertheless completely modality- and implementation-independent way, and to create attractive, functional, and accessible user interfaces in a fully automatic way based on these abstract interaction definitions. The evaluation carried out shows that potential users approve the idea of executing AAL services from a variety of devices they are accustomed to. However, the target platform of smartphone and tablet devices proved not to be the ideal choice for this user group, since group members lack experience with the general handling of those devices.
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