User Experience Design, Methods and Tools

The Laboratory’s activities in this area focus on the design and evaluation of User Experience (UX), with the aim to ensure that the products and services developed in-house are highly usable and provide an excellent UX quality. In this context, innovative methodologies, techniques, and tools have been developed to support and facilitate the design and evaluation of UX, while relevant consultancy services are provided to third parties in all phases of the development cycle of interactive applications and services.

Following the ISO 9241-210:2019 standard for Human-Centered Design, the Laboratory supports activities related to user requirements and context of use analysis, as well as UX design and evaluation, involving both experts and end-users. These activities are implemented through various research and analysis methods, as well as multifaceted design approaches, such as visual design, interaction design, information architecture design, industrial design, and evaluation methods suitable for different types of prototypes and interactive systems. At the same time, aiming to develop applications and services capable of providing optimal UX, well-established and contemporary design approaches are applied, such as User-Centered Design, Participatory Design, Co-Design, Open Innovation, and others, which dictate the continuous and active participation of end users throughout the entire spectrum of design and development tasks.

The Laboratory has established and supports the operation of a User Experience Evaluation Infrastructure facilitating the conduct of studies involving end users for a variety of applications, services, and platforms (e.g. computers, assistive technologies, mobile devices, augmented reality systems, Ambient Intelligence systems). This infrastructure, which is operational since 1998, has been set up according to internationally established guidelines and best practices, and is unique of its kind in Greece. It is fully configurable, with specialized equipment suitable for the study of the various dimensions of accessibility and user experience that arise during interaction with various software applications and interactive technological products.


Indicative Outcomes


User Experience Evaluation Framework for Intelligent Environments (2017): A conceptual and methodological framework, describing attributes that should be evaluated for Ambient Intelligence environments, as well as for systems and applications in AmI environments. The framework provides concrete metrics, and specifies the methods that should be employed for their evaluation.

UXAmI Observer (2017): UXAmI Observer is a tool that facilitates the process of reviewing and analyzing data from user-based experiments in intelligent environments and simulation spaces. The tool provides automated measurements of users’ interactive behavior, eliminating the need for extensive recording and notetaking from the evaluation observers. Furthermore, it provides insights and statistics of the overall user experience, while it supports various user-based experiment types, from task-based to in-situ, and long-term real usage.

UXAmI Inspector (2017): UXAmI Inspector aims to facilitate evaluators in carrying out expert-based reviews for systems and applications in intelligent environments. Based on crowdsourcing, the tool retrieves guidelines relevant for a specific system or application that will be evaluated. The knowledge acquired through crowdsourcing is an effective approach towards addressing the inherent complexity of guidelines-based evaluation of AmI environments. Furthermore, the tool provides assistive facilities to evaluators for identifying their evaluation target(s) within an AmI environment, and actually carrying out the review process, involving multiple experts.

MockArt (2017): A management system for the creation of interactive UI prototypes and their use in user-based evaluation experiments (e.g. scenarios, AB testing). It constitutes a web-based platform that: (i) simplifies management of UI designs (e.g. correlations of screens and system requirements, version control), (ii) enables the creation of interactive online prototypes and (iii) supports the entire workflow of expert-based evaluation experiments: preparation, execution, consolidation of comments from individual reviewers, analysis of results and dissemination of findings.

Mockups Commenter (2017): A web application for collecting feedback from users on interactive prototypes.

Rewarding schemes for User-Generated Video Online Communities (2017): A gamification rewarding mechanism in order to motivate users towards knowledge sharing, encourage active engagement, and foster high quality contributions.

Multimodal Interaction In the Intelligent Living Room (2017): A suite of input/output channels that enable interaction even when a user’s primary channel is occupied, unavailable or non-existent, including:

  • Virtual pointer. Users can control the TV interface by hovering their hand over the Leap Motion sensors which are embedded in the the side arms of a smart sofa. A virtual cursor that follows the movements of their hands, enables them to focus on and select areas of interest
  • Mid-air gestures. Appropriate mid-air gestures, such as palm tilt, finger pinch, and hand swipe, are also available in order to permit users to complete specific actions (e.g. volume up/down, next/previous item in a list, zoom in/out etc.) quickly and in a natural manner.
  • Touch. Through a Kinect sensor installed on top of the TV facing directly at the coffee table’s surface, the coffee table becomes a touch-enabled surface. Depending on the context of use, the table is able to display various interactive touch-enabled controls (e.g. play or pause a movie, move to next or previous item on a list).
  • User posture. The force-sensitive resistors and load sensors which are installed in the smart sofa’s back and under its bottom pillows provide information regarding the user’s posture while seated (i.e. user leans back or forward). That way, when interactive controls appear on the augmented table, they are displayed within the user’s reach area.
  • User presence. The force-sensitive resistors and load sensors of the smart sofa, along with the motion sensor -mounted on the ceiling, permit the detection of user presence inside the room. Knowing when one or more users are inside or leaving the room is quite important for deciding when to start or pause specific applications (e.g. turn on the TV when someone is in the living room, pause the movie when a user leaves the living room, etc.)
  • Object Detection. When a physical object is placed on top of the augmented table, its presence can be identified via sophisticated software. This software cannot identify the type of the object, but it can estimate the space it occupies. That way, the interfaces projected on the coffee-table get rearranged in order to display the available information in areas that do not get hidden by the identified object(s).
  • Remote Control. A three-dimensional gyroscopic remote control can be used as a mouse or keyboard. In its front side, it includes on/off buttons, navigation arrows and arithmetic controls. Its back side includes a keyboard that enables text input.
  • the users can also record short phrases as vocal messages.

InPrinted Framework (2017): InPrinted constitutes a framework supporting printed matter augmentation and user interaction with Ambient Intelligence (AmI) technologies in Smart Environments. The framework provides: (a) an open architecture enabling integration of new types of technologies for information acquisition and provision (b) independency of the development technologies for the applications (c) an extensible ontology based reference model for printed matter, as well as context-awareness mechanisms (d) implementation of printed matter augmentation mechanisms in the environment (e) support for multimodal natural interaction with printed matter in smart environments.

PaaSage (2014): Design of a novel social networking platform for professionals targeting the community of DevOps engineers. The network combines community knowledge with information from two repositories, Chef Supermarket and the CAMEL repository of application models and executions, to improve the configuration, deployment, and optimization of distributed multi-cloud applications, tasks of major interest to cloud deployment specialists. The design of the professional network applied best practices aiming to support the creation of a vigorous community, to allow users to retrieve timely and appropriate information and to carry out actions in a small number of steps.