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Engineering Adaptive User Interfaces for Enterprise Applications

Enterprise applications (e.g., enterprise resource planning) help in managing an enterprise's functional business areas such as: Accounting, marketing, etc. However, existing research (e.g., [10]) has shown that these applications suffer from usability problems. One of the main causes behind this problem is their inability to cater for the variety in the end-users' needs. Adaptive behavior has been suggested as a means for enhancing usability [5] and some works particularly suggested applying it to enterprise application UIs [9]. The primary objective of this research is devising a general-purpose platform for building adaptive enterprise application UIs based on a runtime model-driven approach. To achieve this objective we presented an architecture (CEDAR) [1}, a UI adaptation mechanism (RBUIS) cite{2], and a supporting tool (Cedar Studio) [3]. The CEDAR architecture [1] serves as a reference for devising adaptive model-driven enterprise application UIs. This architecture is based on the (1) Three Layer Architecture [8] (Adaptive System Layering), (2) CAMELEON reference framework [6] (UI Abstraction), and (3) Model-View-Controller paradigm (Implementation). CEDAR promotes the use of interpreted runtime models instead of code generation for providing more flexibility in performing advanced UI adaptations at runtime. The Role-Based UI Simplification (RBUIS) mechanism [2] is based on CEDAR and combines role-based access control [7] with adaptive behavior for simplifying UIs. In RBUIS, roles are divided into groups representing the aspects based on which the UI will be simplified such as computer literacy, job title, etc. RBUIS supports feature-set minimization by assigning roles to task models for providing users with a minimal feature-set based on the context-of-use. The assignment could be done by I.T. personnel but there is also a potential for engaging end-users in this process [4]. Layout optimization is supported by assigning roles to workflows that represent adaptive UI behavior visually and through code, and can be executed on concrete UI models. Furthermore, RBUIS supports user feedback for refining the adaptation operations. The Cedar Studio IDE [3] provides tool support for building enterprise applications based on the CEDAR architecture. Cedar Studio allows developers and I.T. personnel to apply RBUIS using a set of visual design and code editing tools that support the creation of UI models and adaptive behavior. Automatic generation between the UI levels of abstraction is supported with the possibility to make manual changes at any level.

References

[1]Akiki, P.A., Bandara, A.K., and Yu, Y. Using Interpreted Runtime Models for Devising Adaptive User Interfaces of Enterprise Applications. Proceedings of the 14th International Conference on Enterprise Information Systems, SciTePress (2012), pp. 72--77.
[2]Akiki, P.A., Bandara, A.K., and Yu, Y. RBUIS: Simplifying Enterprise Application User Interfaces through Engineering Role-Based Adaptive Behavior. Proceedings of the fifth ACM SIGCHI Symposium on Engineering Interactive Computing Systems, ACM (2013), pp. 3--12.
[3]Akiki, P.A., Bandara, A.K., and Yu, Y. Cedar Studio: An IDE Supporting Adaptive Model-Driven User Interfaces for Enterprise Applications. Proceedings of the fifth ACM SIGCHI Symposium on Engineering Interactive Computing Systems, ACM (2013), pp. 139--144.
[4]Akiki, P.A., Bandara, A.K., and Yu, Y. Crowdsourcing User Interface Adaptations for Minimizing the Bloat in Enterprise Applications. Proceedings of the fifth ACM SIGCHI Symposium on Engineering Interactive Computing Systems, ACM (2013), pp. 121--126.
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[6]Calvary, G., Coutaz, J., Thevenin, D., Limbourg, Q., Bouillon, L., and Vanderdonckt, J. A Unifying Reference Framework for Multi-Target User Interfaces. Interacting with Computers 15, (2003), pp. 289--308.
[7]Ferraiolo, D.F., Sandhu, R., Gavrila, S., Kuhn, D.R., and Chandramouli, R. Proposed NIST Standard for Role-Based Access Control. ACM Transactions on Information and System Security 4, 3 (2001), pp. 224--274.
[8]Kramer, J. and Magee, J. Self-Managed Systems: an Architectural Challenge. Proceedings of the Workshop on the Future of Software Engineering, IEEE (2007), pp. 259--268.
[9]Singh, A. and Wesson, J. Evaluation criteria for assessing the usability of ERP systems. Proceedings of the 2009 Annual Research Conference of the South African Institute of Computer Scientists and Information Technologists, ACM (2009), pp. 87--95.
[10]Topi, H., Lucas, W.T., and Babaian, T. Identifying Usability Issues with an ERP Implementation. Proceedings of the International Conference on Enterprise Information Systems, SciTePress (2005), pp. 128--133.