Model Based User Interfaces and the Potential Role of Standards

Wednesday, 23rd July 2008, Pisa, Italy.

A one day meeting hosted by the HIIS Laboratory of the Istituto di Scienze e Tecnologie dell'Informazione

  Area della Ricerca del CNR
  Istituto di Scienze e Tecnologie dell'Informazione
  Via G. Moruzzi 1, 56124, PISA, Italy
  Aula "A.Faedo"


Registered Participants


Model based design offers the prospect of greater flexibility and reduced costs for creating and maintaining human computer interfaces to Web-based applications, amongst others. How can Web technologies be applied to fulfill the potential of model based design? What use cases are there and what can we learn from current work in this area? What is the role of standards and is the area sufficiently mature to justify a collaborative effort under the W3C Incubator process?


Further background information




Further notes

These were taken by Dave in parallel with Fabio's notes (see above).

Agreement that there is an opportunity for a standard on task models, and the ISTI/CNR work is a valuable starting point. XForms is a good reference point for the abstract UI and it be valable

how to support emergent technologies?

The iPhone multitouch capability as an example. A risk of being seen as developing an out of date framework. Hence there is a need to identify emerging UI technologies and ensure that they are enabled by the model-based approach.

Adaption is it still relevant with desktop support on new phones?

iPhone and Nokia's webkit based browsers render full page and provide a means to pan and zoom easily on that using smaller screens. Adaption can however improve the end-user experience and reduce the demands on the device battery from large images and compute heavy scripts, even though increasing processor and network speeds are making it easier to render desktop content.

Of course this strongly depends on which browser you are using, however it is important to understand market trends to avoid becoming irrelevant.

We find and display the WAI-ARIA ontology. This risks being outdated, and it is important to have an extensible ontology. The ontology covers abstract UI concepts as super classes, as well as states and events. These will need to be clarified at both the concrete and abstract UI levels. However, ARIA is an important input for work on the concrete UI.

How do you constrain the scope of a concrete UI specification? One answer is to separate off all implementation specific details e.g. size, shape and color. An open question is the extent to which the concrete UI covers presentational details. These could be separated into policies and skins.

Some discussion on the role of CSS, but the general feeling that it is am implementation language.

Discussion of patent policies - general agreement that it is okay to defer patent commitments until such time as a W3C working group is launched.

What do people think about the idea of launching an XG?

Fabio: we have been working in this area for several years and would be interested, and are willing to commit effort for

Jose: yes

Johannes: can't say, it is interesting, but I wouldn't be the person involved as I am already fully committed to other work.

Joachim: I don't have the same level of technical expertise in this area as Fabio and Jose, but it seems interesting. If we took part we would be interested in how the work would relate to distributed processes involving exchange of data in XML.

Dave: I too are interested in that, e.g. in the context of distributed business processes. State Charts and other models e.g. BPMN.

Joachim proposes we create a mailing list. Should this be open to others e.g. Jean Vanderdonckt at the Université catholique de Louvain. General agreement that we should invite others to join. This list would be used to refine the draft charter.

ACTION: Dave to find out options on mailing list at W3C.

How to work together?

A mailing list, phone calls as needed (not a weekly call), and occasional face to face meetings. A wiki could be useful. We could discuss the charter over the Summer and submit it to W3M with a view to holding a face to face at the Technical Plenary in October 20-25. This means having the charter ready the month before.

ACTION: Dave to prepare a first draft and send it to the new list in early August. Jose will be available until August 25 and back on September 15.