Title page for ETD etd-01172009-063129

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Hinson, Kenneth Paul
URN etd-01172009-063129
Title A foundation for translating user interaction designs into OSF/Motif-based software
Degree Master of Science
Department Computer Science and Applications
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Hartson, H. Rex Committee Chair
Hagedorn, George A. Committee Member
Hix, Deborah S. Committee Member
  • User interfaces (Computer systems)
Date of Defense 1994-04-05
Availability restricted
The user interface development process occurs in a behavioral domain and in a constructional domain. The development process in the behavioral domain focuses on the "look and feel" of the user interface and its behavior in response to user actions. The development process in the constructional domain focuses on developing software to implement the user interface. Although one may attempt to design a user interface from a constructional view, it is important to concentrate design efforts in the behavioral domain to improve software usability.

User Action Notation (UAN) is a useful technique for representing user interaction designs in the behavioral domain. Primary abstractions in UAN-expressed designs are user tasks. Information about interface objects is encapsulated in user task descriptions and scenarios. Primary abstractions in a GUI such as Motif™ are interface objects. Motif implements objects' behavior and appearance using system functions that are encapsulated within pre-defined object classes. Therefore, user interaction developers and software developers must communicate well to translate UAN-expressed interaction designs into Motif-based software designs. Translation is not trivial since it is a translation between two significantly different domains.

This thesis contributes to understanding of the user interface development process by developing a foundation to assist translation of user interaction designs into Motif-based software designs. This thesis develops the foundation as follows: 1. Adapt UAN for use with Motif. 2. Summarize Motif concepts about objects and object relationships. 3. Develop new approaches for discussing objects and object relationships. 4. Develop a partial translation guide containing VAN descriptions of selected Motif abstractions.

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