Interfaces and Infrastructure for Mobile Multimedia Applications
EPSRC GR/L64140 & GR/L64157

about the project
research areas
  user interface
ongoing work



Alan Dix, 21/2/2002


The Interfaces and Infrastructure project has investigated the provision of support for advanced mobile applications, focusing on the relationship between components typically considered part of the underlying system infrastructure and the application’s user interface. The project has led to the following significant contributions:

(i)   A comprehensive analysis of human factors issues in distributed mobile applications including issues of location and context aware interfaces, appropriate awareness and event notification, and underlying adaptive platforms.

(ii)   The creation of a detailed framework and associated taxonomy to support the design of interactive mobile systems. This framework clearly highlights the close relationship between design decisions made regarding an application’s supporting infrastructure and its user interface.

(iii)   The identification of new information-flow requirements between user interface and systems infrastructure components in mobile systems that can be translated into requirements for future systems components designed to support interactive mobile applications.

(iv)   The design and implementation of key aspects of the framework described in (ii) including the Getting-to-Know notification server.

(v)   The design and partial implementation of a distributed systems infrastructure capable of supporting interactive mobile applications with explicit support for the information flows identified in (iii). The platform also includes support for (1) discovering the availability of contextual services in a mobile environment, (2) supporting the specification of adaptation policies based on multifaceted contextual attributes, and (3) enabling the user to have awareness and control over potentially conflicting adaptation policies.

Within Lancaster these results have already fed into the research groups working on emerging interface technology and will influence the developments in the innovative interaction laboratory currently under construction. Our active dissemination policy means that this research is also having a significant impact outside Lancaster. Furthermore, as international research attention begins to focus on the detailed issues surrounding the design and development of ubiquitous computing systems we believe our results will have a significant impact on this emerging field [26]. In particular, the parallels between ubiquitous and mobile systems in terms of the requirement for adaptation and context-awareness mean that our results in both interface and infrastructure design, and the relationship between these areas will be of increasing importance.