Thursday, 9 October 2008

Richard Atterer defended his PhD-thesis

At LMU in Munich Richard Atterer defended his PhD thesis on Usability Tool Support for Model-Based Web Development. The external examiner was Prof. Martin Gaedke- it was great meeting Martin again, we shared an office some years back at TecO, University of Karlsruhe. While I was with LMU I worked with Richard on a number of interesting topics and I learned to value his technical skills and insightful reflection - hope he stays in academia ;-) 

Our experiments with remote usability assessment and effectively fine-grain user tracking on web pages [1] created a number of ideas for follow-up projects. The overall concept is really simple yet powerful: people use a proxy server (willingly or transparent) and by these means Javascript code is included in the html-source of arbitrary web pages to add new functionality [2]. Florian Alt extended this concept to an annotation system and currently we look into more general implication of this approach.

While writing his theses Richard countered our routine question "how is progress?"  with a dynamically generated graph on his webpage. Each time he checked his document in SVN the graph was updated with the current number of words and pages ... but we still kept asking ;-) 

 [1] Atterer, R. and Schmidt, A. 2007. Tracking the interaction of users with AJAX applications for usability testing. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (San Jose, California, USA, April 28 ? May 03, 2007). CHI '07. ACM, New York, NY, 1347?1350. DOI= http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1240624.1240828

[2] Atterer, R., Wnuk, M., and Schmidt, A. 2006. Knowing the user's every move: user activity tracking for website usability evaluation and implicit interaction. In Proceedings of the 15th international Conference on World Wide Web (Edinburgh, Scotland, May 23 ? 26, 2006). WWW '06. ACM, New York, NY, 203?212. DOI= http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1135777.1135811 

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