User Interface Chunking: Defining an entire software application user interface through distinct and independent snippets.
Publication Date: 2010-Jul-31
The IP.com Prior Art Database
For many systems administrative software applications today, the end-user is presented with an incredibly large amount of data and information. The software designers make decisions about how to organize and categorize this information and present it on the user interface. These decisions may or may not match the way in which users themselves conceptualize the information. Even if it might match the way in which 50-60% of the users work, there would still be a significant number of users who would be required to figure out the designers organization scheme on top of trying to get their own work accomplished. Based on the terms used at the user's company, and their own background, categories may or may not help them find the task they need to accomplished. User studies have hinted that it is difficult to locate relevant information in the wide-scoping administration consoles. This is likely due, at least in part, to the predefined structure imposed on the user. Another usability and design challenge exists during initial user interface development, when the design may still need to be tweaked. In these early stages, its critical to be able to easily rearrange pieces of the overall UI in order to optimize the usability. Basing the user interface structure around a single master listing of all the low-level user interface snippets or "chunks" with all of their key associations (e.g., semantic tagging, url, nav category, etc.) would help facilitate more usable and easily customizable design. Finally, it is important that the same user interface design not be implemented in two different places in the application. For example, if date and time settings can be shown in multiple places within a UI console, then those settings should always come from a single source. This is not just an issue of consistency for users, but also one for the designer needing to try to maintain multiple chunks of similar code scattered about.