A user-centred design approach involves end-users from the very beginning. Considering users at the early stages compels designers to think in terms of utility and usability and helps develop the system on what is actually needed. This paper discusses the case of HyperAudio, a context-sensitive adaptive and mobile guide to museums developed in the late 90s. User requirements were collected via a survey to understand visitors’ profiles and visit styles in Natural Science museums. The knowledge acquired supported the specification of system requirements, helping defining user model, data structure and adaptive behaviour of the system. User requirements guided the design decisions on what could be implemented by using simple adaptable triggers and what instead needed more sophisticated adaptive techniques, a fundamental choice when all the computation must be done on a PDA. Graphical and interactive environments for developing and testing complex adaptive systems are discussed as a further\ud step towards an iterative design that considers the user interaction a central point. The paper discusses\ud how such an environment allows designers and developers to experiment with different system’s behaviours and to widely test it under realistic conditions by simulation of the actual context evolving over time. The understanding gained in HyperAudio is then considered in the perspective of the\ud developments that followed that first experience: our findings seem still valid despite the passed time
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