Creating consistent User Interfaces (UIs) is a time consuming and error prone process, but consistency and conformance with guidelines is becoming increasingly important for software developers. For example, Apple has raised the bar for UI Consistency by requiring that iOS applications conform with their Human Interface Guidelines (HIG). Non-conforming applications can be removed from the App Store:
“10.6. Apps must comply with all terms and conditions explained in the Apple iPhone Human Interface Guidelines and the Apple iPad Human Interface Guidelines” — App Store Review Guidelines, Apple Inc. (pdf)
Despite support for creating user interfaces through graphical tools such as Visual Studio and XCode, developers and designers are left largely on their own when it comes to checking for conformance. Unfortunately, documents such as Apple’s HIG are not suitable for automated processing–a critical part of any serious software development workflow. Often, these concerns are left unaddressed, or inadequately addressed, because it is prohibitively expensive to manually examine a user interface after each software update. Automated tools could check for UI consistency and conformance, moving checks for User Interface Semantics into traditional testing processes.
Galois has been awarded a Phase II SBIR (Small Business Innovative Research) contract with the United States Army to develop tools that can automatically check for conformance with user interface guidelines. The technologies we develop under this project will reason about user interfaces on a semantic level, enabling complex documents such as Apple’s Human Interface Guidelines to be enforced automatically.
The Phase II SBIR project will be led by Rogan Creswick.