1. Scenarios for implementing eRaUI.
· A web application or website is in place which has many pages and resources. Users of the website typically want to search for particular items, often the same item. eRaUI can be added on top of the website in order to make it straightforward for people to locate the resource they want.
· A web application with a poorly designed interface is causing difficulty for its users. eRaUI can be added to the website as a widget in order to make the application more navigable.
· A new web application is required and it is unknown how users will interact with it until it is in use. The pathways which users are likely to take through the site are likely to change with time. eRaUI can be added to the homepage and other pages in embedded format to make it easier for people to navigate the site and find the resources they need.
2. eRaUI as a widget over an existing interface – Storyboard
Here is an example of the way in which eRaUI can be added to an existing interface as a browser widget. The interface chosen is that of the NaCTeM website, which provides access to sophisticated research tools but in a way which is not intuitive to newcomers.
Fig 1. The current NaCTeM web interface / portal to services
By adding a few simple files and a line of code to the web pages of the NaCTeM portal, we add eRaUI as a widget:
Fig 2. eRaUI added to NaCTeM as a widget
As can be seen in the screenshot above, eRaUI has been added in widget format to the existing interface. A user coming to NaCTeM will now have the option to:
· Conduct an intelligent search (tailored to the user using machine learning algorithms) using the search box.
· Choose a ‘go to’ suggestion.
· Preview a ‘go to’ suggestion without leaving the current page.
· Specify their user level – i.e. ‘novice, expert etc’ so as to improve the specificity of eRaUI to their particular needs.
Fig 3. The user types a search term into the search box
Searching is easy – just type a term in the search box as shown above. Suggestions are dynamically updated via ajax and commonly searched for suggestions are proposed in the box while the user types. The user may wish to hide the eRaUI search box – in which case they should click the small arrow at the top-right:
Fig 4. eRaUI can be hidden in case it is obscuring material on the page by using the arrow at the top-right
A user may find that the suggestions made by eRaUI are too advanced or simplistic for their needs, in which case they can choose from a serious of pre-set options to specify their user level.
Fig 4. The user can specify their user level to tailor their experience – i.e. by selecting ‘Novice Researcher’
eRaUI is able to provide dynamic previews of content in an adjacent pane, in order to assist in guiding the user towards the content they need. A preview can be generated by clicking the ‘eye’ icon next to a ‘go to’ link:
Fig 5. eRaUI can generate dynamic previews of suggested content
Some developers may wish to add eRaUI to their website or web application as an integrated part of the existing interface. This can be achieved with almost as much ease as the widget implementation. For instance, the screenshot below illustrates an embedded eRaUI on the NaCTeM homepage:
Fig 6. eRaUI embedded on the NaCTeM homepage
Fig 7. Search and dynamic preview on an embedded eRaUI
4. Proposed technical specifications for eRaUI
· eRaUI would be able to be plugged into any web-based system or website. It would not replace the existing system's interface, but would reside on top of it. In practical terms, this would mean that eRaUI would reside as a helper widget in the corner of a broswer window. An embedded implemtation would also be available, allowing eRaUI to ingrate seamlessly with the target website.
· eRaUI would provide a search box. Putting a query into the box would cause suggestions to be dynamically generated and displayed beneath the box.
· eRaUI would learn from previous searches, and the behaviour of users having made searches. This learning would be reliant upon the data collected on a centralised server over time as users interact with eRaUI.
· eRaUI would also allow the user to choose content by means of links beneath the search box. These links would by dynamically generated according to the contents of the box, the activity of the user and the user's cookie info, IP and other factors.
· eRaUI would be receptive to conditions such as IP address (resolving to a particular country), browser http headers etc.
· eRaUI could show previews of web content by means of cascading windows or some similar mechanism.
· eRaUI would be based around jQuery on the client side for maximum browser acceptance. On the server side, eRaUI would employ PHP (for non-persistent requests) and Java. IFrames may play a significant role in the implementation of eRaUI.
· eRaUI would be configurable to particular types of system, but would also work 'out of the box' for novice installers.
· The eRaUI back end activity could be handled by a single centralised server. This could enable machine-learning across a wide variety of systems.
5. eRaUI – ease of use and deployability
· Generic - can work not only with NaCTeM and MapTube but with any system.
· Practical - could be installed with minimal difficulty on top of any existing interface and improve the usability of an otherwise hard to navigate system.
· The system can make extensive and practical use of machine-learning algorithms.