RegisterWorkshopsSessionsSpeakersInteractionsDemonstrationsExhibitsEventsBest of the WebKey DatesBostonSponsors

A&MI home
Archives & Museum Informatics
158 Lee Avenue
Toronoto, Ontario
M4E 2P3 Canada

info @ archimuse.com

Search Search

Join our Mailing List.

published: April, 2002

© Archives & Museum Informatics, 2002.
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0  License


Systematic Requirements Analysis for Building Effective Web Sites
Davide Bolchini, University of Lugano, Switzerland
Nicoletta Di Blas, Politecnico di Milano, Italy
Franca Garzotto, Politecnico di Milano, Italy
Paolo Paolini, Politecnico di Milano, Italy
http://www.hoc.elet.polimi.it ; www.lu.unisi.ch/tec-lab

Workshop: Systematic Requirements

Requirements are supposed to be the cornerstone of any project, and of Web site development in particular. Eliciting requirements means to fully understand - and in detail - who the users are, what type of services and functionalities the Web site should support, which content it should provide, which results it should support and which constraints should be followed.

According to literature, once requirements are defined, it is possible to proceed to specification (broad sketches of what the Web site should be), design (detailed sketches) and implementation.

However, reality is often different: requirements are vaguely, ambiguously and confusedly understood; emphasis is upon design and implementation, in order to meet the deadlines (always short). The outcome is well known: bright, impressive, well polished (when they are) Web sites, but little effectiveness towards the intended goals (quite often made clear later, when the project is completed).


The HOC laboratory at the Department of Electronics and Information of Politecnico di Milano has developed over the years a number of simple, but very effective methods and techniques that can be used to improve the process of eliciting requirements, understanding and organising them: requirements do have to be thoroughly analyzed before proceeding to specification and design. Recently TecLab, a laboratory of the faculty of Communication Sciences of the University of Lugano, has developed a specific notation for helping with graphical representation of requirements.

The essence of this approach is based upon the following issues:

  • Understanding your users (in different segments of the target)
  • Understanding your goals and the user goals (they are not the same!)
  • Understanding information and functions to be provided
  • Understanding organisational, cultural and technical constraints
  • Testing requirements developing users’ scenarios.


During the first half day the methodology will be discussed by presenting its conceptual framework and by analysing a number of case-studies, based on CD-ROM’s and Web sites.

Each concept and notion introduced will be treated under different respects:

  • definition
  • practical implications
  • cultural background and motivation (from communication science, epistemology, semiotics, etc.)
  • representational techniques
  • operational tips
  • examples

During the second half day the participants will have the opportunity to experiment with the method themselves under the instructors’ supervision (“hands on” session). An assignment of requirements analysis will be given to different groups of attendees; each group will be conducted step by step, by the instructors, to an initial definition of the requirements corresponding to its assignment.

In a final plenary session the results and the experience from each group work will be shared and discussed.


The teaching objectives of the workshop are the following:

  • producing an attitude change: requirements are a business to be taken seriously;
  • introducing the most useful concepts in order to understand requirements
  • providing a simple hands-on experience in order to grasp the practical implications of requirements analysis


Professionals involved in application design and developing; project managers; researchers, usability evaluators.

Prerequisites: none