Understanding and improving cross-application interaction in desktop computing

Woodruff, Jonathan and Alexander, Jason (2020) Understanding and improving cross-application interaction in desktop computing. Masters thesis, Lancaster University.

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Cross-application interaction on modern computer operating systems is becoming more prevalent as users begin to work more dynamically and utilise more applications simultaneously to complete a task. Such tasks could consist of writing a research paper, developing software or preparing a presentation. These tasks all require the use of multiple applications to complete. However, the interaction between these applications is still poorly understood. At present the research community does not have an extensive overview of the ways in which users work with multiple applications to complete tasks. Previous research mainly focusses on interaction within windows which lacks the cross-application element. Data flow between applications is also not fully understood. Research into a more conceptual, higher level approach to working, with a view to understanding how interaction and communication between these applications aids users when completing tasks, is required. This work has two main aims: 1) To understand how users utilise the open application set to complete tasks and 2) To improve cross-application interaction for users. Within (1) MultiLog (an extensive logging framework) is presented. The MultiLog system is used to gather data during a 90 day study logging users’ interactions with their PCs. This data is then analysed and presented. Within (2) this thesis uses these results to inform the design of QuickFileAccess which aids users when locating folders by dynamically managing the Windows Quick Access list. The results of the log study enabled previously published results to be updated. New results in the area of data transfer, covered a deep understanding of not only how users employed the Windows clipboard to transfer data between applications, but also how participants utilised the “drag-and-drop” facility for data transfer. Results informed the design and development of the QuickFileAccess tool.

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Thesis (Masters)
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17 Aug 2020 11:20
Last Modified:
16 Jul 2024 05:52