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User-tailorable systems: Pressing the issues with buttons

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Abstract

It is impossible to design systems which are appropriate for all users and all situations. We believe that a useful technique is to have end users tailor their systems to match their personal work practices. This requires not only systems which can be tailored, but a culture within which users feel in control of the system and in which tailoring is the norm. In a two-pronged research project we have worked closely with a group of users to develop a system to support tailoring and to help the users evolve a “tailoring culture”. This has resulted in a flexible system based around the use of distributed on-screen Buttons to support a range of tailoring techniques.
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... In contrast to standard protocols, the HCI scholarship proposes interesting approaches to enriching the functionality of a piece of software at runtime, which may inform designs that help communication partners address asymmetries in the functionality of their apps. Such approaches include sending self-contained functionality in the form of buttons [53], synchronizing malleable interfaces across all connected users [50,64], and re-purposing system-wide services such as keyboards [40], notifications [18], or always-on-top "applets" Brudy et al. [17] to serve app-agnostic functionality. We invite designers and academics to explore these and other novel paths to breaking network effects and enabling freedom of choice among messaging tools. ...
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... Some approaches offer the technical possibility for the user to change the application during use by having access to the underlying programming language. MacLean et al [MCLM90] describe how to build a whole application by combining, cloning, and editing small components (buttons), associated to simple individual actions. This seminal work has greatly inspired our work, where graphical programmable objects (see section 4.2) form the basis of an application, and are a technical extension of buttons to more general programmable graphical objects. ...
... Apart from the previously mentioned projects, some other earlier projects in adaptable and adaptive systems include: BUTTONS [20], Xbuttons [22] and OBJECTLENS [14]. The issue of adaptability has also been thoroughly investigated in a European Commission project known as AURA [28]. ...
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Myers, B. Visual programming, programming by example, and program visu.alisation; a taxonomy. In Proc CHI86 (Boston, MA. April 13-161, 59-66, 1986. Rich, C. and Waters, R. Automatic programming: Myths and Prospects. IEEE Computer, August, 42-51,1988.