A Methodological Framework for Multi-Fidelity Sketching of User Interfaces

This thesis demonstrates how designers could interact more efficiently with end users using low fidelity communication mean. The thesis proposes a new concrete approach, part of a complete prototyping framework, to support the current methodologies thanks to a better integration of the prototyping techniques.
This dissertation favors the use of low fidelity prototype as a communication means between the end users and the designers. Throughout this document, a better integration of the prototyping techniques and the current UI methodologies and software development will be recommended. To this end, the aforementioned shortcomings related to prototyping tool and methodologies will be discussed and two contributions will be achieved:
1. A sketching tool for user interface prototyping. SketchiXML aimed at solving all shortcomings identified in the existing tools into a single tool, allowing the designer to sketch the user interfaces as easily as on paper. In addition, the output generated is independent of any programming language as it generates UI specifications written in UsiXML (User Interface eXtensible Markup Language – http://www.usixml.org) [Limb05]), a platform-independent User Interface Description Language (UIDL) that will be exploited to produce code for one or several UIs, for one or many contexts of use simultaneously. Moreover, this tool is the only prototyping tool allowing smooth switching between several levels of fidelity.
2. Add-in to existing methodologies: the goal of this thesis is not to propose yet another new methodology; instead we propose to integrate the low fidelity prototyping based on SketchiXML in the existing methodologies. Thanks to the functionalities of the application, the time needed between the different iterations can be drastically reduced. Indeed moving from the low fidelity prototype to a runnable version is very fast.
Ph.D. thesis
Université catholique de Louvain, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium, 22 October 2007