Design and Methodology


VENUS: Design of socio-technical networking applications in situative ubiquitous computing systems

VENUS is a research cluster at the interdisciplinary Research Center for Information System Design (ITeG) at Kassel University, funded by the State of Hesse as part of the program for excellence in research and development (LOEWE).

Many areas of private and personal life are already pervaded by IT applications. The Internet has become a part of everyday life for many people. More and more mobile phones allow high-speed Internet access. Social networks have influenced the nature of connections between people and will continue to enrich our lives with new forms of communication, coordination and interaction. The computerization and networking of everyday life is progressing continuously and rapidly.

The visionary Mark Weiser wrote: Ubiquitous computing technologies “weave themselves into the fabric of everyday life until they are indistinguishable from it”. Thus, the provision and processing of information will be part of the surrounding infrastructure. Information and services will be ubiquitously available. The technology moves into the background and offers customized services adapted to the needs of the user.

From a technical perspective, ubiquitous computing (UC) leads to context-aware applications that adapt dynamically to their runtime environment in order to provide the user with services that are tailored to the particular situation. Hence, ubiquitous computing and self-adaptivity go hand in hand. This implies a variety of technical and non-technical consequences. The ubiquitous availability of services and the associated self-adaptation of applications create new challenges that clearly are not only technical in nature.

The goal of VENUS is to explore the design process of future networked, ubiquitous systems, which are characterized by situation awareness and self-adaptive behavior. The project will explore and extend the foundations of such systems and will in particular develop a design methodology that supports the development of socially acceptable ubiquitous computing applications, i.e. applications that not only satisfy the functional requirements but also comply with the given user requirements in terms of usability, trust, legal regulations and so on. Thus, VENUS focuses on the interactions between the new technology, the individual user and the society. The long-term goal of VENUS is the creation of a comprehensive interdisciplinary development methodology for the design of ubiquitous computing systems.

VENUS addresses foundations, design methodology, and evaluation of context-aware, self-adaptive ubiquitous computing applications that comply with technical as well as non-technical requirements. The work program is structured into three activity groups, i.e. Foundations, Methodology, and Laboratory.

In Foundations we will build on and extend the state of the art in each of the involved research areas in view of the particular requirements of situative ubiquitous computing applications.

In Methodology we will develop a common, interdisciplinary design methodology that covers all phases of the software lifecycle. The unique distinctive characteristic of this methodology will be the integration of non-technical, i.e. social concerns right from the start of the development process.

In the Laboratory we will do practical experiments with the new design methodology, build and thoroughly evaluate demonstrators of innovative context-aware, self-adaptive ubiquitous computing applications.

The lack of a systematic development methodology that not only considers the technical requirements but also takes into account the social acceptability is a great challenge for the development of new technologies such as ubiquitous computing systems. VENUS will provide a comprehensive solution in form of an interdisciplinary and integrated methodology for the development of ubiquitous computing systems. This methodology will boost the development of new ubiquitous computing applications that meet the technical and non-technical user expectations.

Participating Scientists

Univ.-Prof. Dr.-Ing. Ludger Schmidt
Dipl.-Biol. Kay Behrenbruch
Sebastian Hoberg, M. Sc.
Romy Kniewel, M. F. A.


Communication Technology Group of the University of Kassel
Public Law Group of the University of Kassel
Distributed Systems Group of the University of Kassel
Information Systems Group of the University of Kassel
Knowledge and Data-Engineering Group of the University of Kassel
Applied Information Security Group of the University of Kassel

Support and Duration

Program for Excellence in Research and Development (LOEWE - Landes-Offensive zur Entwicklung wissenschaftlich-ökonomischer Exzellenz), State of Hesse, 1 / 2010 - 12 / 2013

Further Information about this Project

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DIADEM Dialogue Specification
Flow chart with blocks and lines

Evaluation of a Development Methodology

DIADEM Methodology for MMI Development Trial Application (DIAMANTA)

The goal of DIAMANTA was to confirm the appropriateness of the software development methodology DIADEM (Dialogue Architecture and Design Method) as an instrument of developing graphical user interfaces that inherently satisfy user needs.

The project DIAMANTA was supported by the European Union as a Trial Application Project within the ESPRIT programme.

Our group had a dual role in this project. First, we provided one of the three teams that experimentally applied the method DIADEM to a software development problem. Secondly and independently from the first, we designed and applied a formal method to observe the three teams, to determine their progress and experiences and, thus, to assess the benefits of using the method DIADEM itself.

The process of user interface development is an important economic factor for software development companies. Experience shows that the user interface software requires about 20 % to 50 % of the total software development costs. On the other hand, a well-designed user interface improves the usability of the product, by this the efficiency of its use and its acceptance by the users and, thus, success on the market. Against this background, the DIADEM methodology aims at giving software developers support for their development activities.

DIADEM, created by THOMSON-CSF, is a methodology for specifying and developing user interfaces. It improves the productivity of the interface development process as well as the quality of the interface. The method provides support to user interface development in three aspects: DIADEM defines roles of people involved and their tasks during software specification and development and organises the sequence of activities; it provides graphical formalisms supporting information exchange between persons involved in the process; it offers a basic set of rules for optimal human-machine interfaces. The method provides an open procedure that leaves room for adaptation to a specific application and development environment.

The three development teams applied DIADEM to three different applications: An interface to a process control system (in Kassel), a bi-modal interface (PC or telephone) for used cars sales, and a multimedia interface for travel agencies.

Participating Scientists

Univ.-Professor Dr.-Ing. Dr. h.c. Gunnar Johannsen
Dr.-Ing. habil. Elena A. Averbukh
Dipl.-Ing. Markus Tiemann
Dr.-Ing. Bernd-Burkhard Borys


THOMSON-CSF, RCC, Colombes, France
Informationssysteme für computerintegrierte Automatisierung (ISA) GmbH, Stuttgart, Germany 
Sistemas y Tratamiento de Informacion S. A. (STISA), Madrid, Spain
Bayer AG, Dormagen, Germany

Support and Duration

ESPRIT Trial Application Programme of the European Union, 11 / 1995 - 12 / 1996

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