Friday, February 22, 2008

30 minutes multimedia tutorials on designing for usability (in Italian)

For the occasion of the publishing of our report on the quality of eGovernment in Switzerland (see details), I find worthwhile recalling that, in the context of a project aimed at raising the skills and the awareness on user-centered design in the Italian public administration, Lorenzo Cantoni and I have designed and developed 2 multimedia tutorials (requiring 30' study effort each), one on "designing for usability" and one on "evaluating usability", with specific examples for public administration website project managers, web masters and designers.
The tutorials are in italian and freely accessible:

>>> Designing for Usability

>>> Evaluating Usability

The tutorials frame usability and user experience design in the context of web communication and requirements understanding.

The Quality of eGovernment in Switzerland - New Report Published!

The TEC-Lab at the University of Lugano has just published a report (in italian, french and german) about the status of the eGovernment in Switzerland, particularly from a communication and usability perspective.
I have prepared the final report, which extracts the key finding of 3 studies which have been recently conducted by research centers in Switzerland to assess the quality of eGovernment in terms of citizens' satisfaction, information and servide offer, and future development.

Report online and Press Release >>>>>>>

Herman Hesse Storytelling Series - by TEC-Lab, University of Lugano and Politecnico di Milano

>>>> Storytelling about Herman Hesse - just publihsed (in italian): Alla Ricerca della Verità

La serie editoriale Hermann Hesse è sviluppata in collaborazione tra l’Università della Svizzera italiana (TEC-Lab), il Politecnico di Milano (HOC-Lab) e la Fondazione Hermann Hesse Montagnola. L’obiettivo principale di queste narrazioni è di diffondere la cultura del Museo Hermann Hesse, in un modo sia informativo che di intrattenimento.

La serie comprende delle narrazioni su temi generali legati alla vita di Hesse e alla sua opera creativa, in connessione alle mostre che verranno organizzate presso il Museo Hermann Hesse a Montagnola (Collina d’Oro). Il formato narrativo consiste in una serie di “storie” che presentano i vari temi dell’argomento prescelto. In ogni storia, una narrazione audio è accompagnata da immagini evocative. Questo formato consente di conoscere l’argomento prescelto in un modo rilassato, grazie all’ascolto della narrazione audio e al susseguirsi delle immagini.
Per chi volesse saperne di più, è possibile accedere a un livello più approfondito di informazioni.

Grazie alla tecnologia resa disponibile al TEC-Lab dal Politecnico di Milano, ogni titolo sarà fruibile come sito web, un numero di files iPod e un CD-ROM. Questo formato è già stato implementato con successo in varie altre applicazioni prodotte dal TEC-Lab e dal Laboratorio HOC (alcuni esempi sono disponibili in rete sul sito

>>>> Storytelling about Herman Hesse - just publihsed (in italian): Alla Ricerca della Verità

ACM ICD'08 Workshop on Marginalized Young People: Inclusion Through ICT

held at
ACM IDC 2008 - Interaction Design and Children, Chicago - USA, June 11-13, 2008

For more information on the workshop >>>
For more information on ACM IDC 2008 >>>>

Poverty, not belonging to the mainstream culture and language, lack of
competences, and lack of motivation are some of the main factors for
exclusion of young people from full participation in Western societies. As
several empirical studies show, all young people tend to use digital
technologies increasingly, but big differences exist in how they are using
digital media. At the individual level and, more and more, at the social
level, many young people today live in both worlds: the physical world, and
the virtual world that ICT makes accessible “anytime, anywhere”. As this
trend continues, It becomes crucial to explore these new kind of digital
divide that is arising among young generations, which does not result from
having no or limited access to ICT, but is produced by remaining only a
user vs. becoming a critical actor who can exploit virtual experiences in
order to increase his or her cultural, social and even economic capital.

The workshop aims at bringing together technologists, empirical
researchers, designers, educators, sociologists, or decision-makers in any
domain involving young people, to explore together some of the following
· What are main factors of exclusion from positive participation in
Digital Media activities?
· How can ICT solutions and learning environments for inclusion
look like?
· What success stories/best practices can be told about positive
impacts of ICT in these young people’s lives?

A selection of the best papers from the workshop will be published in the
ACM IDC’08 proceedings and at the ACM digital library, and will be
presented during the main conference.

Workshop position papers submission should be made electronically in PDF
format, and may be up to 4 pages formatted according to the anonymous
abstract template
Position papers should be submitted not later than 3 March 2008 (6:00pm
PST) directly to workshop organizers:
Franca Garzotto (Politecnico di Milano, Milan, Italy) Heidi Schelhowe (Universität Bremen, Germany)

Prof. Franca Garzotto (contact person)
HOC - Hypermedia Open Center, Department of Electronics and Information,
and School of Industrial Design, Politecnico di Milano, Milan (Italy)
Prof. Dr. Heidi Schelhowe
DiMeB: Digital Media in Education, Center for Computing Technologies
(TZI)Informatik, University of Bremen, Bremen (Germany)

Davide Bolchini, University College London, UK
Antonella De Angeli, The University of Manchester, United Kingdom Nicoletta Di Blas, Politecnico di Milano Françoise Decortis, University of Liège Tal Drori, Holon Institute of Technology, Holon, Israel Piero Fraternali, Politecnico di Milano, Italy Kaj Grønbæk, University of AArhus, Denmark Barry Harper, University of Wollongong, Australia Ole Iversen University of Aarhus, Denmark Rosa Lanzilotti, University of Bari (Italy) Fabio Paterno’, ISTI-CNR, Pisa, Italy Caterina Poggi, University of Wisconsin, USA Simos Retalis, University of Piraeus, Greece Thomas C. Reeves, University of Georgia, USA Francesca Rosella, CuteCircuit, Stockholm, USA Gustavo Rossi, La Plata National University Argentina Elisa Rubegni, University of Lugano, Switzerland Mikael B. Skov, Aalborg University, Denmark Karsten Wolf, University of Bremen, Germany

Paper submitted to 2008 Hypertext Conference: "Investigating Success Factors for Hypermedia Development Tools"

We have just submitted a full paper to the Hypertext Conference 2008:

Paper abstract:

<< What are the key factors that contribute to the “success” of a hypermedia development tool? We have investigated this issue in the context of non ICT professional environments (e.g., schools or small museums), which have limited “in-house” technical competences and must cope with very limited budget. The paper discusses a set of success factors that can be relevant for hypermedia tools devoted to the above target, and presents a tool for multichannel hypermedia development that we designed in our lab having these factors in mind. We discuss the success of our system and report a wide empirical study in which the different success factors have been measured. >>
Paper by Davide Bolchini, Franca Garzotto, Paolo Paolini.

Article submitted to IEEE Requirements Engineering Conference: "Evaluating Communication Requirements"

We have just submitted a full paper to the IEEE International Requirements Engineering Conference about Evaluating Communication Requirements -
here is the abstract for the submitted paper:

<< As it is important to elicit communication requirements for systems (such as websites and multimedia applications) with persuasion goals towards its users, it is even more crucial to be able to assess at which degree the expected communication impact has been achieved. On the basis of previous work and successful experience in communication requirements analysis, this paper presents a method to evaluate the fulfilment of communication requirements of content-intensive multimedia applications. The evaluation method is based on a lightweight set of value-driven conceptual tools and on a straightforward process that involves both communication and requirements experts, as well as final end users. With respect to existing evaluation methods focusing on usability requirements, our approach targets the communication effect of the design on the user experience and considers a number of aspects that go beyond pure ease of use. The paper presents our method, discusses a real life project in which it has been adopted, and reports an empirical study that has been carried on to validate its quality. >>

Paper submitted by Davide Bolchini, Franca Garzotto, Paolo Paolini and Elisa Rubegni.

Sunday, February 10, 2008 - Pioneering New Modes of Scientific Dissemination

An innovative way to share scientific research - by video-publishing papers (PubCasts) and researchers presenting their findings...a growing paradigm?
It seems promising so far and surely successfull in terms of exposure of a publsished scientific paper (look at the NUMBERS of views) or maybe for not yet published papers, or in its infancy).

TED - Ideas Worth Spreading: Incredibly Inspiring Talks from an annual unique conference

TED VIDEO talks are now available online at >>>>

TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design. It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from those three worlds. Since then its scope has become ever broader.

The annual conference now brings together the world's most fascinating thinkers and doers, who are challenged to give the talk of their lives (in 18 minutes). makes the best talks and performances from TED available to the public, for free.