Tommaso Turchi

A Natural User Interface approach to End-User Programming

It has become clear from the recent wave of computing devices featuring new and engaging interaction modalities (from smartphones to wearables and Virtual Reality head-mounted displays) how traditional interfaces based on artificial control mechanisms - e.g. the mouse and keyboard - are being replaced by a new metaphysical paradigm, namely Natural User Interfaces (NUIs), based on more innate human interaction capabilities, such as touch, vision and speech; this paradigm shift represents a huge step forward in terms of user experience and affects many existing human-computer interaction's models and frameworks, including those related to End-User Programming (EUP); EUP is a set of techniques and tools allowing non-professional programmers - to whom we refer as "end users" - to adapt and customize software systems to their particular needs at hand. My research's aim is to investigate if and how existing EUP tools and paradigms can be employed in a NUI-based environment in order to boost the user experience and how this new domain affects their efficacy in terms of easiness of use; based on the application domain, moving towards a more natural interaction might have deep repercussions on the EUP tools employed, which may require their adjustment or even a complete overhaul to make them fit for the job.

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