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C HAPTER 8 using java tomake 2d data matrix barcode with web,windows application Barcodes for Mobile Applications Multichannel and Multimodal User Interfaces Seek rst God s Kingdom, that is, become like the lilies and the birds, become perfectly silent. Then shall the rest be added to you. S ren Kierkegaard.

8.1 INTRODUCTION We have thus f ar discussed user interfaces in some detail. We have seen that, depending on the function of the mobile application, we may want to interact with the user through audio, a traditional GUI, or a combination thereof. We have also seen that, because of the wide variety of capabilities among mobile devices and the proliferation of the platforms, there are a great number of user interfaces that we may have to implement for a given application.

Although we have looked at mobile GUIs and then VUIs individually, we have not looked at the discipline of building applications that may use more than one channel of communication with the network or interact with the user through more than one mode of their user interface. This is what we will be discussing in this chapter. First, let us de ne what multichannel and multimodal mean for these two terms have been incorrectly used widely in the literature on mobile computing.

To start, remember that multimodal and multichannel are not the same thing. Multichannel may have two different meanings. First, it can be used to imply a user interface that establishes more than one communication channel to the user.

For example, a user interface may present an audio and a video channel to the user. It can also be used to refer to the number of different types of channels that a networked mobile. MULTICHANNEL AND MULTIMODAL USER INTERFACES application us es to reach other nodes on the network: If there is more than one channel for example, a PSTN channel and a TCP/IP channel the application is a multichannel application. Multimodality refers to the number of ways a user interface for an application may be presented. Hence, an application that only has a GUI but makes this GUI available to Palm devices as well as Windows-based desktops is a multimodal application.

Multimodality is a superset of the rst de nition of multichannel we discussed (where multichannel refers to the number of channels of communication between the computing apparatus and the user). Within the context of this text, we will use the term multichannel to refer to the number of channels established between a networked mobile application and the other participants in the network. We will use the term multimodal to refer to applications with user interfaces that have multiple methods of presenting the output to the user and receiving input from the user.

Next, we need to de ne what modalities or modes are in and of themselves. Obviously, there are many ways to de ne them, but we will choose the de nition used by UTMS [UTMS P1104 2002], which de nes ve main modes based on the human senses (audio, vision, touch, smell, and taste). To date, the three major modes that are important in communicating with computing devices are audio, vision, and touch.

Within the context of this text, we will de ne modalities or modes to be the unique variations of these three communication methods as implemented by the computing system. For example, a monitor provides a visual modality whereas a three-dimensional hologram provides a different visual modality. Likewise, DTMF input to a phone provides one form of audio-based modality whereas voice recognition offers another modality.

It is equally as important to distinguish between multimedia and multimodal. Multimedia refers to the content presented to a user; it is purely a term applicable to the output channel of the user interface. Our focus in this chapter will be to rst see the problem set associated with building multimodal and multichannel applications and then move on to some techniques and tools that help us deliver solutions to these problems.

In the process, we also hope that the examples will show the reader why we want to introduce multimodality and multichannel properties to mobile applications. We will discuss multimodal architectures, tools for multimodal user interface development, the relevance of multimodality to mobile application development, and how we can use UML to help us develop multimodal applications. Before we delve into the design concerns of multimodal and multichannel applications, let us look at the mobile user s user experience.

Improving the user experience is largely the intent of multimodality..
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