Angel R. Puerta RedWhale Software and Stanford University 192 Walter Hays Drive Palo Alto, CA 94303 USA firstname.lastname@example.org://www.redwhale.com.
Traditionally, model-based interface development environments have been designed with the goal of supporting an automated process. This process generates a working interface from a declarative interface model and with minimal user interaction ( Vanderdoncktand Bodart 1993; Johnson, Wilson et al . 1994; Puertaand Eriksson 1994). In doing so, these environments enforce an engineering-oriented approach on their users (generally user interface designers). It is somewhat paradoxical that being user-centered design methodologies so well-accepted as sound approaches to user interface design, the tools in the model-based approach that support user-centered interface design are not themselves user-centered in nature. Instead, these tools force designers to follow a task flow that is not natural to them and that does not correspond to their normal design flow.
Over the past two years, our group has been developing a new-generation model-based environment called MOBI-D (Model-Based Interface Designer) ( Puerta 1997) that has as one of its central goals to support a human-centered design process. In this paper, we enumerate the components and principal features of MOBI-D and present a number of design principles that we believe essential in order to enable a human-centered task flow in model-based interface development environments. We then describe how each of the tools in MOBI-D attempts to follow such design principles. The result is a suite of tools that supports designers in their regular activities without forcing significant changes in how those designers complete their tasks.