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CIM's 20th Anniversary Seminar Series

Automaticllay Generating High-Quality User Interfaces for Appliances

Jeffrey Nichols < >
School of Computer Science Carnegie Mellon University

February 27, 2006 at  11:10 AM
Zames Seminar Room - MC437

The number and diversity of computerized appliances in our homes and offices is greatly increasing. These appliances are well known for being difficult to use, in part because manufacturers want to support many features while economizing on buttons and screens. This leads to multiple independent functions being overloaded on a single button and user feedback that consists of beeps to indicate success and failure. Each appliance interface also has its own idiosyncrasies, which means that learning to use a particular appliance from one manufacturer often does not help when learning to use a similar appliance from a different manufacturer. In this talk, I present the Personal Universal Controller (PUC) framework, which moves appliance interfaces from the physical appliance to a handheld device that the user is already carrying, such as a personal digital assistant (PDA) or mobile phone. I will focus on the PUC framework's ability to automatically generate personally consistent interfaces that take into account interfaces that the user has previously encountered, which addresses the problem of idiosyncratic interfaces. I will conclude with a brief discussion of how this work might be applied to improve user interfaces in other domains.