Human-Computer Interaction: Ergonomics and User Interfaces - Vol. 1

By Hans-Jörg Bullinger; Jürgen Ziegler | Go to book overview

FormGen: A Generator for Adaptive Forms
Based on EasyGUI
Alfons Brandl,Gerwin Klein Institut für Informatik, Technische Universität MünchenAs a common task in modern applications users need to enter, edit or browse large, complex, maybe even recursive data structures. Many users prefer form based user interfaces. The form fillin interface style ( Szekely 1998) is in widespread use e.g. for database queries, e-commerce orders etc. and exploits the user's familiarity with the paper equivalent. Many use cases are cumbersome on actual paper forms (e.g. "fill in lines 7-9 only if you answered yes to question 6, proceed to 10 if you answered no") but can be handled quite elegantly with electronic forms by displaying relevant sections only-depending on the users former input. Those forms are called adaptive ( Frank and Szekely 1998) or dynamic ( Girgensohn, Zimmermann et al. 1995).Coding adaptive forms by hand or implementing them with a layout based development too] can grow rather expensive for large and more complex data structures. This paper focuses on how the development of adaptive form based user interfaces can be supported by the automatic code generation tool FormGen.Apparently there are three points to consider when developing a form based UI:
the application domain, i.e. the data structure to be edited,
the dynamic behavior and
the layout of each form to be displayed.

In the case of form fillins, layout and dynamics of the user interface can be quite easily deduced from the logical structure of the application domain. Given the form paradigm, the data type determines to a very large degree what to present to the user at a given time. It also determines in which order data needs to be entered and which parts can be entered independently of one another.

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