Pervasive Interaction: Informal Tools for Designing Anywhere, Anytime, Anydevice User Interfaces

James Landay, Group for User Interface Research, UC Berkeley

Seminar on People, Computers, and Design
Stanford University May 18, 2001

We are now entering the era of pervasive computing, an era where people will access information and services anywhere, anytime, and from a wide variety of devices. The challenge for researchers and practitioners is how to support the design of user interfaces that will empower people to engage in these interactions easily and efficiently. Our work has been in creating design tools that support the best practices of user-centered design. Such practices include the informal techniques used during the early stages of design, such as sketching and “faking” interactions using Wizard of Oz techniques to test early designs. In this talk we will argue that tools with informal user interfaces best support these practices. Informal user interfaces support natural human input, such as speech and writing, while minimizing recognition and transformation of the input. These interfaces that document, rather than transform, better support a designer’s flow state.

Unrecognized input embraces nuanced expression and suggests a malleability of form that is critical for activities such as early-stage design. We will illustrate this by examining informal tools we have created for designing information architectures and web sites, speech-based user interfaces, and eventually anytime, anywhere user interfaces that take advantage of a variety of modes of input and output on a range of devices.

Slides and Videos

Slides for this talk (PDF, PowerPoint, & GIFs)

Video showing the Designer's Outpost

Video showing the new component & conditional features in DENIM

James Landay is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at the University of California, Berkeley. He is also the CTO and co-founder of NetRaker. He received his B.S. in electrical engineering and computer science from Berkeley in 1990 and his M.S. and Ph.D. from Carnegie Mellon University in 1993 and 1996 respectively. His Ph.D. dissertation was the first to demonstrate the use of sketching in user interface design tools. He has published extensively in the area of user interfaces, including articles on user interface design tools, gesture recognition, pen-based user interfaces, mobile computing, and visual languages.

Landay has also contributed to a number of important user interface systems, including the Garnet and RUSE user interface management systems at CMU, and the ROCKIT constraint specification tool at Digital's Paris Research Laboratory. He also explored the problems in scaling user interfaces to large display surfaces at Xerox's Palo Alto Research Laboratory (PARC). In addition, he developed the user interface for Software Publishing Corp's database product, PFS: Professional File 2.0. He has also worked at several well-known Silicon Valley start-ups, including GO Corporation and Ardent Computer. Most recently, Landay co-founded the NetRaker Corporation, helping companies make their web sites more effective using NetRaker's suite of on-line usability, market research, and performance monitoring tools.

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