Research - Usability Tool Support for Model-Based Web Development

From 2003 to 2008, I was a staff member and PhD candidate at the media informatics group (Lehr- und Forschungseinheit Medieninformatik, Prof. Hußmann) at Ludwigs-Maximilians-Universität München. I am still reachable at richard [dot] atterer [at] ifi [dot] lmu [dot] de.

Research Interests

My research interests include:

  • Web Engineering
  • Usability (and modelling of usability-related information)
  • Modelling of business processes/workflows for web applications
  • Automated tool support for modelling/testing
  • (Accessibility, device independence of websites)

PhD Thesis: Usability Tool Support for Model-Based Web Development

I have submitted my thesis, and defended on 2008-10-09. This graph shows my progress during the ≈8 months I worked on it.

[Graph showing number of pages, number of words]

Each dot is one SVN commit. Scripting all of this prevented useful work on the thesis for an entire afternoon, so of course I had to do it... ;-)


Together with Monika Wnuk, I developed UsaProxy, an HTTP proxy for user interaction logging with AJAX websites. Visit Moni's UsaProxy homepage for source code and further information! On this server, there is a backup of the UsaProxy code.

Publications in order of importance: WWW 2006, CHI 2007, INTERACT 2007, WWW 2006 workshop

Known bugs and limitations (patches are welcome!):

  • No support for HTTPS, not even pass-through. Configure your browser to use no proxy for SSL.
  • The logging of absolute mouse coordinates with -log was accidentally disabled in UsaProxy 2.0: Patch
  • Bug: UsaProxy 2.0 also seems to lose some JavaScript events occasionally. Maybe try version 1.5 if you experience problems.
  • Bug: HTTP headers are stored in a hash table. This has the undesired effect that multiple identical headers will not be forwarded correctly, in particular multiple Set-cookie headers. Causes problems e.g. logging into GMail.


As part of his project thesis, Philip Lorenzi implemented the WebpageMap (publication at NordiCHI 2008), a browser extension designed to help users navigate on long web pages, using a heatmap and a pop-up table of contents. Watch the WebpageMap video!

You can try out WebpageMap yourself: Install the Firefox web browser together with the Greasemonkey extension. WebpageMap is implemented as a Greasemonkey script which gets executed on all web pages. With Greasemonkey installed, click on this link to install and enable the WebpageMap script: WebpageMap Greasemonkey script

The implementation has only some minor problems at the moment: Performance is worse than it could be because the heatmap is recalculated too often (especially noticeable after keypresses). The heatmap information for pages is never expired. Changes to the web page content will not be noticed, so the heatmap may no longer be accurate after content changes. The script stores the heatmap data permanently in a way that will add a lot of entries to Firefox's "about:config" list. To get rid of these entries, be sure to enable the option "also uninstall associated preferences" in the Greasemonkey dialog when you uninstall WebpageMap.


Paul Holleis, Albrecht Schmidt, Heiko Drewes, Richard Atterer, Petra Dollinger
Taking teaching beyond the classroom: Pervasive computing technologies for the classroom of the future
In K. Mäkitalo-Siegl, J. Zottmann, F. Kaplan & F. Fischer (eds.), Classroom of the Future. Orchestrating Collaborative Spaces (pp. 63-86). Rotterdam: Sense Publishers
[Download PDF]
Florian Alt, Albrecht Schmidt, Richard Atterer, Paul Holleis
Bringing Web 2.0 to the Old Web: A Platform for Parasitic Applications
In Proceedings of the 12th IFIP TC13 International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction, INTERACT 2009, Uppsala, Sweden, August 2009
Sara Streng, Richard Atterer
Non-invasive Collaboration Aids: Supporting Group Learning with Pervasive and Ambient Technologies
In Proceedings of the 2008 international Conference on Computer Science and Software Engineering - Volume 05 (December 12 - 14, 2008). CSSE. IEEE Computer Society, Washington, DC, 73-76. (bib)
[Download PDF]
Richard Atterer, Max Tafelmayer
Treemap-Based Website Navigation For Non-Hierarchical, Interlinked Sites: The Trackback Map
In Proceedings of NordiCHI 2008, Lund, Sweden, October 2008
[Download PDF][Download video]
Richard Atterer, Philip Lorenzi
A Heatmap-Based Visualization for Navigation Within Large Web Pages
In Proceedings of NordiCHI 2008, Lund, Sweden, October 2008
[Download PDF]
Richard Atterer
Model-Based Automatic Usability Validation - a Tool Concept for Improving Web-Based UIs
In Proceedings of NordiCHI 2008, Lund, Sweden, October 2008
[Download PDF]
Richard Atterer
Usability Tool Support for Model-Based Web Development
PhD thesis, faculty of Mathematics, Computer Science and Statistics, University of Munich, 2008, URN urn:nbn:de:bvb:19-92963
Oliver Quiring, Benedikt von Walter, Richard Atterer
Can File Sharers be Triggered by Economic Incentives? - Results of an Experiment
In Journal of New Media & Society, Volume 10, Number 3, pages 433-453, June 2008, ISSN 1461-4448
Oliver Quiring, Benedikt von Walter, Richard Atterer, Thomas Hess
Decentralized Electronic Commerce: Exploring the Effects of Revenue Splitting Inside File Sharing Systems
In Electronic Markets - the International Journal, Volume 18, Issue 2, pages 175-186, May 2008, ISSN 1019-6781
[Download PDF][Download presentation slides]
Richard Atterer, Albrecht Schmidt, Monika Wnuk
A Proxy-Based Infrastructure for Web Application Sharing and Remote Collaboration on Web Pages
In Proceedings of the 11th IFIP TC13 International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction, INTERACT 2007, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, September 2007, ISBN 978-3-540-74794-9
[Download PDF]
Heiko Drewes, Richard Atterer, Albrecht Schmidt
Detailed Monitoring of User's Gaze and Interaction to Improve Future E-Learning
In Proceedings of the 12th International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction (HCII '07), Beijing, China, Springer LNCS 4555, July 2007, ISBN 978-3-540-73280-8
[Download PDF]
Oliver Quiring, Benedikt von Walter, Richard Atterer
Sharing Files, Sharing Money - Ein experimenteller Test des Nutzerverhaltens in Musiktauschbörsen unter verschiedenen ökonomischen Anreizbedingungen
In: Schramm, Holger (2007): Musik und Medien (Sonderheft der Medien & Kommunikationswissenschaft, 55). Baden-Baden: Nomos Verlagsgesellschaft GmbH, ISBN 978-3-8329-2789-9
(im PDF ab Seite 295)
Oliver Quiring, Benedikt von Walter, Richard Atterer
Money from Peer to Peer - an Experiment on File Sharing Behavior under Different Economic Conditions
Paper accepted for presentation at the 57th Annual Conference of the International Communication Association, San Francisco, USA, May 2007
[Download PDF][Download presentation slides]
Richard Atterer, Albrecht Schmidt
Tracking the Interaction of Users with AJAX Applications for Usability Testing
In Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems 2007 (CHI '07), San Jose, CA, USA, April/May 2007, ISBN 978-1-59593-593-9
(CHI 2007 honorable mention note, awarded by SIGCHI)
[Download PDF]
Albrecht Schmidt, Paul Holleis, Jonna Häkkilä, Enrico Rukzio, Richard Atterer
Mobile Phones as Tool to Increase Communication and Location Awareness of Users
In Proceedings of the 3rd IEE Mobility Conference - The International Mobility '06: Proceedings of the 3rd international conference on Mobile technology, applications & systems, ISBN 1-59593-519-3, October 2006, Bangkok, Thailand
[Download PDF][Download presentation slides]
Richard Atterer, Monika Wnuk, Albrecht Schmidt
Knowing the User's Every Move - User Activity Tracking for Website Usability Evaluation and Implicit Interaction
In Proceedings of the 15th International World Wide Web Conference (WWW2006), ISBN 1-59593-323-9, Edinburgh, Scotland, May 2006
[Download PDF][Download presentation slides]
Richard Atterer
Logging Usage of AJAX Applications With the "UsaProxy" HTTP Proxy
In Proceedings of the WWW 2006 Workshop on Logging Traces of Web Activity: The Mechanics of Data Collection, Edinburgh, Scotland, May 2006
[Download PDF]
Albrecht Schmidt, Jonna Häkkilä, Richard Atterer, Enrico Rukzio, Paul Holleis
Utilizing Mobile Phones as Ambient Information Displays
CHI 2006 Work in Progress, Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems CHI 2006, Montréal, Quebec, Canada, April 2006, ISBN 1-59593-298-4
[Download PDF]
Richard Atterer, Albrecht Schmidt, Heinrich Hussmann
Extending Web Engineering Models and Tools for Automatic Usability Validation
In Journal of Web Engineering, ISSN 1540-9589, Vol. 5, No. 1 (2006), pages 43-64
[Download PDF][Download presentation slides]
Richard Atterer, Albrecht Schmidt
Adding Usability to Web Engineering Models and Tools
In Proceedings of the Fifth International Conference on Web Engineering (ICWE2005), Sydney, Australia, pages 36-41, Springer LNCS 3579, ISBN 978-3-540-27996-9, July 2005
[Download PDF][Download presentation slides]
Richard Atterer
Where Web Engineering Tool Support Ends: Building Usable Websites
In Proceedings of the 20th Annual ACM Symposium on Applied Computing (SAC05), ISBN 1-58113-964-0, Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA, pages 1684-1688, March 2005
[Download PDF]
Richard Atterer
Efficient Storage of XML Data Streams
Diploma thesis, Technische Universität München, Munich, Germany, December 2002
[Download PDF]
Richard Atterer
Automatic Test Data Generation From VDM-SL Specifications
Dissertation submitted as part of a Software Engineering project, University of Belfast, Northern Ireland, April 2000

Studentenbetreuer für Medien-Software

Seit April 2008 wird meine Stelle aus Studiengebühren finanziert, mit dem Zweck, Studierende während des Studiums ergänzend zur regulären Lehre zu unterstützen. Studierende können mich gerne jederzeit per Mail oder Telefon kontaktieren oder persönlich vorbeikommen! Meine angebotenen "Dienste" sind:

  • Persönliche Beratung und Hilfe:
    • Bei Projekt-/Diplomarbeiten, Hauptseminar-Themen, Hausaufgaben, Praktika
    • Planen von Lösungsansatz und Arbeitsschritten
    • Technologie-Beratung, Hilfe bei Programmierung in Java, JavaScript, C, C++, PHP etc., aber auch LaTeX, HTML, CSS usw.
    • Installation/Benutzung von Medien-Software, etwa für Bildbearbeitung (z.B. Gimp), Audio (z.B. Audacity), Server (J2EE, Linux), Videoschnitt (muss mir für Letzteres noch Wissen aneignen)
    • Vermittlung bei Konflikten mit Übungsleiter, Betreuer o.Ä.
    • Hilfe beim Finden eines Betreuers für ein vorgegebenes Projekt-/Diplomarbeitsthema
    • Technische und inhaltliche Tipps beim Schreiben einer Studienarbeit
    • ...die eigentliche Arbeit nehm' ich aber keinem ab! ;-)
  • Durchführung von Tutorials für interessierte Studierende:
    • Bei größerem Interesse an bestimmten Themengebieten
    • Wohl Durchführung als Blockveranstaltung in den Semesterferien
    • Praxisorientiert, interaktiver Vortragsstil
    • Mögliche Themen z.B. wissenschaftliches Arbeiten, Studienarbeiten erstellen, Web-Technologien, Linux, Java/C++-Programmierung (auch für Multimedia-Programmierung), Nutzung von Medien-Software
    • Tutorial im WS 2008/2009: Web-Technologien

Es gibt weitere Studentenbetreuer - zurzeit noch Michael Stübiger bei der RBG.


Student work

The following is a list of student projects supervised by me, both current and former Projektarbeiten (PA) and Diplomarbeiten (DA).

Student   Title Date
Philip Lorenzi PA Web-Lesehilfe 2008-02-15 to 08-14
Max Tafelmayer PA Treemap-Navigation für Webseiten 2008-02-01 to 07-31
Kerstin Glaab DA Analyse, Entwicklung und Evaluation einer webbasierten Benutzerschnittstelle im Bereich der medizinischen Bildanalyse 2008-02-15 to 08-14
Annika Frank & Sonja Rümelin PA Paper prototyping, user testing 2007-12-15 to 06-14
Monika Wnuk DA Remote Web-based Monitoring and Shared Browsing 2006-06-07 to 12-06
Tom Lederer PA navigation 2006-07-01 to 12-31
Christoph Metz DA Unterstützung von Content-Management-Prozessen und Web-Engineering-Methoden durch Web-2.0-Technologien 2006-05-01 to 11-01
Andreas Singer DA Semi-automatische Accessibility-Analyse von Webseiten 2006-06-01 to 12-01
Ronald Ecker PA Semi-automatische Usability-Analyse des Layouts von Webseiten 2006-04-15 to 10-31
Sebastian Lechenbauer DA Benutzerfreundliche Bedienoberfläche für Web-CMS 2006-05-01 to 10-31
Christoph Metz PA Webanwendung zur Erstellung von grafischen Mailings 2005-07-11 to 01-11
Lucie Drasch PA Usability-Evaluation eines Webauftritts 2005-09-15 to 03-15
(nicht abgeg.)
Monika Wnuk PA "Usability-Proxy" für Webseiten 2005-03-01 to 10-01
Bernhard Engstler PA Simulation einer Geschäftsidee 2005-02-23 to 10-23
Ina Zumbruch PA Workflow-Analyse: Redaktion für einen Webauftritt 2005-02-15 to 05-11
Christoph Kaiser & Andreas Singer PA Bluetooth / cellular phone programming 2004-03-01 to 01-13
Jens Hellwig PA Business modeling and implementation as a website 2004-04-15 to 11-01