Inspector: Method and Tool for Visual UI Specification

T. Memmel and H. Reiterer (Germany)


Usability Engineering, User Interface Development


When the user interface (UI) has to be specified, a picture is worth a thousand words and the worst thing a human computer interaction (HCI) expert can do is attempt to write a natural language specification for it. Nevertheless, this practice is still common and it is therefore a difficult task to move from text-based requirements and problem space concepts to a final UI design, and then back again. Especially for the specification of interactive UIs, however, HCI experts must frequently switch between high-level descriptions and detailed screens. In our research we found that advanced UI specifications therefore have to be made up of interconnected artefacts that have distinct levels of abstraction. With regards to the transparency and traceability of the rationale of the UI specification, transitions and dependencies must be visual and traversable. We introduce a UI specification method that interactively integrates interdisciplinary and informal modelling languages with different fidelities of UI prototyping. With an innovative experimental tool, we finally assemble models and design to a visual UI specification that will quickly take the place of text-based artefacts.

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