Effective and adaptive user interfaces for different types of use of museum systems



Scientific Responsible: Fabio Paternò, CNUCE C.N.R., Pisa, f.paterno@cnuce.cnr.it


Keywords: Human-Computer Interaction, Task and User Models, Types of usage, Hypermedia and Multimedia, Museum Interactive Systems


The use of hypermedia to support access to mueseum information has strongly incresead in the last period. This is supported by many tools which allow people to implement rapidly such hypermedia. However in many current approaches to the design, implementation and evaluation of hypermedia for museum applications one of these two limitations can generally be found: design completely based on ad hoc solutions and the intuition of the designer; which can often fail and propose an inconsistent design where in similar situations different solutions are provided thus confusing the end user; system-oriented models used in the design of the hypermedia; these approaches allow designers and developers to obtain implementations which are engineered from the implementation point of view but still with inadequate usability.

In this research we have developed a systematic method for designing hypermedia for museum applications that are easy to use for various types of users, along with its application to a specific case study. The design phase is supported by the use of task models. We have identified criteria that indicate how information in task models can be used to identify links, design presentations, and structure the data of the hypermedia considered. Different types of users imply different task models and thus different hypermedia designs. In our method we then show how the design obtained can be evaluated using empirical testing and metrics for hypermedia navigation


When a museum application is used by users with different goals and levels of knowledge another important aspect is to support adaptation: different users may be interested in different parts of the information contained and they may want to use different links for navigation. The main problem in the development of adaptable hypermedia is to structure the information in such a way to allow adaptations. We believe that to design adaptable museum hypermedia we need to take into account that different types of users have different task models associated with them. Our task-based method is able to give designers indications on how to obtain hypermedia that can adapt to this diversity of possible tasks depending on the user type.

The method proposed has been applied to a specific case study (the design of a hypermedia for the Marble Museum located in Carrara, Italy, adaptable to three types of users) which is currently used by the visitors of the museum.