Research on Advisory Support
Our research on Advisory Support is based on the premise that some information needs are so complex that they cannot easily - or not completely - be satisfied by the seeker herself. Traditionally, such information needs are addressed by advisory services in many different fields and branches, such as advisory in travel agencies, (investment) advisory by financial service providers or advisory in public agencies (e.g., for new inhabitants). However, due to the complexity and variety of advised topics, such advisory activity is complex and expensive on its own.
We strive to enhance advisory by (1) developing new approaches and concepts of advising individuals and (2) supporting these approaches with appropriate (IT-) systems.
Building on the assumption that the advisee's experience of the advisory situation has strong implications on her overall service satisfaction, we experiment with various carrier media (Desktop-PCs and SmartBoards with touch-sensitive screens) and intuitive GUIs (Surface computing), allowing for customizable advisory situations.
Cooperation and Interaction
Our advisory concepts and research prototypes strive for strong and direct inclusion of the advisees into the advisory process, including the cooperative usage of supportive advisory systems.
Shared Information Spaces
True cooperation and interaction implies information symmetry between the main actors, i.e. both the advisor and the advisee. In our research prototypes we therefore attempt to cover both the advisee's problem space (e.g., vacation needs) and the advisor's solution space (e.g., trips, hotels, flights), so to enable the actors to share the same understanding of the problems and solutions at hand.
To enable cooperation and interaction, as well as to achieve a unique advisory experience, the advisory process has to be transparent, allowing for comprehensible and traceable decisions. We attempt to achieve such transparency by providing cooperative and interactive systems with shared - and thereby transparent - information spaces.
Integration of Information Resources
Currently, we observe a gap between different information resources available for the information seeker. In our research prototypes we integrate commercial content of an advising company with web-based user-generated content and third-party commercial content.
Ultimately striving for enhanced experience and satisfaction of the advisees, we base the development of our advisory support (systems) on User Centered Design and Scenario-based Design.