SONATA - Social Construction of Personalised Content Interfaces

This project investigates the feasibility of visualizing information spaces in a contextual and user-centred way to enable tailored access to meaningful information.

The nature of this research is interdisciplinary. It combines a strong focus on user interface design with cognitive psychology, visual perception theories and didactical methods like constructivist explorative learning


We currently live in a society dominated by information and communication. At its centre, the Internet represents the ultimate information space allowing us to retrieve or contribute anytime and anywhere (when using the right tools).

More than one billion people are already connected, searching information, communicating with each other, contributing thoughts and knowledge. But with the increasing universality of the medium, combined with growing information overload and too many choices of available tools and services, mastering the Web can quickly become a burden.

A personalised window to this messy world, tailored by and for the individual is what this project hypothesizes.


By developing “large scale” prototype environments, restricted to specific informational domains we aim to create a controlable setting, that can be tested, developed and improved together with users of these systems.


UIThe research will focus on the formative development of a “large scale” prototype that simulates/represents a collaborative web-based information space. Studies will target both qualitative and quantitative evaluations in a mainly scenario-based fashion that is close to simulating real-world usage.


As the prototype will be available online for participants, these studies basically reflect realistic usage (e.g. in a planned course accompanying style). Besides logging statistical data through means of web-mining, we aim to get quality feedback, participants’ opinions, suggestions and complaints, to base further work on the prototype on these and to report findings.


Another core aspect of the research methodology are in-lab experiments, where we will measure and analyse users’ gaze and stress levels through eye-tracking and physiological measures.


Conference papers

Beeharee, A.K., Laqua, S., and Sasse, M.A. (2011). Navigating Haystacks at 70mph: Intelligent Search for Intelligent In-Car Services. To be presented at MIAA workshop at IUI 2011, Palo Alto, California, US.


Sven Laqua and Angela Sasse (2009). Exploring Blog Spaces: A Study of Blog Reading Experiences using Dynamic Contextual Displays. In Proc. of HCI 2009, 1-5 Sept. 2009, Cambridge, UK.


Sven Laqua, Nnamdi Ogbechie and M. Angela Sasse (2007) Contextualizing the Blogosphere: A Comparison of Traditional and Novel User Interfaces for the Web. Short Paper at HCI 2007, 3-7 Sept. 2007, Lancaster, UK. [bcs] [pdf]


Sven Laqua, Shane Udaraka Bandara and M. Angela Sasse (2007) GazeSpace: Eye Gaze Controlled Content Spaces. Short Paper at HCI 2007, 3-7 Sept. 2007, Lancaster, UK. [bcs] [pdf]


Sven Laqua, Gemini Patel and Angela M. Sasse (2006) Personalised Focus-Metaphor Interfaces: An Eye Tracking Study on User Confusion. Full Paper at Mensch und Computer 2006 , 3-6 September, Gelsenkirchen, Germany. (German Chapter of ACM)


Sven Laqua and Paul Brna (2005) The Focus-Metaphor Approach: A Novel Concept for the Design of Adaptive and User-Centric Interfaces. Full Paper in Proceedings of Interact 2005, 12-16 September, Rome. [pdf]


Workshop papers

Sven Laqua (2006) Social Construction of Personalisable Content Interfaces. Human-Centred Technology Postgraduate Workshop, 11-12 September, Brighton, UK.

This page was last modified on 19 Jan 2011.


Research Themes


2005 - 2008


Lab-based usability studies utilizing eye-tracking

UI screenshot

UI screenshot