user interface development
C. Stephanidis, D. Grammenos and D. Akoumianakis
Institute of Computer Science, Foundation for Research and Technology Hellas Science and Technology Park of Crete, GR-71110 Heraklion, Crete, Greece
Tel: +30-81-391741, Fax: +30-81-391740, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
For many years, guidelines have constituted an inexpensive and widely used tool for communicating human factors knowledge for the creation of more usable and effective user interfaces. Although the value and importance of guidelines is indisputable, so is the apparent ineffectiveness and lack of user-friendliness of their present incarnation; i.e. paper-based manuals. The paper medium imposes a number of limitations (see, Grammenos et al., 1999a); in addition to impediments related to the medium of propagation, the content of guidelines imposes further limitations, as: (a) it often comes in a context-independent form and requires intensive interpretation; and (b) sometimes the language and style used is inadequate or unfamiliar to designers and developers. The above limitations in combination with the emerging need for interactive tools to provide more effective and efficient human factors input in early design activities, have created a compelling need for a new generation of tools, namely tools for working with guidelines.
Sherlock is a Guideline Management System which aims to support the design team, during the early phases of prototypical development, as well as, the usability analyst, when inspecting prototype versions, to assess compliance against an agreed set of rules, or a standard. There is some common ground shared between Sherlock and other available tools for working with guidelines, but there are also distinctive differences. Sherlock provides the framework and tools for automatically evaluating user interfaces, depositing and managing guidelines,