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Formal Description of Userinterfaces Demonstrated in a Comparison of Iphone and Android Smartphones

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  • November 2012
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Formal Description of Userinterfaces Demonstrated in a Comparison of iPhone and Android Smartphones gz5164 svn 3820, Andrew U. Frank,
TU Wien, Department of Geoinformation und Cartography, Gusshausstrasse 27-29/E127.1 A-1040 Vienna, Austria Abstract
1 Introduction
Comparisons of iPhone and Android smartphones are done mostly on a technical level []: publications discuss the differences in task management of the OS or the advantages and disadvantages of the display technology []. User report differences in the usability and details are discussed, but a systematic and formal description of the user interface of smartphones are not available; an observation that can be generalized: systematic formal descriptions of user interfaces of applications are barely existing there are not even methods to describe a user interface formally available; most references in the literature are very old [Chi, 1985] or use semi-formal methods like UML [comes later]. This paper describes a generic method for describing the conceptual aspects of a user interface in a formal language. The description can be used to simulate the behavior, and comparison with the behavior of the real device is possible. In the present paper we use the method to compare the user interface of two smartphones, but other applications (e.g., email programs) could be compared with the same approach. 1

2 Perspectives on User Interface and Translations between Them 2 The method focuses on the conceptual description of tasks and how they are translated into (physical) actions by the user to achieve execution. It does not consider the graphical layout or the communication of information from the application to the user; the description of the graphical part of the interface must come after the general discussion of tasks; the actual graphical presentation may later influence the choice in how tasks are translated to sequences of actions. A description of user interfaces must be...

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