Bilkent University
Department of Computer Engineering


A Tool Framework for Developing Context-Sensitive User Assistance Systems using Model-driven Aspect Weaving


Murat Açar
MSc Student
Computer Engineering Department
Bilkent University

User assistance systems act as a guide for the users of software products. These systems aim to guarantee successful utilization of tasks by providing required guidance in response to several criteria such as application context, user experience and controlled flow of execution. Early on, off-line user manuals were mostly the mediums of user assistance, and technically, they were independent of the systems they belong to. The upward trend in user assistance systems is that the provision of assistance is automated through some attached mechanisms to the software systems. In this study, context-sensitive user assistance systems, which are dependent on the application context, are undertaken as the mechanisms of automation. Unfortunately, the development of these systems is not trivial and has to encounter several difficulties. Besides, the integration of context-sensitive guidance is a rather challenging task due to the crosscutting attitude of help concerns.

The overall objective of this thesis is to reveal the state of art advances in user assistance systems, and to propose a tool framework for developing context-sensitive user assistance systems. Firstly, we conducted two systematic literature reviews for both automated and embedded user assistance systems. The research findings are presented in parallel with the work published in the literature, and we aim at revealing a variety of techniques used for automated and embedded user assistance. The systematic reviews are conducted by a multiphase study selection process under a great many of articles obtained by dedicated search strategies. Having analyzed the results of systematic reviews, our tool framework consists of tools for modeling user assistance concerns, generating and modularizing user-described guidance in an aspect-oriented manner and weaving of generated content in the application for which the user assistance is intended. The framework was originally developed and validated in the context of ASELSAN, a large Turkish defense electronics company.


DATE: 7 August, 2012, Tuesday @ 13:00