Applications across Co-located Devices: User Interface Distribution, State Management and Collaboration
We live surrounded by computing devices, but we are not yet combining them into a natural unified user experience. Therefore, we have designed and implemented a framework to generalize and support the development of multi-device applications, which distribute their User Interfaces (UI) across co-located devices.
The framework is composed of: authentication and authorization services; a broker to sync information across application instances; background services to gather the capabilities of the devices; an integration module with an indoor positioning system to determine when to associate devices.
It provides a library to determine the components to be displayed based on UI requirements and the capabilities of the available devices. It also includes elements to manage the distribution of UI components and application states that can be shared to enable collaboration.
We present application prototypes and user studies to assess how multi-device applications are perceived by users. The results are very positive, indicating that we should keep working on our research since the users received the prototype and the concept very well, which also validates the support provided by the framework. We also conducted a developer focused user study which allowed us to gather feedback about the usage of the framework itself. The opinion of the participants was largely positive and we were able to gather some insights to improve certain aspects of the framework.
Pedro Albuquerque Santos is a Ph.D. Candidate in Computer Science at NOVA School of Science and Technology/NOVA University Lisbon, Teaching Assistant at the Setúbal School of Technology/Polytechnic Institute of Setúbal and a Member of NOVA LINCS and Sustain.RD research centers. He holds a B.Sc. and M.Sc. in Computer Science. His Ph.D. research is about the development of applications which have a user interface that spans across multiple co-located devices. His main research interests are mobile and ubiquitous computing, human-computer interaction, context aware computing and applied machine learning. He has also collaborated in multi-disciplinary research projects about art history, conservation and restoration, computer accessibility and eHealth.