HEBE: Highly Engaging eBook Experiences

Staff - Faculty of Informatics

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End date:

You are cordially invited to attend the PhD Dissertation Defense of Luca Colombo on Thursday, November 27th 2014 at 13:30 in room SI-003 (Informatics building)


Despite more and more books are made available in electronic format and technology is increasingly present in children’s everyday life, thus far the potential of the electronic book (eBook) medium has been only partially exploited. With the Highly Engaging eBook Experiences (HEBE) project we studied how to design and evaluate eBooks for children with the goal of making the reading experience more engaging.
The project began with an investigation of the many facets that characterize the reading experience of children in order to understand how it could possibly be enhanced by electronic books. In a later stage an intergenerational design team used different techniques of Cooperative Inquiry to explore a range of design ideas. Then, based on those ideas, we developed a prototype of enhanced eBook and elaborated a shortlist of design recommendations that are intended to help designers in creating more engaging eBooks.
The research project ended with a stage of evaluation where children’s User Experience with the eBook prototype was assessed. We took inspiration from Csikszentmihalyi’s Flow theory to define a benchmark for evaluating the reading experience. Then, by means of the Experience Sampling Method (ESM), we investigated and collected data on the reading experience of two groups of children, one of which read an eBook enhanced following our design recommendations while the other read a basic version of the same eBook. Following a mixed-method approach, with quantitative analysis we verified whether participants who read the enhanced eBook had a better reading experience, while with qualitative analysis we tried to understand why. The results of the evaluation showed that that an eBook designed following our design recommendations may have a positive effect on children’s reading experience by making it more engaging.

Dissertation Committee:

  • Prof. Fabio Crestani, Università della Svizzera italiana, Switzerland (Research Advisor)
  • Dr. Monica Landoni, Università della Svizzera italiana, Switzerland (Research Co-advisor)
  • Prof. Michael Bronstein, Università della Svizzera Italiana, Switzerland (Internal Member)
  • Prof. Marc Langheinrich Università della Svizzera Italiana, Switzerland (Internal Member)
  • Prof. Evangelos Karapanos, Madeira Interactive Technologies Institute, Portugal (External Member)
  • Prof. Panos Markopoulos, Eindhoven University of Technology, Netherlands (External Member)