A Distributed Usage Monitoring System

  • Philip Gray
  • Iain McLeod
  • Steve Draper
  • Murray Crease
  • Richard Thomas


We are developing a distributed computer system that supports usability and interaction studies, by handling the collection, storage and analysis of usage data, such as that generated by user-computer interaction and associated sensing devices (e.g., cameras). Data sources may be distributed as may be the data repositories and data consumers (other computer processes and human investigators). The system supports dynamic configuration of the entire process, including changes in the goals of the investigation itself. In this paper we describe the system’s key features, including a generic and evolvable data transport and processing network, a set of tools for capturing and cleaning usage data, a tool for instrumenting software for data capture, and a system for managing the entire process. We also report on several trials of the system, identifying successes, failures, lessons learned and areas for future development.


Usability testing tools Usage monitoring 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. [1]
    Al-Qaimari, G. and McRostie, D., KALDI: A Computer-Aided Usability Engineering Tool for Supporting Testing and Analysis of User Performance, in Blandford, A., Vanderdonckt, J., Gray, Ph. (Eds.), Interactions sansfrontières — Interactions without frontiers, Proceedings of the Joint AFIHM-BCS Conf. on Human-Computer Interaction IHM-HCI’2001 (Lille, 10–14 September 2001), Vol. I, Springer-Verlag, London, 2001, pp. 153–169.Google Scholar
  2. [2]
    Evans, H., Atkinson, M., Brown, M., Cargill, J., Crease, M., Draper, S., Gray, P.D., and Thomas, R.C., The Pervasiveness of Evolution in GRUMPS Software, Software: Practice and Experience, Vol. 33, No. 2, February 2003, pp. 99–120.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. [3]
    Foster, I., Vöckler, J., Wilde, M. and Zhao, Y., The Virtual Data Grid: A New Model and Architecture for Data-Intensive Collaboration, in Proceedings of 1st Biennial Conference on Innovative Data Systems Research CIDR’2003 (Asilomar, 5–8 January 2003), accessible at Scholar
  4. [4]
    Hilbert, D.M. and Redmiles D.F., Extracting Usability Information from User Interface Events, ACM Computing Surveys, Vol. 32, No. 4, December 2000, pp. 384–421.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. [5]
    Hong, J.I., Heer, J., Waterson, S., and Landay, J.A., WebQuilt: A Proxy-based Approach to Remote Web Usability Testing, ACM Transactions on Office Information Systems, Vol. 19, No. 3, July 2001, pp. 263–285, accessible at Scholar
  6. [6]
    Karahasanovic, A., Anda, B., Arisholm, E., Hove, S.E., Jørgensen, M., and Sjøberg, D., A Think-Aloud Support Tool for Collecting Feedback in Large-Scale Software Engineering Experiments, Simula Research Laboratory Technical Report 2003-7, 2003, accessible at Scholar
  7. [7]
    Kölling, M., Quig, B., Patterson, A., and Rosenberg, J., The Blue J System and its Pedagogy, The Journal of Computer Science Education, Special Issue on Learning and Teaching Object Technology, Vol. 13, No. 4, December 2003, pp. 249–268.Google Scholar
  8. [8]
    Mcleod, I.A., IGUESS: Instrumentation of Bytecode in the Production of Grumps Event Sources, B.Sc. thesis, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, 2003.Google Scholar
  9. [9]
    Thomas, R.C., Kennedy, G.E., Mancy, R., Crease, M., Draper, S., Evans, H., and Gray, P.D., Generic Usage Monitoring of Programming Students, in Proc. of Australian Society for Computers in Learning in Tertiary Education ASCILITE’2003 (Adelaide, 7–10 December 2003), The University of Adelaide, Adelaide, 2003.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Philip Gray
    • 1
  • Iain McLeod
    • 1
  • Steve Draper
    • 2
  • Murray Crease
    • 3
  • Richard Thomas
    • 4
  1. 1.Computing Science DepartmentUniversity of GlasgowGlasgowScotland
  2. 2.Psychology DepartmentUniversity of GlasgowGlasgowScotland
  3. 3.NRC-IIT e-BusinessFrederictonCanada
  4. 4.Computer Science & Software EngineeringThe University of Western AustraliaCrawleyAustralia

Personalised recommendations