ISWC 2007 Tutorial Description

User-Centered Design for the Semantic Web

in conjunction with the 6th International Semantic Web Conference and
the 2nd Asian Semantic Web Conference, 2007

11 November 2007, Busan, Korea


Outline of the Tutorial Content and Schedule

The tutorial will comprise the following four sections:

  1. Introduction and Overview of Usability Challenges
  2. After a brief preview of the entire tutorial, we will consider in turn a number of general usability challenges that arise with systems based on semantic technologies. For example, with reference to the e-culture prototype we will discuss the general challenge of allowing users who query or browse a semantically based system to take advantage of the ontology that underlies the system without being exposed to most of its details or dealing with it in an abstract way. With respect to the semantic wiki case study, we will discuss ways of motivating users to contribute to knowledge repositories that are useful for a larger community. The participants will be given time to access the two case study systems from their own laptops to get a more active understanding of the points being presented.

    Each of the next three sections of the tutorial (lasting about 90 minutes each) will focus on one major phase of the user-centered design process. In each section, we will first introduce the most important concepts and methods in a compact lecture. We will then introduce a relevant hands-on activity that participants can carry out as they work in small groups, each of which will focus on a particular aspect of the interfaces of one of the case study systems. This activity will be short and simple enough to fit into one of the hands-on sessions, but it will convey some essential aspects of the much larger set of applicable methods. For convenience, the participants will use each other as “potential users”, though with more time they would choose more representative potential users.

  3. User-Centered Requirements Analysis
  4. In this phase of the design process, a designer acquires various types of information about potential users (including their tasks, their goals, and the contexts in which they will use the system), deriving functional and usability requirements for the new interface.

    A possible hands-on exercise involves (a) observing a potential user as they interact with the current version of the system and (b) interviewing them to derive requirements for the new interface.

  5. Iterative Design and Testing
  6. In this phase, new interface ideas are presented to potential users with low- or high-fidelity mockups, and the design is revised on the basis of the users’ feedback. The focus is initially on the high-level design, and it moves gradually to the consideration of interface details.

    A possible hands-on exercise for this session is for each group to (a) sketch a design idea for their chosen interface (with pencil and paper or some available drawing tool), (b) get feedback from the available “potential users”, and (c) draw conclusions about necessary interface improvements.

  7. Summative Evaluation
  8. In many projects, some sort of final evaluation is required that reveals the extent to which the system that has been developed meets the previously formulated functional and usability goals. Since it would be infeasible in a hands-on session to conduct even a small part of such a study, the hands-on work will concern the design of such a study, including questions such as the setting in which the evaluation is to be conducted, the dependent variables that are to be captured, and the type of methods to be used for the analysis of the results.