User Modeling and User-Adapted Interaction

, Volume 15, Issue 3–4, pp 303–338 | Cite as

User-Centred Design of Flexible Hypermedia for a Mobile Guide: Reflections on the HyperAudio Experience

  • Daniela PetrelliEmail author
  • Elena Not


A user-centred design approach involves end-users from the very beginning. Considering users at the early stages compels designers to think in terms of utility and usability and helps develop a system based on what is actually needed. This paper discusses the case of HyperAudio, a context-sensitive adaptive and mobile museum guide developed in the late 1990s. User requirements were collected via a survey to understand visitors’ profiles and visit styles in natural science museums. The knowledge acquired supported the specification of system requirements, helping define the user model, data structure and adaptive behaviour of the system. User requirements guided the design decisions on what could be implemented by using simple adaptable triggers, and what instead needed more sophisticated adaptive techniques. This is a fundamental choice when all the computation must be done on a PDA. Graphical and interactive environments for developing and testing complex adaptive systems are discussed as a further step in an iterative design process that considers the user interaction to be the central point. This paper discusses how such an environment allows designers and developers to experiment with different system behaviours and to widely test it under realistic conditions by simulating the actual context evolving over time. The understanding gained in HyperAudio is then considered from the perspective of later developments: our findings still appers to be valid despite the time that had passed.


Content adaptation development support environments flexible hypermedia mobile guides user centred design 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Information StudiesUniversity of SheffieldSheffieldUK
  2. 2.Cognitive and Communication Technology DivisionITC–irstItaly

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