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Preparing for the challenges in Interactive Technologies design and user experience (UX), Personalized and Adaptive Systems, and Games research that lie ahead requires a coordinates and multi-faceted research approach. The HABIT research group, based at the Department of Communication & Media Studies, NTUA, is proud of the successful research partnerships and initiatives that are part of our hallmark of excellence.

With over 20 dedicated research staff and students, HABIT is a leading University research group in Greece that specializes in Human-centred design and UXAdaptive and Intelligent SystemsGames Research & Playful interactions. Our research staff and postgraduate students work with their international collaborators to tackle the fundamental aspects of interactive technologies. They also work together with our highly skilled psychologists and software engineers to deliver new interactive technologies that are only made possible by interdisciplinary science. This is a unique characteristic of the HABIT group: strong connections between theory, application and commercialization.

HABIT research group is headed by Associate Professor Constantinos Mourlas. With over 20 dedicated research staff and students, HABIT is a leading University research group in Greece that specializes in Human-centred design and UXAdaptive and Intelligent Systems, and Games Research. Our research staff and postgraduate students work with their international collaborators to tackle the fundamental aspects of interactive technologies. They also work together with our highly skilled psychologists and software engineers to deliver new interactive technologies that are only made possible by interdisciplinary science. This is a unique characteristic of the HABIT group: strong connections between theory, application and commercialization.

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About

Development and Goals
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HABIT Research Group originated from the New Technologies Lab (NT lab, founded in 1992) within the Department of Communication & Mass Media Studies, University of Athens, Greece. HABIT group provides high-quality education and research in the areas of Adaptive and Personalized Intelligent Systems, Human-Centred Design, Games Research and Playful Interactions, Cognitive user modelling, user experience (UX), and physiological measurement of emotions. The activity record of the group includes research and technological development projects and partnerships in the areas of user research, design and evaluation of interactive technologies and services.

Our expertise and background includes substantial experience in user research, adaptive and personalized intelligent systems, and playful games research and design. We hold academic designations in: Cognitive Psychology, Human-Computer Interaction, Computer Science, Virtual Reality, Games Design, and Human Factors.

The mission of HABIT group is to conduct leading-edge research, partnered with industry to deliver innovative technologies in a vibrant research education environment. Our vision is to advance human knowledge in the design, evaluation and use of interactive technologies enabling high impact research that deliver economic, social, cultural, health and environmental benefits (please check our publications page).

Meet the Team
  • Psychological Science & Engineering of Interactive Technologies

    We are focusing on the psychological science and engineering of interactive technologies to understand and solve real-life problems. We are studying the design of technologies, human cognition, current technologies-in-practice and the situations in which technologies are used: education, business, health, politics, and games. We are developing methods and devices to support better design and decisions, exploring design solutions that support effective practice, and we are engaging with users and stakeholders to change culture and practices where possible.

    HABIT group also brings expertise in the design and evaluation of web and mobile devices. Such a strategy includes: the use of UX guidelines (for both web and mobile), a rich understanding of users and tasks, and user testing to validate the effectiveness of design interventions.

     

  • Human Behavior & Human Factors

    Human-Centred Design becomes increasingly important and our research focus with practical recommendations for the Web/mobile devices and services. This line of research is enriched with latest findings from cognitive and social psychology, as well as affective design. Particular methodologies used to address real-life problems are: expert review, contextual interviews, user task analysis, survey-based research, structured experiments, and rigorous usability testing. In addition, we explore the role of affect and emotion using biofeedback and physiological assessment to explore affective and emotional components of educational, health and business applications.

  • Adaptive Communication & Personalized Environments

    Designing intelligent systems that are adaptive to context and user needs is a key research area. Challenges today in the Web personalization and adaptation research area range from heterogeneous user needs and user environment issues such as current location and time to multi-channel delivery of applications concerning Web-based content related to services, educational multimedia, entertainment, commerce etc. Nowadays, most Web personalization systems implement various techniques to extract the user profiles, which serve as the main component of such systems. Based on given user preferences and navigation behavior, the Web-based content returns the requested personalized result.

    We conduct applied research in the areas of personalization with emphasis on adaptive hypermedia, Semantic Web, Recommender Systems and Collaborative Filtering approaches to improve interactive experience. In particular, we develop and assess user profiles that includes user perceptual preference characteristics (see also PersonaWeb project). We further analyze the main intrinsic user characteristics such as visual, cognitive and emotional-processing parameters that are incorporated as well as the ‘traditional’ user profile characteristics that together tend to give the most optimized, adapted and personalized outcome. We further design and evaluate adaptation and personalization systems that implement various user profiles.

    Research on Adaptive Communication and Personalized Environments had three main strands:

    1. Theories, Methods, and Applications of Intelligent User Interfaces to align with users’ preferences.

    2. Cognitive and Emotional Processes in educational applications (Web-based and mobile) to increase users’ learning performance and satisfaction.

    3. Mass Customization and personalization strategies and best practices to design products and services that support users’ needs and lead to positive user experience.

    Adaptive communication and personalization been partially driven by a realization that tailored interaction cannot be achieved on a large-scale using traditional, non-adaptive approaches. Adaptive systems endeavor to transform the user from passive receptor of information to collaborator in various tasks and applications.

    Our  research encompasses aspects derived from various fields including computer science, education, human-computer interaction, and psychology.

PERSONNEL

Meet the Team

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Constantinos Mourlas

Constantinos Mourlas is the Director of HABIT group and Associate Professor of the Faculty of Communication and Media Studies, University of Athens, Greece. He is an expert in the design and development of intelligent environments that provide adaptive and personalized context based on users’ preferences, cognitive characteristics and emotional state. Constantinos’ recent research focuses on data mining and predictive analytics at the insurance market. He has several publications including edited books, chapters, articles in journals and conference contributions. Email: mourlas@media.uoa.gr

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Zacharias Lekkas

Zacharias Lekkas is a PhD candidate and Research Associate at HABIT group. He is interested in the role of emotions and human factors in web-based educational systems. Additionally, his research interests include decision making support in Adaptive Hypermedia and the design of personalized training systems. His work has been published in conferences, journals and edited books, whilst he is one of the awarded authors at the Adaptive Hypermedia 2008 conference. Email: zlekkas@media.uoa.gr

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Anthony Psaltis

Anthony Psaltis is a PhD candidate and Research Associate at HABIT group. His areas of research entail physiological computing environments, development of emotion-oriented biofeedback devices as applied to dynamic educational environments and affective computing applications. Anthony has over 15 years of experience in physiological measurements and development of medical devices. He is a Chartered Engineer and presents his academic research in international conferences and journals.Email: apsaltis@media.uoa.gr

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Maria Saridaki

Maria Saridaki is a PhD candidate and Research Associate of HABIT group exploring the motivational use of serious games in the educational experience of people with cognitive disabilities. Her research interests lie in playful experience and the applied usage of digital and non digital games. She holds an Msc in Information Management from the University of Strathclyde and a BSc in Media and Communication Studies from the University of Athens. She has been curating festivals, conferences and workshops and she has also been involved, in various EU and national projects as a manager and researhcer. She is a co-founder of Athens Plaython and a game designer with a special interest in pervasive games and playful experiences in urban environments. Email: msaridaki@gmail.com

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Stavroula Papavasiliou

Stavroula Papavasiliou is a Research Associate of HABIT group. Her areas of research include the usage of personalised mobile platforms for training purposes and mobile devices accessibility. She holds a master’s degree in digital media and interactive environments (her dissertation focusing on accessibility and usability of news websites) and a bachelor’s degree in Communication and Mass Media (both at the Faculty of Communication and Mass Media Studies, University of Athens). She has worked as a journalist/content manager for several Greek media organizations and has also worked as a spokesperson for the Greek Saferinternet EC funded awareness campaign. Email: spapavasiliou@gmail.com

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Maria Boutzeti

Maria Boutzeti is a PhD candidate and Research Associate at the HABIT group. Maria studies the use of social media networks for the purposes of Political Communication, with a more personalized approach to the user. Her main research interests include politics 2.0, personalization methods and user profiling. She holds a MA in Digital Media & Interactive Environments and a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication and Media Studies from the University of Athens. In addition, Maria actively contributes articles in news media portals about social media and politics issues in Greece. Email: mboutzeti@media.uoa.gr

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Aikaterini Sotirakou

Aikaterini Sotirakou is a PhD candidate and Research Associate at the HABIT group. Her research interests include Data Journalism and Intelligent Environments for Fake News Detection, Personalized News and Automatic News Mining.

Projects

Current & Past Projects of the HABIT Research Group

codered

Code RED is an exciting European project that has been developed in response to these high levels of early school leaving and drop-out and exclusion from education that often lead to unemployment, poverty and social deprivation. The project aims at working through game-design, with these groups of students who are particularly at risk of exclusion from education or drop out. Therefore, the main aim of the project is to take actions towards addressing the high proportion of drop-out from i-VET (vocational and educational training). More information at http://codered-project.eu/ (2013-2015)

personaweb

PersonaWeb project aims to design and develop an adaptive interactive system that will adapt content and functionality according to users’ cognitive characteristics in order to improve efficiency, effectiveness of user interactions and provide a positive user experience. More information at: https://personaweb.cs.ucy.ac.cy/ (2013-2015)

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M-Care aims to provide an innovative training curriculum for VET centres so that they can offer training on Personal Care Giving (PCG) for people with disabilities, through an elaborated curriculum that embraces the use of a range of ICT supported tools, incorporates mobile learning applications, while providing tools for pre- and post-assessment of PCG candidates’ suitability and competences. More information at: http://mcare-project.eu/ (2014-2015)

Atlec

ATLEC (Assistive Technology Learning Through A Unified Curriculum ) project, aimed on training learners with disabilities in specific skills particularly tailored according to their individual and employability needs, while also creating the job profile of an Assistive Technologies trainer. Under the framework of ATLEC a multilingual mobile application was developed, aiming to provide an accessible, easy to use learning platform where people with disabilities can access information on ICT AT and training material for specific skills according to the user’s individual and employability needs. More information at http://www.atlec-project.eu/ (2011-2013)

recall

RECALL offered new opportunities to learners with a range of disabilities (learning, sensory and physical), and to their teachers/trainers and parents/caregivers., by assisting them to (re) connect with learning and employment opportunities, and to access public services whilst developing skills that are critical to their safety in doing so by combing location based services (LBS) with games based learning (GBL). RECALL implemented and tested a location based system in development developed to help people with different difficulties and disabilities to access employment opportunities by planning and then carrying out their routes to work. RECALL integrated games based learning elements, along with urban game experience. More information at http://recall-project.eu/ (2010-2012)

 

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LABOURGAMES is an innovation-oriented network project bringing together the »world of labour« with the »world of play« by allowing smart use of game principles and applying them in the working world to facilitate learning effects, decision-making, and motivation.

A network of consortium partners from five European Countries (DE, UK, NL, IT and GR) with further »strategic partners« from the arts and game design, academia and research, labour market and the business world, open data organizations and the administration and policy field will generate new perspectives on the current labour system in Europe. Over a period of three years, they will be creating both self-developed games and an in-depth investigation of game principles in specific processes in the working world.

LABOURGAMES is comprised of five consecutive components: CREATIVE RESEARCH, GAME JAMS, GAME DEVELOPMENT, ANCHOR EVENTS and last but not least E-BOOK PRODUCTION.

The project will develop a European network where different sectors and various experts come together. This network will work together in an ongoing exploration of the productive connection between work and leisure, while identifying ethical, cultural and legal questions.

Publications

Selected Published Works of the HABIT Research Group
  • Books

    Mourlas C. & Germanakos P. (2009). “Mass Customization for Personalized Communication Environments: Integrating Human Factors”, Information Science Reference (ISR), IGI Global’s most prestigious imprints, ISBN: 978-1-60566-260-2, IGI Global, release date: May, 2009. Please visit: http://www.igi-global.com/book/mass-customization-personalized-communication-environments/742

    Mourlas C., Tsianos N., & Germanakos P. (2009). “Cognitive and Emotional Processes in Web-based Education: Integrating Human Factors and Personalization”, Advances in Web-Based Learning Book Series, Information Science Reference (ISR), IGI Global’s most prestigious imprints, ISBN: 978-1-60566-392-0, IGI Global, release date: May, 2009. Please visit: http://www.igi-global.com/book/cognitive-emotional-processes-web-based/157

    Mourlas C. & Germanakos P. (2008). “Intelligent User Interfaces: Adaptation and Personalization Systems and Technologies”, Information Science Reference (ISR), IGI Global’s most prestigious imprints, ISBN: 978-1-60566-032-5, IGI Global, release date: September 15, 2008. Please visit http://www.igi-global.com/book/intelligent-user-interfaces/637

  • Book Chapters

    Asimakopoulos, S., Spillers, F., Boretos, G., & Liu, Z. (2014). Social user experience for effective mobile advertising. To appear in the Encyclopedia of Information Science and Technology 3rd edition, edited by Mehdi Khosrow-Pour, IGI Global.

    Brown, D., Standen, P., Saridaki, M., Shopland, N., Roinioti, E., Evett, L. & Smith, P. (2013) “Engaging Students with Intellectual Disabilities through Games Based Learning and Related Technologies”. In book: Universal Access in Human-Computer Interaction. Applications and Services for Quality of Life, Chapter: 66, Publisher: Springer Berlin Heidelberg, Editors: Constantine Stephanidis, Margherita Antona, pp.573-582 01/2013; DOI:10.1007/978-3-642-39194-1_66

    Tsianos N., Germanakos P., Belk M., Lekkas Z., Samaras G., & Mourlas C. (2012). An Individual Differences Approach in Designing Ontologies for Efficient Personalization, A chapter in: Springer Series Studies in Computational Intelligence, edited volume Semantic Hyper/Multi-media Adaptation: Schemes and Applications. I. Anagnostopoulos, M. Bielikova, P. Mylonas, & N. Tsapatsoulis (Eds.), Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.

    Diamantaki, K., Rizopoulos, C., Charitos, D. Kaimakamis, (2009) “Conceptualizing, Designing and Investigating Locative Media Use in Urban Space”. In Willis, K.S., Roussos, G. Struppek, M., Chorianopoulos, K., (eds.), Shared Encounters: Content Sharing as Social Glue in Public Places, Berlin/Heidelberg: Springer-Verlag.

    Saridaki, M., & Mourlas, C. (2013). Motivational Aspects of Gaming for Students with Intellectual Disabilities. In P. Felicia (Ed.), Developments in Current Game-Based Learning Design and Deployment (pp. 144-154). Hershey, PA: Information Science Reference. doi:10.4018/978-1-4666-1864-0.ch011

    Diamantaki, K. Rizopoulos, C., Charitos, D. & Tsianos, D. (2009) “LOCUNET: Location-based Games as Media Communicating Social Meaning”. In Souza e Silva, Α. & Sutko, D. (eds.), Digital Cityscapes: Emerging Digital and Urban Playscapes, New York: Peter Lang.

    Saridaki, M., Gouscos, D. & Meimaris (2009). “Digital Games-Based Learning for Students with Intellectual Disability”, in Games-Based Learning Advancements for Multi-Sensory Human Computer Interfaces: Techniques and Effective Practices, Thomas Connolly, Mark Stansfield and Liz Boyle (eds), Information Science Reference Publishers, UK, 2009, ISBN 978-1-60566-360-9, pp.304-325.

  • Journal Papers

    Asimakopoulos, G. & Asimakopoulos, S. (2014). Understanding switching intention of information systems users. Industrial Management & Data Systems, Article in press.

    Asimakopoulos, S., Boretos, G. & Mourlas, C. (2014). Forecasting ‘in the pocket’: mobile devices can improve collaboration. To appear in Foresight-The international Journal of Applied Forecasting, 32, 13-18.

    Asimakopoulos, S. & Dix, A. (2013). Forecasting support systems technologies-in-practice: A model of adoption and use for product forecasting. International Journal of Forecasting, 29 (2), 322-336.

    Saridaki, M. & Mourlas, C. (2013). Integrating Serious Games in the Educational Experience of Students with Intellectual Disabilities: Towards a Playful and Integrative Model. International  Journal of Game-Based Learning (IJGBL), 3(3), 10-20. doi:10.4018/ijgbl.2013070102

    Asimakopoulos, S. (2012). Forecasting software: Improving the user experience Foresight-The international Journal of Applied Forecasting, 26, 32-37.

    Asimakopoulos, S., Dix, A. & Fildes, R. (2011). Using hierarchical task decomposition as a grammar to map actions in context: Application to forecasting systems in supply chain planning. International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, 69 (4), 234-250.

    A. Psaltis & C. Mourlas (2011). A Real Time Attachment Free, Stress and Heart Rate Measurement System, International Journal on Measurement Technologies and Instrumentation Engineering (IJMTIE),1 (2), 1-13.

    Diamantaki, K., Rizopoulos, C., Charitos, D., Tsianos, N., Gazi, A. (2011). “Theoretical and Methodological Implications of Designing and Implementing Multi-user Location-based Activities”. Personal and Ubiquitous Computing, vol. 15, no. 1, pp. 37-49, Springer.

    Saridaki, M. & Mourlas, C. (2011). Motivational aspects of gaming for students with intellectual disabilities. International Journal of Games Based Learning, 1(4), 48-58, October-December 2011.

    Tsianos N., Lekkas Z., Germanakos P., Mourlas C., & Samaras G. (2009). “An Experimental Assessment of the Use of Cognitive and Affective Factors in Adaptive Educational Hypermedia”, IEEE Transactions on Learning Technologies (TLT), IEEE Computer Society, Vol. 2, No. 3, pp. 249-258, July-Sept. 2009, doi:10.1109/TLT.2009.29.

  • Conference Contributions

    Spillers, F. & Asimakopoulos, S. (2014). Does social user experience improve motivation for runners? A diary study comparing mobile health applications. Paper to be presented at the HCII 2014 conference, Crete, Greece.

    Belk, M., Germanakos, P., Asimakopoulos, S., Mourlas, C., Spanoudis, G. & Samaras, G. (2014). An individual differences approach in adaptive waving of user checkout process in retail ecommerce. Paper to be presented at the HCII 2014 conference, Crete, Greece.

    Rizopoulos, C. & Charitos, D. (2014). The Experience of Spatial Interaction: Assessing the User Experience of Virtual Environments. Paper to be presented at the HCII 2014 conference, Crete, Greece.

    Papasarantou, C., Rizopoulos, C., Bourdakis, V., Charitos, D. (2014). Analysing Mixed Embodied Presence Through the Lens of Embodiment and Social Presence. Paper to be presented ad the 2014 International Presence Conference, Vienna, March 2014.

    Psaltis, A., Rizopoulos, C., Mourlas, C. (2014). Mapping User Engagement to States of Affect via an Unobtrusive Biofeedback Device: A Dynamic Visualization of Real-time Assessment. In Proceedings of the 2014 International Conference on Physiological Computing (PhyCS’14), Lisbon, Portugal, 7-9 January 2014 [forthcoming]

    Papavasiliou, S., Van Isacker, K., Mourlas C., Saridaki M. (2014). Providing assistive ICT learning for people with disabilities through a personalised mobile application. Paper to be presented at the 14th IEEE International Conference on Advanced Learning Technologies (ICALT 2014), Athens, Greece.

    Saridaki, M., Roinioti, E. & Mourlas, C. (2013) “RouteMate, a location based route learning system for users with disabilities: A playful methodological experience in different urban European landscapes”. Hybrid City 2013: Subtle rEvolutions 2nd International Biennial Conference, Organised by the University Research Institute of Applied Communication, at the University of Athens, Greece, 23-25 May, 2013.

    Saridaki, M., Mourlas,C. & Roinioti, E. (2013) “Engaging students with intellectual disabilities through location based games” in Workshop Proceedings of the 8th International Conference on the Foundations of Digital Games in 14–17 May 2013, Chania, Crete, Greece. Society for the Advancement of the Science of Digital

    Lekkas Z., Germanakos P., Tsianos N., Mourlas C., & Samaras G. (2013). “Personality and Emotion as Determinants of the Learning Experience: How Affective Behavior Interacts with various Components of the Learning Process”, Proceedings of the 15th International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction – HCI International 2013 (HCI 2013), Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, July 21-26, 2013, LNCS 8005, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg, pp. 418-427.

    Spillers, F., & Asimakopoulos,. S. (2012). Help me relax! Biofeedback and gamification to improve interaction design in healthcare. 8th International conference on Design & Emotion, London, UK, September 11-14, 41.

    Saridaki, M., Mourlas, C. (2011). Incorporating serious games in the classroom of students with intellectual disabilities and the role of the educator. VS – Games 2011, 3rd International Conference in Games and Virtual Worlds for Serious Applications. IEEE, Athens, Greece.

Teaching

Undergraduate & Postgraduate Courses
  • Undergraduate Courses

    Introduction to New Technologies: Students are introduced to the basic principles of designing, developing and evaluating new technologies, with particular emphasis on digital educational environments.

  • Postgraduate Courses

    Adaptive & Personalized Communication Environments: Students are taught advanced issues and applications of adaptive and personalized environments as part of their Master degree in Communication & Mass Media Studies.

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