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1996 Technical Reports

The Clock Methodology: Bridging the Gap Between User Interface Design and Implementation

T.C. Nicholas Graham, Herbert Damker, Catherine A. Morton, Eric Telford, and Tore Urnes

Technical Report CS-96-04

York University

August 8, 1996


Hartson, Siochi and Hix's User Action Notation allows development teams to specify and evaluate user interface designs prior to their implementation. The UAN is a key feature of user-centered design methodologies, allowing non-programmers to take an active role in the design process. Developers, however, have been slow to adopt the UAN, largely because they do not see it as contributing to implementation. This paper shows how UAN specifications can be methodically transformed into user interface implementations, helping programmers to exploit the information contained in UAN specifications. The paper shows the importance of modern programming language features in supporting this process, in particular, the importance of separating architecture from code, using constraints to separate input from output specifications, and providing high level support for concurrent user interfaces. These features are present in a number of modern research tools, including the Clock language used in the paper. Our method has been applied to the development of over thirty interactive systems, including three well-documented case studies.

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