Distributed User Interfaces: How to Distribute User Interface Elements across Users, Platforms, and Environments

Distributed User Interfaces (DUIs) have become one vivid area of research and development in Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) where many dramatic changes occur in the way we can interact with interactive systems. DUIs attempt to surpass user interfaces that are manipulated only by a single end user, on the same computing platform, and in the same environment, with little or no variations among these axes. In contrast to such currently existing user interfaces, DUIs enable end users to distribute any user interface element, ranging from the largest one to the smallest one, across one or many of these dimensions at designand/ or run-time: across different users, across different computing platforms, and across different physical environments. In this way, end users could be engaged in distributed tasks that are regulated by distribution rules, many of them being currently used in the real world. This paper provides a conceptual framework that invites us to rethink traditional user interfaces in a distributed way based on the locus of distribution control: in the hands of the end user, under control of the system, or in mixed-initiative way. Any user interface submitted to distribution may also be subject to adaptation with respect to the user, the platform, and the environment.
Proc. of XIth Congreso Internacional de Interacción Persona-Ordenador Interacción'2010