Benefits of Multi-Layer Design in Software with Multi-User Interfaces – A Three Step Case Study

L. Gustavsson Christiernin and O. Torgersson (Sweden)

Keywords

MultiLayer Design, Adaptation, Groupware, Interfacefunctionality, and Usability

Abstract

In this paper we present a summary of our current research on multi layer design, focusing on different levels of layered design. An initial evolutionary study is performed on a single layer designed groupware. Several functions were unused and the design created unnecessary complex and error-prone situations. In contrast the implementation of a static humanly administrated layer design for a multi user information system proved to channel both the user and their needs into an efficient pattern. The resulting system also showed a much lower degree of user problems compared to other information systems in the organization. In a third study a fully Multi-Layer design prototype has been developed. Compared to the static solution we especially find the ability to test, try and learn different layers dynamically of especial importance. We conclude that increasing the layered nature of software interfaces greatly improve usability and that a full implementation of Multi-Layer design is more beneficial than the static one.

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