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Implementing an Adaptive UI

Time:11:30 - 12:15
Day:Friday 22 January 2010
Location:Main Auditorium (MFC)
Project: Inkscape

As software advances and programs become more complex and capable, developers are frequently faced with the challenge of presenting users with an understandable yet fully powered interface. In the past attempts to solve this have included use of dynamic menus, keyboard shortcuts, modal interfaces and user-configurable toolbars. However, none of these have managed to excel in solving the core problem.

An adaptive UI attempts to take a slightly more task-oriented focus on user interaction. That is, the goal is on presenting the user with the interface and options that are needed at any given moment, while de-emphasizing other "clutter". Adaptive UI implementations can become quite complex, however there is great opportunity to leverage emergent behaviors to craft a very functional system with minimal developer effort.

This talk will first present an overview of how an adaptive UI differs from traditional UI, including highlights of modal interfaces and common dynamic interfaces and representative problems. A specific case history will be presented showing how Inkscape was being refactored to a more dynamic user interface at the same time academic research was advancing and working with Open Source projects, cumulating with presentations and collaboration from both sides at the Libre Graphics Meetings.

Finally key aspects will be demonstrated along with the required architectural changes and information required to successfully leverage such systems. Those attending who are involved with user interface design or implementation should be able to take away the knowledge of how to gather needed information, measure user behavior, and implement their own adaptive UI in new or existing projects.

Jon Cruz

Jon A. Cruz is a professional developer with over 20 years of experience, working extensively in multimedia, including programming and 3D art creation, and has developed for a wide variety of platforms. Work includes R&D for mobile and other devices, servers for large mail and messaging systems, enterprise security applications, and user interface design and development. Currently involvement in Open Source is as a core developer and board member with Inkscape, working on more comprehensive integration of LittleCMS and color management features, tablet enhancements and general UI features.

He represents Inkscape with the OpenICC and Create projects, focusing on shared resources and collaboration with other software. He has participated as a mentor in Google's Summer of Code since its first year with Inkscape and recently also for OpenICC. He was a keynote speaker at SVG Open 2008, and presented talks at Linux.conf.au 2009, the Libre Graphics Meetings in Lyon and Montreal, and various Java users' groups.