Upcoming Courses

go to course
Emotional Design: How to make products people will love
Starts the day after tomorrow !
go to course
UI Design Patterns for Successful Software
85% booked. Starts in 10 days

Featured chapter

Marc Hassenzahl explains the fascinating concept of User Experience and Experience Design. Commentaries by Don Norman, Eric Reiss, Mark Blythe, and Whitney Hess

User Experience and Experience Design !


Our Latest Books

The Social Design of Technical Systems: Building technologies for communities. 2nd Edition
by Brian Whitworth and Adnan Ahmad
start reading
Gamification at Work: Designing Engaging Business Software
by Janaki Mythily Kumar and Mario Herger
start reading
The Social Design of Technical Systems: Building technologies for communities
by Brian Whitworth and Adnan Ahmad
start reading
The Encyclopedia of Human-Computer Interaction, 2nd Ed.
by Mads Soegaard and Rikke Friis Dam
start reading

UIMS (User Interface Management System) or User Interface Architecture

A UIMS (User Interface Management System) should not be thought of as a system but rather a software architecture (a UIMS is also called a User Interface Architecture) "in which the implementation of an application's user interface is clearly separated from that of the application's underlying functionality" (Rosenberg 1988: p. 42). A large number of software architectures are based on the assumption that the functionality and the user interface of a software application are two separate concerns that can be dealt with in isolation. The objective of such a separation is to increase the ease of maintainability and adabtability of the software. Also, by abstracting the code generating the user interface from the rest of the application's logic or semantics, customisation of the interface is better supported. Some examples of such architectures are Model-View-Controller (fundamental to modern Object Orientation, e.g. used in Java (Swing)), the linguistic model (Foley 1990), the Seeheim model (first introduced in Green 1985), the Higgins UIMS (described in Hudson and King 1988), and the Arch model (a specialisation of the Seeheim model; see Coutaz et al. 1995, Coutaz 1987, and Coutaz 1997).

Such user interface architectures have been proven useful but also introduce problems. In systems with a high degree of interaction and semantic feedback (e.g. in direct manipulation interfaces) the boundary between application and user interface is difficult or impossible to maintain. In direct manipulation interfaces, the user interface diplays the 'intestines' or the very semantics of the application, with which the user interacts in a direct and immediate way. It thus becomes very problematic to decide if these intestines should be handled by the User Interface or in the application itself.


Join our community and advance:




Join our community!

User-contributed notes

Give us your opinion! Do you have any comments/additions
that you would like other visitors to see?

comment You (your email) say: Oct 23rd, 2014
Oct 23
Add a thoughtful commentary or note to this page ! 

will be spam-protected
How many?
= e.g. "6"
User ExperienceBy submitting you agree to the Site Terms


 what's this?

Edmonds, Ernest (1992): The emergence of the separable user interface. In: Edmonds, Ernest (ed.). "The Separable User Interface". London, England: Academic Presspp. 5-18

Green, Mark (1985): Report on Dialogue Specification Tools. In: Pfaff, Gnther E. (ed.). "User Interface Management Systems". Springer Verlag

Hudson, Scott E. and King, Roger (1988): Semantic Feedback in the Higgens UIMS. In IEEE Transactions on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics, 14 (8) pp. 1188-1206. Available online

Pfaff, Gnther E. (ed.) (1985): User Interface Management Systems. Springer Verlag

Rosenberg, Jarrett, Hill, Ralph, Miller, Jim, Schulert, Andrew and Shewmake, David (1988): UIMSs: Threat or Menace?. In: Soloway, Elliot, Frye, Douglas and Sheppard, Sylvia B. (eds.) Proceedings of the ACM CHI 88 Human Factors in Computing Systems Conference June 15-19, 1988, Washington, DC, USA. pp. 197-200.