Re: Semantic Web Usability BOF in Busan

Ivan and all
me too leaving soon and still working on my reservations, shutingdown in a 
few minutes...

Preliminary list of issues on the fly:

1. New semantic web tools are being released (primarily RDF based but 
Ontology editors and othe semantic technologiesr  too) that look as if they 
are promising and useful  but little or no 'usability good practices' is in 
place to make such applications useful to those who have never seen one 
before  (ie  the majority of the intended users)

People (non developers) dont know
a) what to do with theb
b) how to do it

2. you can look at all the usability issues that once existed about web 1.0, 
great advances have been made there in term
of internet usability/accessibility, so that now even  grandparents can 
manage to check emails without prior knowledge - we are in a similar phase 
with semantic web applications, we (non developers, otherwise intelligent - 
users with different operational business and other IT background not RDF) 
need/want to learn how to use them and give feedback to developers, but they 
cant. They also feel a little helpless and stupid in the process, typical 
symptoms of poor usability

Semantic technologies are now designed to be used by specialists 
(understandable as these are mostly alpha/beta, but as they become more and 
more pervasive, also their usability must increase)

3. Genral lack of guidelines, how to's and comprehensive list of tutorials 
and support for people who would like to use the
things, as well as for developers who dont know what seem to understand what 
the issues are. Sometimes semantic web tools appear mysterious in appearance 
and functionality to the uninitated.

I think in the BOF we could aim to expand the above list of 'issues' with 
inputs from different viewpoints, identify what is the cause of lack of 
usability, discuss possible initiatives that could increase usability, 
including possibly some futuristic web based application/service to collect 
all the user comments from semantic test environments and gather them in a 
repository that could be used to develop tutorials (support the users) as 
well as guidelines (help the developers develop more friendly tools 
following appropriate guidelines). Anything else that interested 
contributors feel should be added/discussed


I tried to log into Roberto's suggested wiki, but cannot creat an account 
(the option login/create account only leads to
a login screen, not a create account one) I have already written to Robert 
about it

Could not find conference wiki

Any wiki where I can write to would be good at stage, if you can set one up 
quickly on the way to the airport
and post the contents of this message, if we dont hear from Roberto 
otherwise, would be fine for me

Thanks Ivan and all
Please note that your reply if you dont cc my gmail

look forward


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Ivan Herman" <>
To: <>
Cc: <>; "'T.Heath'" <>; "'SW-forum 
Web'" <>
Sent: Saturday, November 10, 2007 3:29 PM
Subject: Re: Semantic Web Usability BOF in Busan

Setting up a wiki page on ESW is not a problem; but Roberto referred to
an existing page already. Whichever people feel is better.

I would still like to understand the issues first.

Is there some sort of a wiki or other option set up for ISWC
participants? It would be a good place to organize such ad hoc
get-togethers... I have tried to find at the ISWC page, but have not
found any.


P.S. Leaving for Korea in about 5 hours... wrote:
> Dear Ivan and all
> thanks for the interest in this issue
> it will be good to meet
> It looks like from the responses so far that we have some momentum, and
> considering I cannot quite help with the debugging of the applications
> just as yet , I ll be happy to help foster a plan
> Is there a W3C wiki page dedicated to Usability of Semantic Web where I
> can post some notes? If not shall I open a wiki elsewhere? Thanks
> The people who have expressed explicit interest so far are
> Emmanuelle Sidar
> Tom Heath  Open U
> Knud Hinner Deri
> M Daquin Open U
> Hugh Glaser
> Roberto Garcia
> J Chetwynd
> Richard Cygniak
> Ivan Herman
> (update this list if I missed anyone)
> Adrian Walker sent some notes (havent read yet)
> [1]
> Except for those who are not in Busan, whom we shall keep posted of any
> discussions and outcomes on list,  I look forward to be meeting
> everybody in the next few days
> Tom Heath suggests a  BOF meeting at lunch on Thursday, which may be
> fine for some but others may have flown already by then, so anyone who
> can make it for lunch contact Tom directly to get details/directions
> I hope that maybe an additional/alternative informal get together before
> Thursday an be arranged, for those who still have a spare slot and may
> have left by Thursday -  email your availability and/or just catch me (
> I ll try to wear a tshirt
> that says SEMANTIC USABILITY  if I can get it printed on the fly)
> i am best contacted via  paola.dimaio ATDONOTSPAMMEANYMORE,
> but cannot post to list from there
> With the OK of the organisers, I will put up a notice on the conference
> message board about details
> Look forward!
> Thanks a lot for interest
> Cheers
> Paola Di Maio
> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Ivan Herman" <>
> To: <>
> Cc: <>; "'T.Heath'" <>; "'SW-forum
> Web'" <>
> Sent: Friday, November 09, 2007 7:01 PM
> Subject: Re: Semantic Web Usability BOF in Busan
> I will be there. And I would like to understand the issues and whether
> W3C is in position to do something about those.
> Note that W3C has been facing the issue of usability for a long time
> (Semantic or not Semantic Web) but we could never get enough member
> enthusiasm to start something more serious in the area.... (except for
> the web accessibility area which probably includes a subset of the
> general usability issues).
> Ivan
> wrote:
>> I think Tom and I and others may meet in Busan next week, this is
>> something I ll put in my agenda too to instigate about. Anyone else on
>> this list is going to be in Busan, and has an interest in Usability and
>> Accessibility and related issues, please mail me online and I ll post
>> details of any time/place suggested for an informal get together to
>> scheme something up
>> cheers
>> Paola Di Maio
>> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Emmanuelle Gutiรฉrrez y Restrepo"
>> <>
>> To: "'T.Heath'" <>; <>;
>> "'SW-forum Web'" <>
>> Sent: Thursday, November 08, 2007 7:01 AM
>> Subject: RE: User testing for semantic applicatons
>> Hi Tom and all,
>> Yes, you are right, and it has not been my intention, "tar you all
>> with the
>> same brush".
>> But I know a lot of developers of semantics applications, which are nice,
>> intelligent, and whom I greatly appreciate; And yet not often worry about
>> the accessibility of his creatures.
>> I think that the Paola's idea can be useful. We are working in some
>> similar,
>> so maybe we can work on it togheter.
>> And we can think in another ideas. But I think that the W3C has some
>> type of
>> responsability on it too. And I'm sure that they can do something
>> about it.
>> All the best,
>> Emmanuelle
>> Emmanuelle Gutiรฉrrez y Restrepo  Fundaciรณn Sidar
>> Coordinadora del SIDAR
>> Email:
>> Tel.: +34 - 91 725 71 47
>> -----Mensaje original-----
>> De: T.Heath []
>> Enviado el: miรฉrcoles, 07 de noviembre de 2007 16:04
>> Para:;; SW-forum Web
>> Asunto: RE: User testing for semantic applicatons
>> Hi Emmanuelle,
>> I understand and share your apparent frustration, but please don't
>> "tar us
>> all with the same brush" [1] :) There are many people working in the
>> Semantic Web field who care deeply about understanding, and catering to,
>> the
>> needs of human users (yes, you and I agree, humans are the Semantic Web's
>> ultimate target audience). Last year's SWUI workshop at ISWC [2] and the
>> next in the series [3] at CHI2008 are good indicators of this commitment.
>> Sadly, and despite this, the human agenda doesn't always get the
>> recognition
>> it deserves in the community. Some additional initiatives in this area
>> would
>> be a great idea I think :)
>> Cheers,
>> Tom.
>> [1]
>> [2]
>> [3]
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: on behalf of Emmanuelle Gutiรฉrrez 
>> y
>> Restrepo
>> Sent: Wed 07/11/2007 12:27 PM
>> To:; 'SW-forum Web'
>> Subject: RE: User testing for semantic applicatons
>> Hi "PDM",
>> I agree with you. There are a lot of work around the "semantic web" and
>> maybe is a good work for the "machines". But I can't understand why the
>> people working on it don't care about accessibility. The semantic web is
>> nothing if can't be useful for the humans.
>> Accessibility means usability for all. So, I think that complain with the
>> WCAG must be *prerequisite* for each semantic web application.
>> Best regards,
>> Emmanuelle Gutiรฉrrez y Restrepo         Fundaciรณn Sidar
>> Coordinadora del SIDAR        
>> Email:
>> Tel.: +34 - 91 725 71 47
>>  _____
>> De: [] En
>> nombre de Enviado el: miรฉrcoles, 07 de
>> noviembre de
>> 2007 11:40
>> Para: SW-forum Web
>> Asunto: User testing for semantic applicatons
>> I must say something
>> There are a lot of cool applications coming up, I try most of them , but
>> they are new I am not sure what to expect exactly. What should it do?
>> How do
>> I know if there is an error, or if this is really the way it should look?
>> Little documentation, usability almost not taken into account etc.
>> Also I dont have all day, just a few minutes, a few clicks, then I lose
>> interest, must move on
>> Now, the linked data below is quite straighforward intuitive interface
>> (not
>> bad in fact) although a few more explanations and how to's would be
>> good. I
>> also got an error when I tried it (different from the error below) not
>> sure
>> what to do next
>> All this to suggest  a forum is created to handle usability of semantic
>> applications, where we 'users' can report our experiences and get some
>> help
>> in running/understanding the stuffs. I have a lot of feedback and user
>> tests
>> already running on semantic applications, may be most productive if
>> handled
>> collectively and shared, rather than just sent to the developers who are
>> likely not to understand my problem anyway (we seem to speak different
>> languages)
>> thoughts?
>> cheers
>> PDM
>> ----- Original Message -----
>> From: Tim Berners-Lee <>
>> To: Hugh Glaser <>
>> Cc: Linking Open Data <>  ;
>> SW-forum
>> Web <>  ; Ian  <>
>> Millard
>> Sent: Wednesday, November 07, 2007 11:15 AM
>> Subject: Re: Linked Data available
>> Umm ,,, in
>> I
>> get
>> Request for
>> under the hood
>> Label Request for
>> Status 200
>> StatusText OK
>> Accept-ranges bytes
>> Connection close
>> Content-length 2005
>> Content type text/xml
>> Date Wed, 07 Nov 2007 00:27:37 GMT
>> Etag "7785ba-7d5-43e4bd0f48e00"
>> Last-modified Wed, 07 Nov 2007 00:27:36 GMT Server Apache/2.0.52 (Red
>> Hat)
>> Handler opt off expandfetchSourceFetcher.XMLHandler
>> Something funny about the XML:  Line 2: doctype broken.  Shoud not be a
>> doctype.
>> <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
>> <!DOCTYPE rdf:RDF [
>>        <!ENTITY rdf ''>
>>        <!ENTITY rdfs ''>
>>        <!ENTITY owl ''>
>>        <!ENTITY akt ''>
>>        <!ENTITY akts ''>
>>        <!ENTITY extn ''>
>>        <!ENTITY wiki ''>
>>        <!ENTITY resist
>> ''>
>>        <!ENTITY resex
>> ''>
>>        <!ENTITY courseware
>> ''>
>>        <!ENTITY dc ''>
>>        <!ENTITY dct ''>
>> ]>
>> <rdf:RDF
>>        xmlns:rdf="&rdf;"
>>        xmlns:rdfs="&rdfs;"
>>        xmlns:owl="&owl;"
>>        xmlns:akt="&akt;"
>>        xmlns:akts="&akts;"
>>        xmlns:extn="&extn;"
>>        xmlns:wiki="&wiki;"
>>        xmlns:resist="&resist;"
>>        xmlns:resex="&resex;"
>>        xmlns:courseware="&courseware;"
>>        xmlns:dc="&dc;"
>>        xmlns:dct="&dct;"
>>        >
>>        <owl:Ontology rdf:about="">
>> [....]


Ivan Herman, W3C Semantic Web Activity Lead
PGP Key:

Received on Saturday, 10 November 2007 09:46:16 UTC