This document is a glossary of terms recurrent in the Model-based User Interface domain (MBUI). It is intended to capture a common, coherent terminology for specifications of the MBUI Working Group and to provide a concise reference of domain terms for interested audience. The document arose from a thorough review and discussion of the glossaries published by the CAMELEON and AMODEUS research projects.
This document was published by the MBUI working group and defines a glossary of terms for use within specifications of the MBUI Working Group.If you wish to make comments regarding this document, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org (subscribe, archives). All comments are welcome.
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W3C recommended term: Abstract Interaction Unit.
(a) Interaction unit that is independent from the interaction modalities and from the implementation technology.
(b) Component of an Abstract User Interface (AUI).
Synonyms: Abstract interactor, Abstract Interaction Object, Presentation Unit.
W3C recommended term: Abstract Interaction Unit.
Composite task whose subtasks categories are different (i.e. a mix of any of the following: user task, system task, interaction task and abstract task).
(a) Composition of Abstract Interaction Units along with their abstract behaviour.
(b) Metonymic use for Abstract User Interface model.
Transformation of a model into a different model whose semantic content and scope are higher than the content and scope of the original model.
Comment: opposite of Concretization.
Ability of a UI to adapt as a result of an explicit human intervention according to a set of predefined options.
UI that supports Adaptability.
UI that supports Adaptivity.
Ability of a UI to adapt itself without any explicit human intervention.
W3C recommended term: System task.
Task that modifies the state of the user interface without modifying the domain-dependent state. Examples are: "scroll", "zoom", "page navigation".
The ability of the interactive system to provide articulatory tasks to make observable the system state that is relevant in the current situation.
Domain-dependent concept whose relevance for the user is key (to accomplish a particular task - or a set of tasks, in a particular context of use - or set of contexts of use). It should be directly observable.
Task that can be decomposed into sub-tasks.
Opposite of Abstraction.
W3C recommended term: Concrete Interaction Unit.
(a) Interaction unit that is defined in terms of some interaction modality and independently from any implementation technology.
(b) Component of a Concrete User Interface (CUI). Examples include: Radio button, drop-down menu, input field
Synonyms: Concrete interactor, Concrete Interaction Object.
W3C recommended term: Concrete Interaction Unit.
(a) Composition of Concrete Interaction Units along with their concrete behaviour.
(b) Metonymic use for Concrete User Interface model.
In the area of user interface design and development, metonymic use for Context of use.
User interface that supports context awareness.
Ability of an interactive system to detect (changes in) the context of use and to identify changes that are relevant.
Relevant information used at design time and/or at run time about the following:
(1) the user (or set of users) who is (are) intended to use, or is actually using, the interactive system (e.g., capabilities/functional limitations, preferences/needs, profile, idiosyncrasies, current tasks and activities, role);
(2) the platform to be used or is actually used;
(3) the social and physical environment (or set of environments) when/where the interaction will take place, or is actually taking place. This includes numeric and/or symbolic times and locations (e.g., in the morning, at 4 o'clock, at home, in a public space, on the move in the street, in the train or car), social rules and activities, light, temperature, sound, etc., conditions.
Context aware UI that is able to react to changes of the context of use.
Transformation of a model into another model at a different level of abstraction (higher or lower), while changing the context of use.
W3C recommended term: Adaptability.
An apparatus incorporating, or managing, a collection of peripherals, and which appears to a user as a functional unit through which to perform an interaction process. A device can include computational abilities, act as a stand-alone interactive system, or be part of a network. Examples include iPhone 4, Samsung Galaxy III, MS Kinect, Wii...
Allocation of user interface components across devices. The granularity for distribution may be one of (in decreasing order): application level (e.g., full replication of the UI on different devices), Abstract Interaction Unit level, domain concept level, or even portions of Concrete Interaction Units.
Distributed user interfaces allow access to an application through multiple devices at a given time.
The field of interest with respect to which an interactive application is developed.
Synonyms: Application domain.
Concept relevant to users to accomplish tasks in a particular application area.
Synonyms: Domain object.
Set of domain concepts and their relationships.
W3C recommended term: Domain concept
Device that cannot be decomposed, i.e. if it were decomposed, it would not function as a computational unit anymore. Examples include personal computers, tablets, or mobile phones.
Task that is not decomposed into subtasks.
Any level of abstraction in the transformation process from which the development of a UI is initiated.
Metonymic use for physical and social environment.
W3C recommended term: Final User Interface.
(a) Source code of a UI, in any programming language or markup language (e.g., Java, HTML5, VoiceXML) that can be interpreted or executed.
(b) Metonymic use for FUI model.
Synonyms: Executable User Interface.
Process of developing a software product. The opposite of reverse engineering.
Process by which two or more systems are coupled so that they reciprocally influence each other's state or behaviour. When at least one of the systems is a human being, and one is a computational system we speak of Human-Computer Interaction.
Synonyms: Interaction resource, physical device.
Language used by the user or the system for interacting. A language defines the set of all possible well-formed expressions, i.e. the conventional assembly of symbols, that convey meaning.
(a) Type of communication channel to acquire (input modality) or convey information (output modality) in an interaction between a user and an interactive system.
(b) Coupling of an interaction device peripheral with an interaction language.
Comment: the couple
<pen, pseudo-natural language> and
<keyboard, pseudo-natural language> are two interaction modalities (they use the same interaction language but two distinct input devices peripherals).
Interaction device used by the user to manipulate and/or observe the state of an interactive system. Examples include screens, keyboard, mouse, real world objects (such as phicons).
A collection of interactors that support the execution of a set of logically/semantically connected tasks. In graphical user interfaces, an interaction space can be mapped onto a window, a set of panels, or generally a container of some sort.
Synonyms: Workspace, presentation unit
Task performed by the user to modify and/or observe the state of the interactive system (e.g., editing, selecting from an item list, filtering, scrolling and zooming).
An entity that supports a task or a set of sub-tasks that are logically related to achieve a goal (or a set of goals).
A computational system that supports a set of tasks with the participation of one or more humans by the way of interactions between this system and these humans.
An element of a user interface that embodies particular interaction semantics (e.g.text input, single choice) or functionality (e.g. grouping, navigation). It allows users to observe and/or manipulate domain concepts and functions by means of interaction resources. Depending on the level of abstraction an interactor might specify a concrete appearance.
(a) Layer within a system whose information types are characterized by a given semantic content and scope. The lowest level of abstraction corresponds to the poorest information type with regard to scope and content. The highest level of abstraction corresponds to the richest information type with regard to scope and content. These levels as well as any level in-between depend on the perspective or the objective of the modeler and/or the modeling technique.
(b) Different perspectives in the development process of a system.
Correspondence between elements of a source model and elements of a target model. For example, for traceability purpose, the correspondence between a source task and its target AIU(s) can be maintained as a mapping function.
Model that sets the rules and the constraints for producing the construction of models. As such, it is defines a set of models that comply with it.
Comment: a model complies to a single meta-model, whereas a meta-model may have many compliant models.
Transfer of all, or parts, of the user interface between different devices. May occur at run time or between sessions.
Migratory user interfaces can move to a different device while preserving their state across the devices involved.
(a) Metonymic use for interaction modality.
(b) Can be perceived by one of the human perceptual senses.
Any representation of a real or imagined system or entity for a particular purpose. In the context of MBUID, a model is any representation of a real or imagined aspect of an interactive software for the purpose of user interface development.
Multi-device user interfaces can be accessed through multiple devices.
Comment: this is a general category, which includes various non-exclusive subcases, such as distributed UIs, migratory UIs, and still others. There are user interfaces that are both distributed and migratory, others that belong to only one of these two categories, and others that are neither distributed nor migratory (e.g. responsive design).
UI that supports multi-modality.
Capability of an interactive system to support multi-modal interaction, i.e., the user is provided with more than one modality (simultaneously or not) to observe the system state and/or can use more than one modality (simultaneously or not) to communicate information to the system.
Multiple contexts of use considered at design time for UI development.
User interface that supports multiple targets (i.e., multiple types of users, platforms and environments).
Interactive system that supports mobile users.
Ability of the interactive system to make perceivable the system state that is relevant in the current situation.
Comment: central domain concepts should be observable. If this is not possible (due to insufficient interaction resources), then they should be browsable.
A physical or virtual component of an interactive system through which input and/or output occur. Depending on its role, a peripheral can be a sensor or an effector. Examples include actual or virtual keyboard, loudspeaker, pen, mouse, motion sensors. A peripheral is usually embodied into, or connected with, a device, which is responsible for its management.
Physical and social setting where the interaction takes place or will take place effectively. It is the set of objects, persons and events that are peripheral to the current activity but that may have an impact on the system and/or users behaviour. Examples of environmental dimensions are physical conditions (lighting, surrounding noise, time, location), social conditions (stress, group dynamics, private ou public spaces), and organizational conditions (hierarchy, user's role).
Description of the Physical and social environment.
Synonyms: Environment model.
User interface that supports plasticity.
Ability of a UI to adapt to different contexts of use while preserving worth for users.
An integrated collection of software and/or hardware technologies and/or resource specifications, which defines specific constraints on, and possibly supports, the implementation of an interactive system and/or of devices for interacting with it. Examples are the Smartphone, Android Smartphone, the Tablet, the Desktop...
Ability of a system to run on systems defined under different platforms without modifying the source code of this system.
(a) Information provided by the user interface at a given time.
(b) Process of rendering information.
Property that allows that some state or set of states can be reached from a given state through user's physical actions on interaction with the system.
Operation that transforms a model into another one at the same level of abstraction for the same context of use.
W3C recommended term: Concretization.
Ability of the system to offer alternative representations for a domain concept.
(a) Analysis of a software system so that the software is more understandable for maintenance, evolution, and re-engineering purposes.
(b) Analysis of a system to identify its components and their dependencies to extract and create system abstractions and design information. The original system is not altered. However, additional knowledge about the system is produced. Opposite of forward engineering.
Ability of the UI to prevent users and system errors, as well as the ability of the UI to increase the chance of successful task accomplishment.
Users tend to follow various tasks in parallel. Whereas some tasks can be accomplished in short term, long term tasks might be interrupted by more important ones and continued later on. A session management allows handling of interruptions and the possibility to continue tasks later on.
Task executed on behalf of the system (e.g., computation of the results of a query).
Synonyms: Application task.
Metonymic use for Context of use at design time.
Archetypal platform envisioned for the interactive system.
Activity that should be performed in order to reach a goal.
Definition of how the performance of the task is allocated. Task category can be user, system, interactive, abstract.
Description of a set of tasks and their relationships. Relationships can be defined in terms of a hierarchical decomposition of a task into subtasks at different levels of abstraction, or of temporal/causal dependencies/conflicts among subtasks at the same level of abstraction.
Operator that denotes temporal relationships among the executions of tasks.
Set of tasks supported by one presentation.
Indication of the semantic effect obtained by the performance of a task (e.g. selection, show information, etc.).
Community and technology contexts characterized by specific software languages, software technologies, software development methods, knowledge and skills.
Comment: examples include documentware concerned with digital documents expressed in XML, the Java world.
In the context of Model Driven Engineering, production of a set of target models from a set of source models, according to a transformation definition. A transformation definition is a set of transformation rules that together describe how source models are transformed into target models. A set of transformation rules is a model (a transformation model) that complies with a transformation meta-model.
Operation that transforms a model intended for a particular context of use into a model at the same level of abstraction but aimed at a different context of use.
Software components of an interactive system that allow users to observe and manipulate domain-dependent concepts.
Extent to which a product can be used by specified users to achieve specified goals with effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction in a specified context of use.
Measure of the system resources as well as the human resources the interactor requires.
A human interacting with the interactive system under study.
Task performed by the user without acting on the interactive system explicitly (i.e., an internal cognitive activity, such as selecting a strategy to solve a problem).
W3C recommended term: Abstract Interaction Unit.