Monday, 19 September 2011

Weekly Technical Meeting - 15th September 2011

On Thursday 15th September 2011 the eRaUI team (Farhi, Eamonn, Yanguo and Sahithi) met up to discuss progress so far. We discussed some of the achievements so far for September:
  • Producing a storyboard and development of the eRaUI blog. We also discussed the comments which have been made so far on the blog.
  • Jisc Usability UK meeting on the 31st of August - this proved to be very informative and gave us insights into a tool which promises to be greatly beneficial in terms of connecting developers and web application designers to persons who are knowledgeable in the field of usability. Since usability is an essential facet of eRaUI, this could prove to be a very helpful tool. The meeting also enabled us to meet other people involved in Jisc funded projects.
In the meeting we also discussed the following objectives:
  • Machine-learning algorithms - while at present the focus of eRaUI is on the mechanism of data-collection from clients upon which eRaUI is embedded, we also discussed some of the uses to which the data can be put once collected. There are a number of methods which could be used to organize this data and make it 'learnable' in such a way as to inform the functionality of an intelligent search client.
  • User Profiling - we have already implemented some basic mechanisms in eRaUI for tracking users. A challenge is to divide users up into categories such as 'Novice', 'Expert', 'Researcher'. We discussed the respective merits of making this categorisation internal as opposed to explicit (i.e. requiring user-interaction to specify the category). We also discussed the possibility of making the categorisation customisable on a per-application basis - i.e. a business web application may wish to divide users by attributes such as 'business type' - i.e.. small, medium, global, etc. While the categorisation of users is a good starting point for matching users to content, the eventual aim is to match users to the content according to more subtle analytics which will evolve as more and more users interact with the application.
  • We saw a brief demonstration of eRaUI so far - demonstrating its potential for scalable collection of user data across web applications with minimal difficulty to embed in any user interface. We also saw a working prototype of the predictive search mechanism which will aim to guide users to the content they require.
  • We discussed the possibility for categories of user to evolve as the user interacts with eRaUI.
For next week we aim to produce a working realisation of the data collection (user-profiling/behaviour) which has so far been worked upon. This will take the form of an 'analytics' style playback of user interaction with web applications upon which eRaUI has been embedded, along with click-heatmap inspired indications as to user preferences in terms of preferred content.


  1. Thanks for this post, Eamonn. It is very useful to see how the work progresses and to get feedback on previous comments that way. It will be interesting to see how you might approach the internal categorisation.

  2. We have considered a few different approaches to internal categorisation - hoping to have something working regarding this for our next technical meeting tomorrow (29th Sep).