Prototyping with Data : Opportunistic Development of Data-Driven Interactive Applications

Sammanfattning: There is a growing amount of digital information available from Open-Data initiatives, Internet-of-Things technologies, and web APIs in general. At the same time, an increasing amount of technology in our lives is creating a desire to take advantage of the generated data for personal or professional interests. Building interactive applications that would address this desire is challenging since it requires advanced engineering skills that are normally reserved for professional software developers. However, more and more interactive applications are prototyped outside of enterprise environments, in more opportunistic settings. For example, knowledge workers apply end-user development techniques to solve their tasks, or groups of friends get together for a weekend hackathon in the hope of becoming the next big startup. This thesis focuses on how to design prototyping tools that support opportunistic development of interactive applications that take advantage of the growing amount of available data.In particular, the goal of this thesis is to understand what are the current challenges of prototyping with data and to identify important qualities of tools addressing these challenges. To accomplish this, declarative development tools were explored, while keeping focus on what data and interaction the application should afford rather than on how they should be implemented (programmed). The work presented in this thesis was carried out as an iterative process which started with a design exploration of Model-based UI Development, followed by observations of prototyping practices through a series of hackathon events and an iterative design of Endev – a prototyping tool for data-driven web applications. Formative evaluations of Endev were conducted with programmers and interaction designers. The main results of this thesis are the identified challenges for prototyping with data and the key qualities required of prototyping tools that aim to address these challenges. The identified key qualities that lower the threshold for prototyping with data are: declarative prototyping, familiar and setup-free environment, and support tools. Qualities that raise the ceiling for what can be prototyped are: support for heterogeneous data and for advanced look and feel.

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