Universidad Autonoma de Yucatan (MEXICO)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2009 Proceedings
Publication year: 2009
Pages: 1760-1767
ISBN: 978-84-613-2953-3
ISSN: 2340-1095
Conference name: 2nd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 16-18 November, 2009
Location: Madrid, Spain
The participation of the user is fundamental for the development of successful user interfaces. The end user’s practice and knowledge can improve new or existing user interfaces of information systems. In this paper we present our experience and results of incorporating the end user into a developer team. The goal was to improve the user interface for an Instant Messaging (IM) component. This component was developed to improve the communication and collaboration between the users of an open source Learning Management System (LMS). The IM component integrates in a transparent way into the main LMS used by the Autonomous University of Yucatan. We show the process and results of the end user participation to improve the user interface of the IM component.


A good user interface is an important factor for the success of an information system. If the user interface is complicate or confuse, the user does many mistakes, does not like to use the system, or does not understand the information that is displayed. The user interface design requires an analysis of user requirements, user tasks and the environment. There are many techniques to get information about these, like interviews, observations, records, cases of use in order to represent particular situations, etc.
With all the information generated with these techniques it is possible to create scenarios, flow charts and cases of use for the identification of elements and actions that would be reflected into the user interface.
In all these processes, the end user plays a significant role; a closer participation of him will help to get successful user interfaces. The end user’s practice and knowledge can help in order to detect and fix bugs in the design and development of a user interface.
In this paper we show the results of incorporating end users (students and some teachers) into a developer team. Our objective was to get a better user interface of an Instant Messaging (IM) component, called Mensajero, developed by us previously.
A service of IM allows send important and urgent messages in an efficient way to the users connected to the service, regardless of the context or space where they are located at. There are many advantages for using it into the e-Learning process, like search, communication, information interchange, sensation of nearness and belonging between the users of a community, etc.
Our IM component integrates in a transparent way into the open source LMS Dokeos. This is possible due to the modular open architecture and an API offered by LMS. The Mensajero improves the communication and collaboration between the users LMS. It mixes the features of a synchronous and asynchronous communication tool and proposes another communication way to the classic set offered by the LMS like: forum, chat, news board and calendar.
This LMS is used by the Autonomous University of Yucatan (UADY), an important university of the south and south-east of Mexico, with a student population of 14,000 students distributed in its 85 programs of study. Since 2002, the UADY is in a process of expanding its educational modalities, especially to online education. This LMS is used for exploring new educational modalities as well as to support traditional ways.

The Mensajero was included on Dokeos distribution since 1.8.5 version
user interface, component programming, learning management system.