Graceful Degradation: a Method for Designing Multiplatform Graphical User Interfaces

We argue that developing consistent, usable and adapted user interfaces for multiple platforms simultaneously is a task that would benefit from:
-An integrated approach where all stages in the software life cycle are covered, from early requirements until prototyping and coding and where the same team or developer can work on several versions;
-An approach that considers the entire multiplatform system at the initial design stage with a focus on the continuity of the user experience;
-A computer assisted approach which automates some repetitive tasks while offering an good level of control to the designer;
-A repository of design knowledge which gathers observed practices and discusses their effects on usability.

Therefore, we will defend the following thesis:
The design and development of multiplatform user interfaces benefits from a semiautomatic, model-based, transformational approach which applies transformation rules to a source model, conceived for the least constrained platform, in order to produce one or several target models, adapted to more constrained platforms.
Ph.D. thesis
Université catholique de Louvain, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium, 11 July 2006