W3C has just launched the Model-based User Interfaces Working Group as part of the Ubiquitous Web Activity.
The goal of the Model-Based UI Working Group is to develop standards as a basis for interoperability across authoring tools for context awa
re user interfaces for Web-based interactive applications.
Application developers face increasing difficulties due to wide variations in device capabilities, in the details of the standards they support, the need to support assistive technologies for accessibility, the demand for richer user interfaces, the suites of programming languages and libraries, and the need to contain costs and meet challenging schedules during the development and maintenance of applications.
Model-based design of user interfaces focuses on separating out different levels of design concerns, allowing designers to focus on what they do best without becoming bogged down due to the complexity of particular delivery contexts. This is especially important given the demands to provide services on an ever increasing range of devices, including support for assistive technology for users with disabilities.
The MBUI Working Group’s initial focus is on task models, and UI components and integrity constraints at a level of abstraction independent of the choice of device. Future work is anticipated on taking this to the next level — the concrete UI which involves design choices specific to broad classes of devices. Models at this level can be compiled down for specific delivery channels, guided by author supplied preferences (UI skins). Further out, we hope to address standards for interoperable exchange of rules for dynamic adaptation to the context.
Model-Based UI standards are particularly relevant to creating the user interfaces (service front-ends) for cloud provisioned services, especially custom enterprise services.
The team contact is Dave Raggett and the working group chair is Gerrit Meixner.