Initial hypothesis and general objectives
Public administrations are absolutely concerned with the benefits of the inclusion of all citizens into the digital society. Many initiatives have been launched for providing public services by means of new information and communication technologies. Developing such electronic services requires always a lot of investment in resources, though in many cases the involvement of the citizens is not as effective as expected. This may be due to the fact that the implementation of eServices is often government-driven instead of citizen-driven. For example, government organizations digitize services that citizens find irrelevant, sometimes neglecting important issues such as quality aspects (such as accessibility and usability). As a consequence, the techniques used do not meet citizens’ expectations.
The diversity of citizens (in age; needs; backgrounds; sensory, physical and cognitive characteristics; etc.) have to be considered in order to increase the use of eServices. Therefore, they have to provide products that meet the different expectations. In this project we will provide a technological solution based on personalization.
Application of personalization techniques to public electronic services could significantly improve user experience in general as well as mitigate the accessibility barriers found by people with disabilities in particular. This type of techniques has been broadly developed in other areas such as ubiquitous services and informational websites. Public administrations also are trying to introduce this kind of techniques in electronic services.
This project aims to use data mining and user profiling and adaptation techniques to define an architecture which, in cooperation with the service already developed by a public entity, will provide added value to both the public administration and the end user of the public service. On the one hand, the public entity will have a better understanding of the different types of users and the difficulties they have accessing to the digital information and services of the institution. And, on the other hand, the end users will enjoy an automatically generated customized service based on their needs and preferences. The involvement of users and user associations is a key factor because it will ensure the quality and appropriateness of the proposed solutions.
The results obtained in this project will contribute to easier future development of public personalised electronic services universally accessible for all by applying a combination of modern technology: web-mining techniques, user profiling methods, multidevice support and service personalization techniques. Therefore, all citizens will be able to perform procedures with public administration services based on the use of new information and communication technologies and across multiple devices in a satisfactory way.
The objectives of the project are:
- Development of specific web-mining techniques for detecting common usage patterns and anomalous or problematic usage cases from tracked usage data of eGovernment services.
- Creation of a comprehensive repository of adaptation techniques’ for personalizing content, presentation and navigation of eGovernment services.
- Application of appropriate user profiling techniques for providing personalised access to eGovernment services across multiple devices.
- Definition of a formal and methodological support according to a MDD strategy for the development of personalised eGovernment services. This support is included in a workspace which will provide resources to allow designers of the eGovernment services to design user-tailored interfaces. These interfaces will be fully accessible from diverse devices.
The Spanish Strategy for Science, Technology and Innovation lists eight challenges, one of them being “Economy and Digital Society” (Economía y Sociedad Digital). This project will contribute to that field and, in addition, it will make intensive use of Information and Communications Technology (ICT), which is one of the Essential Enabling Technologies identified in Horizon 2020, also included in the afore mentioned Spanish Strategy. This proposal is also in line with the challenges defined in two upcoming Horizon 2020 calls: INSO-1-2014/2015 “ICT-enabled open government” and EURO-6-2015 “Meeting new societal needs by using emerging technologies in the public sector”. The project is focused on the interaction between citizens and public authorities, and the creation of open citizen-centric public services. It will achieve advances in the offering of personalised and mobile public services, taking into account the users’ needs, especially of those with disabilities.
The project fits in the context of the challenge “Economy and Digital Society” because the results of the project will improve the mechanisms of relationship with the consumer (in this context the user of a public service), and promote digital inclusion, including the development of the principles of universal accessibility for people with disabilities. This is achieved by means of the methodology for the generation of user adapted interfaces, which will be tested, among others, by people with special needs.
Specific objectives of each subproject
Subproject 1 (EHU)
- Discovery of common usage patterns in eGovernment services by applying specific web-mining techniques to tracked usage data of services provided by a regional government (Provincial Council of Gipuzkoa).
- Creation of user profiling techniques for adaptive personalization of eGovernment services considering dynamic user behaviour and characteristics, service functionalities and device features.
- Definition of on-line support systems for users and administrators of eGovernment services by means of machine learning techniques applied at runtime.
- Development of a user-tailored personalised eGovernment service prototype to conduct a proof-of-concept validation.
Subproject 2 (UC3M)
- Analysis and selection of techniques required to personalise contents in eGoverment services using approaches based on NLP (including text simplification techniques) in order to define adaptation strategies compliant with the WAI/W3C WCAG 2.0 Web accessibility guidelines.
- Definition of a methodological framework for the development of user-tailored personalised eGovernment services supporting multidevice and taking into account current MBD and MDD technologies.
- Development of a user-tailored personalised eGovernment service prototype to conduct a proof-of-concept validation (shared with the objective 4 of the Subproject 1).
WorkPackage01: Identification of the eGovernment systems to be modelled.
Based on the state of the art in the topic, a preliminary analysis of the usage data and working with the Provincial Council of Gipuzkoa and IZFE, we will first identify the eGovernment services and parts of the site to be modelled and adapted so that the project has the biggest possible impact.
WorkPackage02: User behaviour pattern discovery.
Web mining and data mining techniques for modelling eServices will be used to discover usage patterns in the interaction with the information contained in the eServices selected. Different types of usage patterns such as frequent paths, input/output URLs, fast versus slow accesses, etc. will be discovered for both common usage data and the data associated to special cases with problematic interaction.
WorkPackage03: Generation of dynamic user profiles for personalizing multi-device accessible public eServices.
A user profile model appropriate for the development of heterogeneous personalised and adaptive public eServices will be generated. In order to provide the best possible solution, we will analyse several personalization solutions for achieving universal access to public eServices by providing adequate user profiling techniques as well as content, presentation and navigation adaptation techniques. In addition, multidevice support to personalised eServices will be analysed and techniques of personalization of mobile interfaces will be studied.
WorkPackage04: Anomaly detection to support users and system administrators.
Based on the web and eService usage patterns extracted using data mining techniques, interaction problems will be automatically detected and support will be provided to both the users and the designer of the website or eService. Moreover, the extracted knowledge will be used to enrich the structure of the information included in the user profiles. As a consequence, once the objective is reached, the website and eServices will appear improved by adaptations, making them more accessible for users with different skills, and providing a better user experience.
WorkPackage05: Formal and methodological framework based on the acquired experience.
A formal collaboration agreement has been signed with the research group LoUISE (from the Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha) in order to collaborate in the development of the model-based software framework.
For the formal and methodological framework devoted to assist professionals in the development of accessible eGovernment applications and in the user-tailored personalised eGovernment services generation, several MBD and MDD approaches will be analysed and the experience acquired will be used to obtain an abstract definition of the requirements collected from accessibility standards and the needs of personalised eGovernment services. The proposal will include a methodological support to integrate these requirements in accordance with the results obtained in the rest of WPs. This work package will be developed in parallel in time with the other packages in order to ensure that there is adequate time for integration of requirements in the design following a methodological approach based on models. This solution assists in the integration of the requirements at different steps of a software development process according to MBD or MDD strategies. Proof of concept of the Framework (architecture, models and technology) developed in the project will also be performed. A case study (one critical public service of the regional government) will be selected. A prototype development and evaluation for the selected case study will be carried out.
WorkPackage06: Project coordination, exploitation and dissemination of results.
This work package is devoted to arrange the internal organization and coherence of the research, and to maximize its external impact by means of adequate dissemination and exploitation plans.
Expected impact of the Project
eGovernment is one of the priority fields for the EC due to the increase of services provided through internet by the diverse administrations. The rise of the interest in this field has not been accompanied by a substantial advancement in the provision of suitable methodologies, models, tools, guidelines, good practice cases, etc. In this project, we put together specialists in diverse areas focused on data-mining, analysis, design, personalization and exploitation of web applications, who in collaboration with experts in eGovernment will enhance well-established web programming and accessing techniques and methodologies in order to optimize them for eGovernment applications. If successful, this project will enhance the quality of the tools for the design of eAdministration services. This will very much enhance citizens’ participation and eGovernment access by everyone, from everywhere, through any device. In addition, the knowledge and experience obtained in this project will enhance the position of the partners with respect to a future call for European project in this field.
Therefore, the coordinated project can have considerable impact on the scientific-technical field: it will propose an architecture that will support methodology and tools for model-based design of universally accessible eServices that will be easily transferred to interested administrations and companies. In this way, economic impact can be achieved in the medium term, because the market of eGovernment applications is expected to require suitable technical support.
For the short term, the dissemination plan is focused on dissemination in scientific publications. The detailed plan of publications in international scientific journals and conferences drawn is supported by the record of previous publications of the consortium (some of them in collaboration of both research groups EHU and UC3M).
In relation to exploitation plans, diverse companies and a regional administration participate in this project as Promoter-Entity (EPO). The work team of EHU includes experts from a regional administration (the Provincial Council of Gipuzkoa that has the function, among others, of collecting taxes) with its associated Software Company (IZFE). Both of them also act as EPOs for the project. The Council is eager to contribute with usage data and to apply the results to the resulting eAdministration applications. On the other hand, the UC3M team keeps a strong collaboration with DAEDALUS S.A. (www.daedalus.es), a private SME company founded in 1998 as a spin-off of the Polytechnic University of Madrid. Its main area of activity is the development of products and services that incorporate linguistic technology. The second company, B2T (http://www.b2tconcept.com/) is an emerging technology company specialized in advanced information systems development that has a model-based software engineering technology to build large and complex business applications without programming. The project results envisaged (principally the ones in accessibility and usability) are of great interest for this company and other ICT companies. Therefore, they are interested in the research results and in fostering technology transfer.