SUIT : a methodology and framework for Selection of User Interface development Tools
This thesis describes the findings of an industrial survey that identified the context of use for software development projects. This context of use is parameterised and combined with a categorisation of UIDT functionality to produce an extensible and tailorable reference model or framework for UIDT evaluation and selection. An accompanying methodology - which together with the framework is known as SUIT (Selection of User Interface Development Tools) - guides the use of the framework such that project-specific context of use can be modelled and thereafter systematically considered during UIDT selection. This thesis proposes that such focussed and documented consideration of context of use during UIDT selection increases the quality of a selection decision and therefore facilitates reuse of UIDT evaluation and selection results. An evaluative study is described which demonstrates the effectiveness and viability of the SUIT framework and methodology as a paper-based UIDT evaluation facility. The same study also identifies the need for a computer-based tool to support the management of UIDT evaluation data and to assist its comparison and analysis. Experiences with this study, the results of the industrial study, and the structure of the framework and methodology provided input into a set of requirements for a computer-based visualisation environment that supports the comparison and analysis of UIDT data. The SUIT data visualisation environment and its qualitative evaluation are described. The evaluation results identify the usefulness and practicability of the SUIT approach when supported by the visualisation environment. They also suggest a number of refinements and extensions to the tool. The results provide an initial corpus of knowledge regarding practical strategies used by evaluators to compare and analyse UIDT evaluation data. These strategies are modelled using a novel purpose-built graphical notation that focuses on sequencing, flexibility, and patterns of activity.