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Usability Design Information Support for the Integration of IBC Services

Objective

The aim of the project is to provide usability principles for broadband multimedia service integration. This requires the development of a new: conceptual framework, method for expressing usability principles, design method and delivery system.

The developments must be compatible with usage research synthesis within RACE (eg the URM and REMUS projects) and with the development of international standards (eg ISO, ETSI).
The aim of the project is to provide usability principles for broadband multimedia service integration. This requires the development of a new:
conceptual framework;
method for expressing usability principles;
design method and delivery system.

The focus of usability is on the design of those aspects of the system which affect the achievement, by human communicating entities, of their work goals. Usability principles are parameterised with respect to task, user, service and performance.

Achievements of the project were:
completion of models of MMMADP system based upon prototypes;
completion of evaluation and analysis of the data of the pilot MMADP system, which provided some unforeseen candidate integration principles;
completion of the first set of generic broadband integration principles to be verified by evaluation;
completion of first set of emulated integrated broadband communications (IBC) services, based upon the independent video, audio and databases;
provision of a conceptual framework for IBC service usability within which intergration principles can be locates;
development of a user-centered design method to allow top down system specification from user requirements;
development of the enabling states analysis technique for top level interface specification;
development of an evaluation methodology to assist designers in the application of integration principles to specific decision points in the development of IBC systems.
Technical Approach

The focus of usability is on the design of those aspects of the system which affect the achievement, by human communicating entities, of their work goals. Usability principles are parameterised with respect to task, user, service and performance. In addition, since they are prescriptive, they are associated with a rationale and a validity. If abstract descriptions of parameters are inserted in a principle, the prescription is generic. More detailed 'concrete' parameters will yield specific prescriptions.

The principles are located at various stages in a design method, based on the enabling states approach. The enabling tasks are described, to create the enabling states, and used as the technical basis for intelligent user-service interfaces. Both the principles and the design method have been developed from pilot studies, task analysis, prototyping and evaluation of multimedia interfaces, and are given to designers as a software package. This approach has been used for the R1038 MCPR prototype.

Key Issues
. Work domain, communication system modelling.
. Development of generic integrated service usability principles from specific work domain requirements.
. Uptake of user-service interface design methods.
. Provision of a technical basis for intelligent user- service interfaces.

Achievements
. Completion of models of MMMADP system based upon prototypes.
. Completion of evaluation and analysis of the data of the pilot MMADP system, which provided some unforeseen candidate integration principles.
. Completion of the first set of generic broadband integration principles to be verified by evaluation.
. Completion of first set of emulated IBC services, based upon the independent video, audio and databases.
. Provision of a conceptual framework for IBC service usability within which integration principles can be located.
. Development of a user-centered design method to allow top down system specification from user requirements.
. Development of the enabling states analysis technique for top level interface specification.

. Development of an evaluation methodology to assist designers in the application of integration principles to specific decision points in the development of IBC systems.

The work has also resulted in four published papers.

Expected Impact
The implementation of a broadband network in Europe will create a very large market for terminals and terminal software. If European companies are to compete in this market then a European user interface technology basis must be created. Part of this technology should be the establishment of a framework for the integration of usability engineering principles into broadband terminal design. This would enable the development of a first generation of terminals for the European market and the anticipation of future developments such as intelligent terminals. GUIDANCE is aimed at providing that framework. The framework will be exemplified through its use, within the project, in developing prototype multimedia interfaces for the production of multi-authored multimedia documents.

Coordinator

Alcatel SEL AG
Address
Hirsauer Straße 210
75180 Pforzheim
Germany

Participants (2)

BRITISH TELECOM PLC (BT)
United Kingdom
Televerket (Swedish Telecommunicationsa dministration)
Sweden