Diploma and Master Theses (authored and supervised):
"Exploring the Availability and Usability of Web-based Building Performance Simulation Tools";
Supervisor: A. Mahdavi;
Abteilung Bauphysik & Bauökologie, Inst. f. Architekturwissenschaften,
final examination: 2010.
During the last decade, web-supported tools for knowledge inquiry and problem solving have been increasingly become popular (Augenbroe 2003). The growing availability of web-based sources of advisory information and decision-making support tools "anywhere and anytime" holds a promising future for professionals and stakeholders in many different domains. The ease of use and instantly distributed updates to the applications are amongst the features that enhance the pervasive use of such resources and tools (Byrne et al. 2009). Particularly in engineering fields, the expenses associated with acquiring and maintaining conventional software applications represents often a detriment and an obstacle to users with limited resources (for example potential users in the developing countries). Thus, also in the area of building design and construction, free (or low-cost), low-maintenance, and easy to use web-based tools could provide a highly effective alternative to users (students, architects, engineers, etc.).
The present contribution focuses on an assessment of web-based computational applications in the field of building (thermal) performance analysis. Thereby, a number of questions are posed and pursued: how do such web-based tools perform in comparison with "classical" building performance simulation applications? What is the state of usability of such tools in the context of conceptual design stage? The contribution briefly enumerates, classifies, and compares twenty-two available web-based tools. A subset of these tools is subsequently presented to a small group of potential users within the framework of a usability assessment session (Nielsen 1995).
The contribution thus outlines the state of the art and provides suggestions toward improving and subsequent development of such tools.
Created from the Publication Database of the Vienna University of Technology.