The wide diversity of consumer devices has led to new methodologies and techniques to make digital content available over a broad range of devices with minimal effort. In particular the design of the interactive parts of a system has been the subject of a lot of research efforts because these parts are the most visible and are critical for the usability (and thus use) of a system. One thing that is missing in many current approaches is the ability to combine these new methodologies and techniques with a user-centric approach to ensure preferences from and requirements for a specific user are taken into account besides the device adaptations. In this paper we analysed the applicability of MPEG-21, part 7: Digital Item Adaptation, for the adaptation of a user interface to user characteristics. We show how the high-level XML-based user interface description language UIML in combination with an MPEG-21-based user profile enables designers to create accessible and personalised multi-device user interfaces. Using this combination results in user interfaces that can be deployed on a broad range of devices while taking into account user preferences with minimal effort.
This approach enhances accessibility to digital items on various platforms, since all interactions with digital items should be supported by an appropriate user interface.