Use cases and requirements

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Smart Home Network

A UI panel is used for controlling and monitoring a dynamic network of heterogeneous devices. In general, a UI panel is a UI software application which may run, e.g., on PCs, on mobile devices and within web bowers. In the context of smart home network a UI panel can be used to control and monitor, among others, a security system, washer/dryer combo, and room fan. A scenario can be, that a homeowner wants to start a wash and dry program by using the UI panel application on his/her mobile phone. At first, the panel lists for the user all devices which are active in the network. After selecting the washer/dryer combo the required parameters which have to be entered to start the wash and dry program are displayed. In addition, the room fan parameters are automatically displayed as an option to activate the room fan if the dryer program starts. That seems reasonable in order to reduce the humidity in the laundry room. After the program is started by the user the status of all active devices is monitored by the UI panel application.

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UIML Scenarios

Scenario 1: A development team is charged with creating a software system that users can access through a variety of client computing devices. Tasked with providing desktop access for internal users, Web access for external users, access via a wirelessenabled Personal Digital Assistant (PDA), and voice-only access through telephones, the development team writes user interfaces in Java for the desktop platform, Hyper Text Markup Language (HTML) for the Web, and VoiceXML [eXtensible Markup Language] for the voice interface. Having selected Palm devices, they write the PDA user interface in C for the PalmOS. As the system evolves, they spend considerable effort making the same or similar changes to each of these user interfaces. A year into the project, management decides to drop the Palm device and instead support PocketPC PDAs. The team rewrites the Palm user interface to run on PocketPCs, which increases the project cost and delays the schedule.

Scenario 2: A weapon systems project is charged with improving the usability characteristics of its software user interfaces and adopts an iterative usability design process. The user interface team needs to get an early start on creating usability prototypes, but the deployment hardware, operating system, language, and user interface toolkit have not been selected yet. The user interface design team creates the usability prototypes in VisualBasic, and when the deployment platform is selected, rewrites the entire user interface in C++. A few years later, a technology refresh is planned to upgrade the deployment platform to take advantage of new technologies. Plans for the upgrade are dropped because the expense of rewriting the user interface for the new platform is prohibitive.

Both scenarios were retrieved on

Servface/CNR-ISTI Scenarios


These scenarios are considered in the EU project ServFace ( by the HIIS Laboratory at CNR-ISTI ( A possible technical solution is described at

Use scenario 1

Tom has just installed some interactive devices in his home (a media center, four dimmer lights and a thermostat). He wants to remote-control these new devices, then he connects to the home server and identifies himself. He specifies that he wants to control his devices through a PDA, then downloads the generated application and installs it in his handheld. After that he runs the interactive device manager, and selects the Living room device group. He wants to raise room temperature, so he chooses the thermostat and sets it to 22o C. He sits on a armchair, selects the media player and goes through the audio file list. He wants to listen to opera, chooses Puccini’s Tosca and gives the play command. After one hour he realize that is growing dark, then he takes his PDA and sets to 80% the brightness of the living room dimmer light. He wants to check the others light in his home, then he selects the entrance dimmer light from the Entrance device group an turns on it. He also checks that the other lights are turn off (first he selects the Bathroom device group, then the Bedroom device group). He invited his friends for watching a film this night and he wants to be sure that he has a good one. Then he takes his PDA and selects Media player the Living room device group. He find out that he steel has a copy of “The Godfather”, and he decide to watch this film because his friend Mike has never seen it. When his friends arrive, he opens the door and turn on the kitchen light from the Kitchen device group. After dining they sit down in the living room. Tom selects the Living room device group using the PDA, then he sets brightness of the living room dimmer light to 20%, chooses the Video list from the Media player, selects “The Godfather.avi” file from the list and gives the play command. After few minutes Paul says that he wants to take a packet of chips, then Tom gives the pause command to the Media player, and takes some snacks and drinks. Now everything is ok and Tom gives the play command to the Media player. At the end of the film, Tom sets the living room light to 50%, and his friends leave his home. Now Tom is tired, turns off all lights in his home and go to bed.

Use scenario 2

Sara lives in London and she is spending her holydays in Paris. Since she is worried about thieves, then she equipped her home with alarms and webcams. She forgot her PDA at home, then she wants to watch the webcam video using a desktop computer in her hotel. She connects to the home server, authenticate herself and selects the web-based application. Now she can use the generated web application for checking the alarms: no intruder was detected. She watch the entrance webcam video and all seems ok. She notice that the bedroom light is on, then she selects it from the web-application and turn it off. She is a very precise person, and she never loses the chance to take a survey of her home. She begins with the home appliances, selects the Kitchen device group and ensures that the oven and the dishwater are both disabled. Then she checks the Bathroom group: the washing machine is disabled too. The last thing to do is to check if all the alarm are enabled and their status. She selects the security category from the Entrance group. She has three types of sensors: one form smoke presence, one for water presence and one from intruders, and they were all enabled. The web application did not notify any alarm, then everything is ok.