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Low-effort, high-payoff user interface reengineering

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4 Author(s)

Although increasingly sophisticated design methodologies for developing new user interfaces exist, low-effort, high-payoff user interface reengineering represents a new direction-and opportunity. Yet reengineering a working system is complex and risky because of the potential disruption to users and managers, their justifiable fear of change, and the lack of guarantees that such changes will be for the better. Our largely positive experiences with the projects described here lead us to believe that user interface reengineering is a viable and important process. Low effort, high-payoff improvement recommendations can probably be made for most existing systems. Nevertheless, a narrowly focused user interface reengineering plan may be inappropriate when the major problems lie outside the scope of the user interface, such as inadequate functionalities, frequent crashes, and network problems. Attempts at improving less severe problems while ignoring deeper ones may be perceived as insensitive by the users. In such cases it is important to consider either making similar short-term improvements for other parts of the systems or postponing short-term user interface reengineering in favour of a more complete system reengineering. Similarly, the need for interface stability might outweigh the benefits of the short-term improvements if a complete reengineering is planned for the near future. But most likely these proposed diagnostic strategies and opportunities for improvement are only a prelude to the much larger task of business reengineering, which implies extensive user interface reengineering

Published in:

IEEE Software  (Volume:14 ,  Issue: 4 )