Seminal Ideas

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Additional Resources

An application of GOMS in a modern context (eye tracking and text input)

Reading Critiques

Bhavin Modi 21:26:38 9/2/2014

Reading Critique on A Survey of Human-Computer Interaction Design in Science Fiction Movies The paper depicts the futuristic technologies shown in science fiction movies. The effect of such on scientific research is discussed and also vice-versa, trying to show collaboration between them. The paper depicts a new approach that’s leads to futuristic technology. The impact of sci-fi movies in creating new technology. It discusses about user interfaces that use motion, speech and visual controls. Many of these have been realized today in the form of the devices and problems like the Kinect, Apple’s Siri, face detection and retina scanner, multicore microprocessors. A theory is set forward that the creativity of the directors has led to the development of such systems. Authors of this paper discuss that existing technology is influenced and derived from science fiction movies. My views on the same differ as the importance of this paper is misplaced from a technical point of view. The only thing projected is the creativity of the writers, directors, and the FX team. This too is constrained by budgets, plots and technology available to the FX teams. Plots are mainly responsible for the technology shown, like some movies show time machines, computer that can predict the future or even more, with a conscience. This leads me to believe that technological advancement has always been a methodical step by step process, building on previous work. The rate of advancement has been increasing much faster this decade, with new innovative products out every year, and not as many movies with similar technology. The flaws that come to light are a few and there are points I would have approached differently. Firstly, the generality of the statement of the paper can be doubted. The examples used are very repetitive, especially Johnny Mnemonic and Star Trek. Secondly, the statements on holographic displays are reiterated under different contradicting subsections, confusing the reader. Thirdly, the paper has entirely been an overview of examples, with no discussions to support the idea that innovations are in a way a result of sci-fi movies from the past decade. This is because the movies never actually went into details as mentioned, just the user interface. The statement about how our innovations try to mimic the ones shown in the movies is one I agree upon, because it gives a visualization of an abstract idea to a market in which all people do not belong to the same field. So we strive to satisfy the requirement. Innovation is inspired by science fiction movies, this statement may not always be true. We see that most innovations build on what we have today, the case of Minority Report clearly shows that scientist had already thought of such advancement before the movies. The case remains that movies are made quicker, while research and development are long tasks requiring patience and years of efforts by a team of scientist.

Nick Katsipoulakis 14:57:56 9/3/2014

User Technology: From Pointing to Pondering Review by Nick Katsipoulakis In the work presented by Card et al., the experience and the visions of the two authors, about users, is discussed and broken down in four (4) major interfaces. The physical interfaces analyses users’ physical capabilities and measures how computer interfaces can be improved in that perspective. The authors present the results of an experiment with the mouse and conclude that the mouse makes near-optimal usage of a human’s physical ability. Next, the cognitive interface deals with (mostly) the cognitive abilities of a user and examines the way an interface can be improved in that direction. It is pointed out that cognitive ability does not include mental ability, since the authors present a number of examples in which users worked with known tasks. Then, the conceptual interface is explained as a way to measure users’ performance when using a computer and examine the impact of the latter in enhancing performance (or ability to problem solving). The conceptual ability considers the mental model used by the user and in what extent the user is leveraging it for the completion of a task. Finally, the task interface mainly deals with the future development of software, and how can the productivity of a user be increased. Direct Manipulation Interfaces Review by Nick Katsipoulakis This paper defines the notion of the Direct Manipulation Interface and its characteristics through a series of examples. By definition, an interface is direct if the distance between the user and the system is small and the engagement level is high. The authors abstract the directness of an interface as the gulf of execution and the gulf of evaluation. The more those two gulfs increase, the less the interface is considered direct. According to the authors, distance comes into two forms: semantic and articulatory. Semantic has to do with the meaning of an expression of the interface, and articulatory has to do with the form of an expression of the interface. The authors propose several ways of reducing semantic distance (i.e. higher-level languages, direct semantic output, and user’s adaptability). Similarly, articulatory distance can be minimized by using the right I/O tools and/or improving (inventing) new I/O channels. Finally, the authors discuss the topic of direct engagement and the space of interfaces in which direct manipulation is achieved (by model worlds and higher level languages). However, they also point out that direct manipulation can limit the things that a user can do, and may take away part of a system’s generality.

Xiyao Yin 21:39:18 9/3/2014

‘User Technology: From Pointing to Pondering ’, this paper mainly discuss four aspects about users and their interaction with workstations: Physical Interface, Cognitive Interface, Conceptual Interface and Task Interface. This paper is important because it not only trace history in human’s understanding but also show new perspectives, methodology and analysis. Physical Interface is mostly about physical input devices, which have to face the limitation of the information-processing capacity of the user. Cognitive Interface shows that improvements in this area need more skills based on the execution of known methods. Conceptual Interface tries to find mental model for interaction between users and computer system and may face some problem in the future. Task Interface tries to find ways to build idea-structuring tools and need to be improved by future scientists. This paper provides new ideas and technologies in overcoming the limitation in users’ cognitive abilities. Since this is my first eye in this area, I still don’t clearly know any potential advantages or blind spots in this paper, but I will try to understand more. ‘Direct Manipulation Interfaces ’ gives a new definition on ‘direct manipulation ’, it is an orienting notion and an impression or a feeling about an interface. Distance and Engagement are two distinct aspects of the feeling of directness. In this paper, the author mainly discuss about distance between one’s thoughts and the physical requirements of the system under use. Semantic and Articulatory are two forms of distance. The author shows two gulfs in Semantic Distance, Execution and Evaluation and provides two basic ways and several detailed solutions in reducing the Semantic Distance, from the system side and the user side. These solutions analyze the problem in different angles and some of them give new questions to future scientists. Since there are little discussion on articulatory distance and direct engagement, researchers can take more effort in these areas. Direct manipulation systems have both virtues and vices, but also there are some problems and tasks in direct manipulation. New technology of abstraction is still needed.

Bhavin Modi 22:08:35 9/3/2014

Reading Critique on Direct Manipulation Interfaces The paper can be summarized as detailing the ways to make interaction between people and computer systems feel as natural as doing daily tasks using Direct Manipulation Interfaces. The problems to be overcome and classification of such systems in terms of their closeness to mimicking real world objects. The main ideas put forward in this paper are well illustrated in the introduction, but mainly the saying “What you see Is what you get” gives us a good idea about the direction the author is going in. Directness is also defined as using of fewer cognitive resources in interfacing, it is a relative feeling and designers should be aware that directness achieved through practice and experience is not the same. We want to achieve directness from the design perspective, taking into account that novices will be able use the system efficiently. The problems of loss of generality, inadequate I/O technology and having domain-specific interfaces with this approach are discussed clearly while trying to bridge the gap to directness. The author also tries to convince us not to focus overly on this aspect, mentioning loss of innovative thinking by getting too constricted by the limited functionality. There are some limitations to the paper, one question that repeatedly came to mind was about partial directness. Taking as example of google maps, where we have achieved directness in terms of semantics and also the street view satisfy the articulate criteria to a certain extent. The maps do not include all functions like drawing a radius around a point, clicking on buildings do not open up their web pages (no interactive manipulation), but you are still able to move around are some examples. Given these points does it satisfy the directness criteria? Another change I would have included is that there is a lot of repetitive statements on the two aspects engagement and distance (semantic and articulate). More than half the paper was on these two points, makes you want to skip it as no new points were introduced. There is a vivid description and with suitable examples given by the authors to explain to us what is direct manipulation and the work therein. But no ideas have been brought up in the paper itself, but it gives a clear understanding of what we should keep in mind while designing such interfaces. My opinion is that this paper serves as a guideline. Some ideas that I could think of after reading this paper to bridge the semantic as well as the articulatory gap in execution and evaluation is that instead of moving the interface language to a higher –level we should manipulate the article part. This means creating base objects for base constructs of the language, and using them as building blocks to create a higher-level version suiting ones need. This makes it feel more direct, loss of generality is avoided and we reduce memory workload for people. The other concept is simple, humans communicate more effectively using speech, gestures and thoughts. While designing complex innovative systems, coupled with recent advances in mapping thoughts to electrical impulses and electrical impulses to sensations, we are getting close to creating the real world model as mentioned. To conclude, moving closer to directness restricts are view of the world, while low-level interface languages are harder to understand. There is a trade-off in this respect, but in generality direct manipulation is a good form of interface design which one should try to create.

Bhavin Modi 22:12:20 9/3/2014

Reading Critique on User Technology: From Pointing to Pondering The paper can be summarized as an effort to show the importance and to bridge the gap between Humans and computers, with more focus being on the human psychological aspect in reference to Human Computer Interaction. To create models wherever possible and see if interaction techniques are (or are not) successful in helping people perform significant intellectual tasks. The main ideas put forward in the paper are the various researches carried out at PARC, leading to the design of a better, more innovative User Interface for the Xerox Star that was widely accepted. The major focus was trying to find models to apply the cognitive learning aspects of people to the design of more efficient systems. A basic four part distinction has been made to explain this, the physical interface, the cognitive interface, the conceptual interface and the task interface. These four parts effectively cover all the areas and methods of human interaction, together with the limitations and models that have been generated. The calculations models Fitt’s Law for the mouse, GOMS, Keystroke support the idea. The most innovative depiction is of The Model Human Processor, and the idea of rationality coupled with limitations of knowledge and information processing. The importance of the paper in understanding the human aspect of technology and trying to integrate it in our design to create more user friendly systems has been achieved. A well written paper that does not go on only with the theoretical points, but by using good examples of how people think and clearing enumerating the experiments it has been made more interesting and easier to understand. The human bottleneck in terms of memory and performance with regard to its effect on the efficiency on the systems, There are differences in opinion as describing the physical interface using Fitt’s Law as a generalized version does not take into account other methods of interaction, like today we have motion and also touch screens which would clearer reduce time but well that did not exists when the paper was written. Expert users are being taking into consideration, but I believe the novice users would give us a better view of how complex a system is, as they understand it from scratch. This conforms to the idea of task-mapping, predicting the learnability and guess ability of systems. Another point of difference was in terms of mental models, people are mostly not concerned with the internal working of systems. They perform their tasks efficiently, given they have a well-defined user manual and experience. Teaching the mental models is hardly ever useful. Task mapping or pondering with respect to the paper is better achieved with textual indications along with graphical images, very much like the library system. Overall the paper was useful in establishing a new point of view, which we see today is the center of good technology. The conclusion of the paper is apt “Whereas we once studied users empirically using existing systems in order to understand the nature of human-computer interaction, we now use what we have learned about users to help drive the creation of new experimental systems.”

Wei Guo 23:19:10 9/3/2014

Reading Critique for Direct Manipulation Interfaces (DMI) Wei Guo This paper explains direct manipulation. It offers a detail describe of major properties produce the feeling of direct manipulation in order to give a framework to measure the trade-off of each factor that may affect the sensation of direct manipulation. “Directness”, according to DMI paper, is an impression or a feeling about an interface. There are two aspects which can help us understand the feelings of directness: distance and engagement. For distance, we can interpret it as the interaction between user thoughts and physical system; for engagement, we can interpret it as user’s participation feeling of using the interface (It seems I am using the actual machine, or I am just programming to run the machine). In interaction between user thoughts and physical system, which is distance aspect, user input a demand to get an output. This procedure includes the transform from user goal to the interface understandable language, and then from interface language to system/programming language. We call the first period semantic distance, second articulatory distance. An ideal solution provided by DMI paper is either system use more human-like language or human use more system-style language. In engagement aspect, close distance represents user having the feeling of manipulating the object, and far distance represents using having the feeling that the interface is just an intermediary between him and the object. Reduction of cognitive load of mental may help to decrease this distance. Decrease the distance to the least is sometimes not make things easier. Sometimes direct manipulation interface have different kinds of problems. We can know from the paper page 316 that back to 1985, there is no explanation of what direct manipulation is and how direct manipulation works. People may intuitionally change the interface to fulfill the needs. Without systematize, the improvement of interface will be very slow. This paper gives a theory backup to systematize the interface improvement. The theory is new, and kind of rough. Further researches can work on making the theory more detail. To me, this is a very clear and understandable paper. The only thing I would like to discuss more is the cost and emotions for upgrading classic interface to a more direct, more user friendly and more effective interface. After adapting to one interface, do we really need a more efficient interface?   Reading Critique: From Pointing to Pondering Wei Guo By empirically cataloging the former human-computer interactions into four types, the author helps us to understand the nature of human-computer interaction theory. The four strands are: the physical interface, the cognitive interface, the conceptual interface, and the task interface. Physical interface is the physical input and output devices between user and system. Although the devices can be improved a lot, the information-processing capacity of the use constrains this interface level. Cognitive interface is an interface between user’s goal and user’s behaviors. The user’s cognitive skill is the information-processing constraints in this level. Conceptual level is the mental model of user when interacting with a computer system to better handle it. This mental model enables user to have novel performance. However, the mental model requires an intensive cognition. Task level is that user designs system to do tasks. The task is more and more complicated. We need to use existing tools and design new tools to structure ideas and browsing ideas. As the paper refers, the challenge in the future is to use the understanding of users to discover new ways to augment users in complex intellectual endeavors. The improvement can be addressed to each level. The thing interests me is the physical level limitation, which is information-processing capacity of human. It might not be possible to improve human capacity in 100 years. Is that possible for us to use machine to control machine, use machine to replace human?

Eric Gratta 0:00:25 9/4/2014

Direct Manipulation Interfaces Edwin L. Hutchins, James D. Hollan, Donald A. Norman “Direct Manipulation Interfaces” identified a class of graphical interfaces that involve “direct” manipulation and investigated the characteristics that contribute to directness in any given interface. The two characteristics explored were that of distance and direct engagement, where distance comprised two components (semantic distance and articulatory distance) and engagement was described under two different metaphors for human-computer interfaces: conversation and model-world. This paper proposed what I thought was a very thorough examination of what components make up an interface and how those components affect the experience that a user has when interacting with the interface. The paper tended to argue in favor of directness and implied that an interface trying to provide the optimal experience should approach the feeling of interacting with real objects rather than an interacting with a machine, which I agree with. I also believe that the concepts of “distance” and “engagement,” although new to me before reading the paper, capture well the bottlenecks involved in users’ interactions with interfaces. Especially convincing was the breakdown of distance into semantic and articulatory distance, which are important concepts to apply when identifying users’ needs or addressing problems with existing interfaces. The main weaknesses in the paper came from the discussions surrounding the two metaphors for human-computer interaction, classified as “conversation” and “model-world,” which the authors talked about in relation to direct engagement. Mostly, I do not believe that the two metaphors are always wholly distinct as it seems to be implied. One interface can certainly incorporate concepts from both metaphors. For example, an interface may have some sort of dialog box but also an image of a labeled, domain-specific set of objects. In this instance, the user could either directly manipulate the objects in the world with their mouse or communicate with the computer textually by typing commands in some high-level language into the dialog box, and upon submitting see the commands carried out in the world portion of the screen. This type of interface is neither a conversation metaphor interface (because the world is explicitly represented) nor a model-world metaphor interface (because the user does not necessarily act upon the objects of the task domain themselves, their commands disappear), but it is certainly engaging. A significant sentence written by the authors relating to this was: “Making the central metaphor of the interface that of the model world supports the feeling of directness.” I think this is probably accurate for most interfaces. However, the possible mixture of the two metaphors was never explored. It was conceded that conversation metaphor interfaces could be ideal for certain tasks, but the author made unsubstantiated claims that this only applied to high-level programming languages and direct manipulation could never work for coding, which I would have liked to see more evidence for. It was also conceded that experienced users on poor interfaces with high levels of automation to be very direct, but again it missed combining this sense of directness with the directness offered by a model-world interface. The paper may be missing altogether the point that interfaces can offer multiple ways of accomplishing the same task and introduce multiple paradigms for interacting with one domain. Also missing from the paper was a mention of scale; can direct manipulation interfaces reasonably be expected to visually represent task domain objects for the user when there are thousands? I was intrigued and delighted by one concession in particular. The suggestion that indirectness in an interface that encourages the user to learn a new, more efficient way of thinking about their problem domain was a novel and exciting idea. The idea of forcing the user to overcome difficulties in semantic (and probably articulatory) distance would, over the long term, improve their ability to complete a task they were initially comfortable with is very interesting. This certainly does occur with many modern interfaces that humans have adapted to (e.g. unique touch interactions on phone apps, mobile phones themselves). --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- User Technology: From Pointing to Pondering Stuart K. Card, Thomas P. Moran “From Pointing to Pondering” first explores the authors’ personal research trajectories in the different categories of interfaces (physical, cognitive, conceptual). This introduction provides a background leading up to their proposal (their pondering) that interfaces should allow users to act on task domain objects directly, much in the same way as the “Direct Manipulation Interfaces” paper. The paper brought up a few interesting points relating to the interface classes. That human cognitive capabilities are a limiting factor on interaction with machines I had already known, but I did not suspect that the mouse would be found to be a near-optimal interface for its task and humans would be the limiting factor there. The explanation of their methods for finding and applying Fitt’s Law was unconvincing but I’m not familiar with how one goes about discovering models for data, and I understand that this paper was more of a narrative than a thorough analysis. Also really interesting was the discovery that people instinctively avoid working within mental models and the associated cognitive load in favor of mapping their tasks directly to actions in their interfaces. Based on my own habits, I would have assumed that people tend to intentionally discover mental models so as to make better use of their interfaces, but that’s probably a result of being a computer scientist! They did not provide information about whether the programmer users of PARC Alto Executive had created mental models of their systems. It wasn’t clear to me how they were able to distinguish, in that same PARC Alto Executive study of conceptual interfaces, between when users were using skilled method execution or problem solving to carry out tasks, and even further into the three types of problem solving in Figure 11. This distinction is pretty crucial evidence backing their suggestion that offering the conceptual model enabled problem solving. I remain uncertain as to whether it is important to have users build mental models if the cognitive load of doing so is discomforting, and tend to think that the presence of an explicit conceptual model in the interface does not require that the user retain it. Some topics of “directness” introduced here that were lacking from the “Direct Manipulation Interfaces” paper were the problem of scale, the idea that a system should be “guessable” to a new user, and that consistency involves both internal and external consistency, where external consistency was used to describe the representation of task domain objects directly. Out of all of the ideas presented in this paper, I would have liked to see more ideas and research on how computers can help compensate for human cognitive limitations in relation to the described “unit-task structure.” Are there really ways that the ‘think’ portion of ‘think-execute’ can be expedited by the computer such that the majority of time spent by a user is executing actions?

Zhong Zhuang 0:02:50 9/4/2014

The paper is about how we can design interfaces that the users will feel more natural to use. It is not from a technology point but more from human cognitive point. This paper has a very unique perspective, it explained why people will feel natural or “first-personness” when using a interface from a cognitive point. It introduced two gulfs between user and system, the expression gulf and evaluation gulf which reflects the input and output part of the interface. It further explained that , in each gulf, there are two kinds of distance, the semantic distance and articulatory distance. Semantic distance reflects how much the system can understand the user language. Articulatory distance reflects how natural the system language is. The paper illustrated these obscure concepts vividly using some examples. Like the water tank example. I think this paper enlightened me on designing interfaces, we all want to design interfaces that user will feel natural to use, but I never systematically think how we can achieve that goal, this paper acts like a guild book when I design interfaces.

Yanbing Xue 0:19:16 9/4/2014

The first reading is mainly about direct manipulation. Direct manipulation aims to make the users feel as if they are the object themselves. There are two aspects to evaluate directness: distance and direct engagement. Distance indicates the inevitably discrepancy between users' goals and knowledge and the level of description provided by the computers with which users must deal. It is bidirectional. It is called as gulf of execution from goals to physical system, implying that physical systems may not achieve the goal completely or properly. It is called as gulf of evaluation from physical system to goals, indicating that physical system may not comprehend the goals correctly. Direct engagement indicates that the difficulty to get adaped to a new system does not rely on the effort to get used to the program or the computer. But to get used to direct feeling of control to the object. For example, interfaces are often bulit based on sentences, promts and conversations, which are bad. Since when interacting with such interfaces, users are interacting with a linguistic system rather than controlling the objects. The second paper is about the analysis of traditional interfaces and some new ideas of the author, that is, the task interface, to solve the challenge that users are grappling with complex intellectual tasks at the larger task level. Users are able to have powerful systems, however, the real challenge is to develop an interface that allow users to build and control their ideas through a close interaction with systems. In this case, when facing larger tasks, users are able to realize their ideas more directly. For example, multi-media presentations and music or art composing may become easier. This challenge consists of two parts. One is to make the users comprehend the ideas correctly, the other is to make the users handle the ideas directly. We can structurize the ideas by developing different mental models. We can also make the ideas controllable by visualization.

Andrew Menzies 1:12:08 9/4/2014

Direct Manipulation Interfaces According to this paper, in a direct manipulation interfaces, the user’s actions appear to affect actual objects rather than simply their representations. Direct manipulation interfaces tend to require less work than other interfaces for people to use and understand, but come with costs, including requiring complex implementations and encouraging users to limit their thinking about problems based on what the interface can do. An important contribution of this paper is formally defining the “distance” between a user and an interface as two characteristics. Semantic distance is the difference between what the user wants to accomplish (in terms of performing actions and reading data) and what the interface makes simple. That is, semantic distance increases if a user’s goal cannot be accomplished or requires many actions to attain. Articulatory distance is the difference between an action the system can be instructed, through the interface, to do and how the user specifies that action. For example, arbitrary keyboard shortcuts in which the keys pressed have no correlation with their effect (other than having been chosen to work that way) increase articulatory distance. Decreasing these distances improves the ease of use, and the feeling of directness, that people experience when using the interface. The paper provides illustrative examples of these distances and their effects, but does not provide quantitative empirical results supporting them. However, I think these claims are intuitive enough to not need them. Rather than providing data, the paper provides definitions useful for discussing interface design decisions. One point the paper repeats a couple of times is that making direct manipulation interfaces is difficult because of a lack of input and output technology. For the most part, it states, interfaces are limited to mouse clicks and key presses for input, and a visual display and sound for output. However, this has changed over recent years. We have developed dozens of new mediums of, such as biometric sensors, bodily motion and pressure detection, finger gesture detection, audio and visual input (i.e., microphones and cameras), and tactile output (i.e., rumble controllers) have increased the possibilities for letting users control systems in ways that feel direct and intuitive. Although this particular claim in the paper may be dated, the importance of reducing semantic and articulatory distance remains, so the paper is still relevant today. User Technology: From Pointing to Pondering This paper explores recent (at the time it was written) quantitative findings in how efficiently users interact with computers not only physically but also mentally. The paper describes how facts from the field of psychology, such as people’s limited short-term memory and the difference between applying cognitive skills and solving problems, explain why the results of these experiments came out the way they did, and that we can use these facts to predict what changes to user-computer interaction are likely to improve efficiency. The findings presented in this paper are important for both interface designers and researchers. One particularly useful finding is that users tend to, over time, create a self-taught understanding of how a system works internally (the “conceptual model” alluded to in the paper). Users rely on this model when figuring out how to perform complex tasks. With this knowledge, interface and system designers know that, if they expect the user to require this conceptual model, they should help the user by designing the system around a model that is likely to match the user’s expectations, and that they may need to include documentation explaining how the system works. Researchers could further study exactly how users create the mental model and how the designs of systems and interfaces can help or hinder that process. The paper hints at many possible topics for future research. For instance, it presents the idea of a virtual 3D space of ideas represented as objects as a way to effectively work around the problem of limited human short-term memory; users’ ideas are stored in the space instead of the users’ heads. Another possible avenue of research that the paper does not explicitly mention is finding ways to reduce the need for mental preparation between unit tasks. It would be interesting, for instance, to test the effects of a program that makes predictive next-step suggestions each time the user finishes a unit task. This may have potential to improve efficiency, as recognition of a correct next task is likely to be mentally simpler than recalling or synthesizing what to do next from scratch. While reading through the paper, I found very few faults. The greatest one, however, is that the paper never clearly explains what Xerox Star is or what it is meant to do. This makes its claim that “At each level, the applied science was shown to be practical, in particular by being influential in the design of the Xerox Star” meaningless to me. Fortunately, the main ideas of the paper did not depend on this missing information, and the accounts of the experiments were thorough enough to be useful.

Xiaoyu Ge 1:40:57 9/4/2014

1. For Direct Manipulation Interfaces: The concepts introduced by this paper are advanced, and the user-interface development trend from then on followed similar pathway. Nowadays, user interface is designed to achieve more user-friendly experiences. This intention matches the direct manipulation and direct engagement point of view the author supported. The author introduced two kinds of limitations of technology based on the Direct Manipulation concept. The first limitation is Semantic Distance, which is the gap between the meaning of user interface expression and the user`s intention. In order to solve this problem the author proposed that Syntax, Expression and any other user interface form should evolve base on the increasing and variety needs of users. As for the Articular distance, the author think the output can be physical information rather then language information showed on the screen. And this distance problem have been solved with today`s technology. This kind technology development of output interface reduced the effort for user to translate information. And this leads to better user experience, which directed to better engagement experience. Computer Visualization technology used in the user interface improved the output information help solve the Semantic Distance and the more and more friendly GUI design is a way to shorten the Articular Distance. Moreover many companies are using concepts similar to improve the direct manipulation and direct engagement as their product development goal. I have worked on the web development project. In order to achieve a better user experience, the user-interface is designed really simple and easy to use. This design concept is very close to the direct engagement concept the author presented. And I visualized the search result in the website with charts and bars which reduced the Articular Distance as well. The author stated in the UNIX example, that the system should say with considerably basic functions and should not allow too many personalized functions to add in the system. This consideration is not right, because the need of user changed greatly and the technology development can handle for example the frameworks and systemized liberties are developed to achieve a more direct user engagement. The work generally reasonable and have perspective. I would have done similarly if I was the author. 2. User Technology: From Pointing to Pondering: The author introduced four levels of interfaces: physical level, cognitive level, conceptual level and task level. In the physical level interface, user interact with interface with physical input and out put device such as mouse and keyboard. Cognitive level interface considered different characteristic about information process between different user groups, in order to predict human performance Model Human Processor is introduced in this paper. Conceptual level interface depended on users procedural knowledge which differs base on the user`s familiarity degree of the work which is the Mental Mode of the user. And the last interface is Task interface which is depend on user`s intellectual structure. This paper concluded the development of the HCI area at that time. And many of the ideas introduced in this paper have been used in today`s software development. After read this paper, I will pay more attention on improving the HCI in my work.

SenhuaChang 1:59:10 9/4/2014

Direct Manipulation Interface The whole paper is talking about direct manipulation interfaces, it gives us an overview of the DMI. The paper provide us answers about some important question, such like what is DMI, how it comes and be defined, what is its basic property, and the architecture between goal and interface. The article also give us explanations about many definitions about DMI such as Gulf of Execution and Evaluation and Distance( both Semantic and Articulatory). In my opinion, this article is very useful, it introduces DMI through many parts and after reading you will have a basic knowledge about DMI. The author is good at using example to explain some definition, such as the piano and violin example. In one word, it is a good introduction article about DMI. User Technology: From Pointing to Pondering The architecture of the paper is very interesting. Author connected the whole paper like stringing beautiful crystals by a line. After reading, you will know what is pointing to pondering. Although this paper is old, you can find a lot of cool explanations and definitions which lead the development of not only HCI domain but also whole CS world. We need to combine four interfaces (The physical, the cognitive, the conceptual, and the lask) well to build a good interface. I think the opinion of this paper really inspired the HCI domain at that time, it was quite interesting, teaching you how to build a good interface.

zhong zhuang 2:11:47 9/4/2014

The second paper is also about how we model the way human process information, and uses it to build more powerful systems to aid human on large intellectual tasks. In human computer interacting, this paper is mostly focusing on the human part. This paper models human information processor into different levels, physical interface level, cognitive interface level and the conceptual level. In this way, when designing an interface or device, we can fit it into these levels and find out which level is the bottle neck, I find the mouse example very illustrative, after the invention of mouse, researcher devoted large amount of effort to improve it, but if we fit the mouse into the physical interface level, we can easily know that it is nearly an optimal device for human because of human side limitations. This limitation is rarely considered during early interface designing. Another important finding in this paper is that routine human-computer interaction doesn’t involve strategic thinking or problem solving abilities, but rather cognitive skills. By characterizing cognitive skills, we can develop engineering model to aid interface designing.

Longhao Li 2:15:21 9/4/2014

Critique of Direct Manipulation Interfaces This paper are mainly introduced the knowledge of direct manipulation interfaces. It shows the development of direct manipulation interfaces, its concept, rules and also the problems of the direct manipulation interfaces. In general, the author wants to tell people how important the direct manipulation interfaces are when working in the field of human computer interaction. The concept of direct manipulation interfaces seems very population in today’s interface design methodology. Due to the development of computer, general people can have access to the device that is fast enough to afford a lot of graphical interfaces, and even some 3D interfaces. This is good condition for people to develop direct manipulation interfaces and I think they did a good job on that. Nowadays, the mobile devices obtain a lot of this kind of interfaces. People can zoom picture on the device by doing pinch on the screen, which is just like the nature way that people like to do. People can get 3D images from phone so that they can get real feelings on what they are doing. In the future I think the interface will keep developing. In the paper, the author also point out some questions about the direct manipulation interfaces, like the interface sometimes is not accurate enough to help people to finish the job. I also find a point need to care about in the design of the interface. Since we need to design the interface to give people a direct feeling on the operation, we need to try to make the interface like a real place. But if the interface is so real, people may feel hard to finish their jobs, like if people have an interface that so real that they need to find a document in the device by doing what they do in the real world, looking for it one by one. It may not be so convenient for the user since it is time consuming. Therefore when people design the interface, they need to try to find the balance point that gave people the feeling of directness and also the convenience that the device gave them. Critique for User Technology: From Pointing to Pondering In general, this paper illustrates the idea of user technology, which is the study of users in order to help us to design the interface. In this paper, the author explained four different kinds of interface, and also includes examples and data analysis of users. This is an important paper that contributes a lot to the study of human computer interaction since it written in detail to illustrate the idea of user technology and also how to use it to guide the design of interface. Since nowadays hardware has already developed to a very high level, we are able to do a lot of things very fast by using computers. But we as human cannot be faster so that people’s action on computer limited the performance of computer. Known how users use the computer, we can design the interface following the behavior of human beings so that we can help people to use computer faster. So the work that the author showed in the paper gave people the instructions to design better interfaces. It is important to the field of human computer interaction The paper shows four different interfaces of user technology. Physical interface is mainly care about people’s physical limitation on the speed of computer operation by using physical interface. Cognitive interface is caring about the limitation of time that people can process information. Conceptual interface is working on people’s understanding of computer’s operation. Task interface is seeking the ways to help people to finish tasks. All of them give the designer a new way to think about their works and it can lead to the new development of the field of human computer interaction.

phuongpham 2:26:19 9/4/2014

Direct Manipulation Interfaces This paper introduces 2 sub-component of the directness of a system, i.e. distance and engagement. We can have a deeper understand what direct manipulation is. Moreover, researchers may have 2 measures to take into account when creating systems related to direct manipulation. There are interesting points I found in the paper - The paper has raised a challenge when minimizing the distance gulfs, i.e. generality and specialty. However, I think there would be another big challenge even if we choose to implement highly specialty systems. That is the difficulty to move the interface language closer to users given a problem has not been understood by human, e.g. cancer, designers cannot make it close to user's mind. - Automatization makes users feel the system is direct. It raises a hope that if our system is good to make user spend enough time with it, it will be accepted. However, the authors also pointed out that this would kill innovations because users will adapt/accept with the system's indirectness. - I have a vague feeling that directness would be considered as another kind of automatization, which requires users have a certain amount of experience. The difference is that direct manipulation will use the existing experience that users have gained in their daily life and put them into the system. - Last but not least, I think distance and engagement are qualitative measures. I am not sure if I do research about this area how would I evaluate the system and convince readers about my results, i.e. my system's directness ***User Teachnology: from pointing to pondering This paper using psycology to model user's interaction with a computer system. I like this paper because of the way researchers conduct experiments to prove their hypotheses. Such as choosing novice users to eliminate training cost, choosing a simple task, i.e. text editing, to avoid complex situtations in other sophisticated tasks. The models are very helpful because they turn qualitative measures into quantitative measures. Researchers can use these models for evaluations or improve system performance to fit user's needs. However, I am still skeptical about the validity of the models. Experiment results were not report in detail. Most importantly, can these models be applied over a wide range of domains? In other words, can we scale up the model from a simple task to more complex (highly intellectual) tasks? Remember that there are some simplications made, such as mental activity. However, not all factors can be simplified to be applicable for all tasks. A big contribution of the research group is showing that user computer interaction can be analysed into different components (models) which are capable to measure. These models give benifit to users and manufacturers to give a better using experience and help a person "think" more effective. New hardwares nowadays give better user experience but also giving new challenges (as well as models) for users. For example smart phones give bigger touchable screens but still not big enough for fat fingers. Social networks give more and more information to a user such that the user cannot handle all valuable information.

Brandon Jennings 2:31:21 9/4/2014

Direct Manipulation Interfaces: This article is about understanding the underlying basis of direct manipulation systems. It notes that there is promise in the field but wants to investigate why. It looks at both sides of the fence, what makes direct manipulation interesting and why it can be bad to use such systems. What I like about this paper is its investigation into why direct manipulation interfaces are popular and useful. This is especially important for those researching in the field because the results can focus other research into a particular area when it is know what about the systems make them so effective. The paper focuses on the property of directness, which has two components: distance and engagement. Distance is the difference between a user’s goals and how they can be represented by the system. Engagement is how the user manipulates objects. I think the authors made a contribution in highlighting particular areas that make direct manipulation useful and interesting, which will aid in the development of more efficient systems. User Technology: From Pointing to Pondering: This article is about users and their interactions. What makes this paper interesting is that it takes the reader through a history of the development of interfaces to gain a better understanding of how interfaces are going from being physical to cognitive. What I found most interesting about this paper was the in depth analysis into human psychology, which is important to interfacing. The empirical study done to observe the users’ understanding of the machine they were using provided interesting results. It showed that up to complex problems, users who have a preconceived model of the system did not outshine users who did not. But they outperformed for “invention” tasks, very complex tasks. Granted the system was a simple calculator. But what it implies is that a good interface should be designed such that a novice can operate it after a few moments of tinkering and getting use to the configurations. It is important to make system simple enough were there is no need for formal training.

Yingjie Tang 3:16:02 9/4/2014

The first article I read is Direct Manipulation Interfaces. What impressed me deeply from this article is that it tells me two forms of distance: semantic and articulatory. When we human communicate with computers, we are doing something to adapt ourselves to the system of computer, and the efforts we take to translate our meaning to computers can be used to measure the gap in semantic. What interface do is to supply us with some relatively higher level languages which we can used to control the computer. As to articulatory distance, this distance reflects the relationship between the physical form of an expression in the interaction language and its meaning, again, both for input and output. Direct engagement is important in the interaction between human and computer, designer should not just make their programs less attractive to the users. Users will be interested with the objects they are manipulating. For example, users should see the file-listing change as if they are in front of them and that will make the users more engaged in the program. The article proposes two kinds of metaphor on the feeling of qualitative feeling, one is conversation metaphor which is a language medium and another is model-world metaphor which means the feeling just is in it’s own world. The second article user technology-from pointing to pondering mainly include the development of human computer interaction through history. Human computer interaction mainly involve two expects, one is initiating an exchange of information, and the other involve human cognitive processing. The author tells us the development on three levels. At physical level, user performance with pointing devices is constrained by the capacity of user. At the cognitive level, routing human-computer interaction does not involve problem solving and the cognitive skills are based on the execution of known methods. At the conceptual level, user usually have mental models of the system they are using.

Qihang Chen 5:24:30 9/4/2014

[Direct Manipulation Interfaces Hutchins, E., Hollan, J., and Norman, D., Human-Computer Interaction, 1(4), 1985] I think this paper mainly discussed two things: 1) The underlying basic components of the direct manipulation, what is it that provides the feeling of“direct- ness?” : Two aspects of feeling of "directness" are mentioned in this article. One involves a no- tion of the distance between one’s thoughts and the physical requirements of the system under use. The other is the qualitative feeling of engagement, the feeling that one is directly manipulating the objects of interest. For the aspect of distance, there are two major properties because of the relative independence of the meaning and the form: senmentic distance and articulatory distance. 2) The tradeoffs related to the direct manipulation: I think the most obvious virtue of the direct manipulation is that Novices can learn basic functionality quickly, usually through a demonstration by a more experienced user. There're also other reasons why direct manipulation is so compelling. E.g. Users can see immediately if their actions are furthering their goals, and if not, they can simply change the direction of their activity. But each coin has two sides, direct manipulation has its vices: For example, a repetitive operation is probably best done via a script. I think Database queries are a good example of the kind of interface for which pushing buttons is both time-consuming and uneffective. Neither keystroke commands to a full-screen character interface nor GUI gestures on a graphic display can express typical actions in the problem domain as expressively or concisely as typing SQL direct to a server. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- [User Technology: From Pointing to Pondering, Card, S., Moran, T., ACM Conference on the History of Personal Workstations, 1986] For the second paper, the author claims that in order to understand why interaction techniques are successful or not, it's neccessray to have a technical understanding of the user himself and of the nature of human-computer interaction to help us invent new techniques, and to pave the way for machines that aid humans in performing significant intellectual tasks. So In this paper, they traced some of the history of the understanding of users and their interaction with workstation—the personal part of personal workstations and they focused on what they have learned about users in our years of studying them and how is the findings relating to the original visions of the personal workstation.

changsheng liu 5:52:31 9/4/2014

The paper <User Technology: From Pointing to Pondering> introduced the history of user and their interaction with workstations. This review paper narrated the in-depth principles and theory behind HCI. Specifically, the paper concentrated on Physical Interface, Cognitive Interface, Conceptual Interface, Task Interface. At the Physical Interface level, the paper explained the limitation of pointing devices, such as mouse. At the cognitive level, the paper showed routine human-computer interaction doesn’t involve problem solving, but rather cognitive skills based on the execution of known methods. Regarding the conceptual level, it showed that users often have mental models of the systems they use. The paper also had a simple introduction of task mapping. It’s a review paper so it didn’t introduce any new results, techniques or methodologies. But this paper can serve as a guild for today’s technologies in HCI. It shows the close connection between HCI and applied science of cognitive mechanisms underlying user behavior. It can help us improve the design of interface and interaction of modern system. The paper <Direct Manipulation Interfaces> analyzed the advantages and disadvantages of direct manipulation interfaces in cognitive aspect. The paper analyzed directness in two aspects: Distance and Engagement. Here the term Distance describes how simple and straightforward the translation between our thoughts and physical actions required by the system is. Engagement means the feeling that one is directly manipulating the objects of interest. The paper has a deep analysis of these two aspects and their influence on the design of direct manipulation interfaces. One interesting point of this paper is that it shows the problem of direct manipulation interfaces, which is quite interesting and insightful. I really like the idea that direct manipulation interface is not suitable for all scenario. It tends to restrict ourselves to only building an interface that allows us to do things we can already do and to think in ways we already think. We might miss the some new ways and aspects to think of and to interact with a domain.

yeq1 6:52:45 9/4/2014

Review for 9/4/2014 Yechen Qiao

User Technology: From Pointing to Pondering In this paper, the authors described their previous work in understanding how humans interact with computer using applied science. The authors used simulation and cognitive psychological analysis to theorize where the user’s limitations are when using a system. They have attempted to use conceptual psychological analysis to model human’s mental representation of the system, and concluded that some useful mental models may help the users to better achieve novel tasks.

Rather than trying to model human thought process like a psychologist, the authors’ attempt at approximating HCI as a machine allows them to theorize where the bottlenecks are without getting bogged into psychological argument. Their model can also be used in AI: the goal-orientated model is one of the most popular one used today, and it considers an agent in its states, actions, and goals just like the human processor. In addition, the paper had provided good examples of evaluating user interfaces, and the extensive human subject studies are what makes these types of research unique compared to research in traditional computer science. Today, HCI research are still using results from human subject studies as the main metric for evaluations.

However, looking back at the paper in today’s lenses, there are a few shortcomings. The model human processor is too simple to be used today, and it looks like this is almost exactly the model depicted by O’Sullivan – humans have one eye, one finger, one ear, and one eye. The nose was in the picture but it had no parameters. Motor processor only considered one delay (of random variations). Humans are supposed to be sitting in front of the computer, and operate the computer sitting on the desk. This is clearly not always true anymore.

Another major shortcoming is that the paper had largely ignored recent social science theories. The author’s early attempt to come up with intended user’s model had clearly indicated the authors had thought such a model exists and is universal. While all social scientists today still believe in positivism, most of them now believe that not all research questions related to human-human interactions can be resolved with this theory. Theories such as social construction and postmodernism had been gaining popularity in recent years. The problem is that with positivism, logic can only get a theorist so far when faced with human subjectivity. To make the matters worse, the theorists would often first look at a phenomenon and then find ways to justify it. It may look right even if it is not until it is proven false. As an example, in the 1950s, people in the U.S. generally believed that pink shirts are for boys and blue shirts are for girls. ( Books have been published with theorists trying to explain this “universal truth”. Yet today, the colors are totally reversed. Popular notation that “red means stop” and “green means go” had driven many designs of user interface. Some positivism theorists would try justify this with arguments such as “red is similar to color of blood”. Yet none of these arguments are any better than that shown in Youtube video. Should “red” always mean “stop” or “error”? Perhaps this is just a social norm started in 1860s due to the invention of traffic lights and education of the mass (especially the children) about traffic rules and being continuously reinforced since then. Imagine one day the traffic lights are phased out, would these colors start to have different meanings? The answers to these questions can only be obtained through a longtitudal study, and this can only be done if we have enough recorded events throughout an extended timeline. I would not bother with coming up with these universal conceptual models or the intended models until HCI had aged enough we could conduct these studies to be confident that they exist. And as HCI starts to age, some researchers may be interested to re-validate blanket claims of universal truths. In contrast, the other paper considered human subjectivity and did not bother to define “direct”. They realized such work would be futile at this point, and as a result, did not waste much of their time.

A minor point: In conclusion, the author had stated But mental models are cognitively intensive, and users will avoid them by attempting to map directly from their tasks to the actions required in a system. Theories of task mapping are just beginning to emerge... This may or may not be true. The authors only selectively conducted an experiment with a single mental model (stack). Even if it is the natural one for those who understand automata and languages that “stack” (push-down automata) is good for describing postfix languages, there is no indication that this is the best mental model for users in the study. I don’t think we can make the statement that users would avoid using mental models. In fact, I think they will if the mental models aren’t so complicated to an average user.

Direct Manipulation Interfaces

This journal essay mainly argued why users have a feeling of directness, and why some systems should not have these interfaces. The author’s argument was that the reduced semantic and articulated distances, as well as the feeling of acting on domain objects instead of acting on the computers, gives the users a more natural representation. However, the authors also argued that prior notion that direct manipulation interfaces always provide benefits such as ease of use, ease of learning are not always true as suggested by Shneiderman.

While the paper is in essay style, the arguments made are generally very intuitive. Reasons such as poor accuracy and manipulation of groups of objects are reasons why expert designers still use commands to do CAD designs, even though a separate direct manipulation interface is available. Direct manipulation interfaces also appear as gadgets and many people now usually take it for granted: touchscreen thermostats and touchscreen security panels are two such examples of direct manipulation interfaces we have today. (Touchscreens also allowed engineers to decrease the articulated distances and increase engagement even further by eliminating the step of converting pointer input to actions on the objects.) As we can see, even though the authors did not write it article style and adopt scientific method, these arguments they are making still seems true today.

A minor comment: the author had stated Direct manipulation interfaces have difficulty handling variables, or distinguishing the depiction of an individual element from a representation of a set or class of elements. I am not sure what this is about: don’t we have control and shift keys for multi-select?

Jose Michael Joseph 7:09:43 9/4/2014

"Direct Manipulation Interfaces" In the paper “Direct Manipulation Interfaces”, the authors want to propose a method of display and computation of data that would be in line with the way humans think about these data (like objects) and not in the way in which the data is stored or worked on by the system. This paper is important because it represents an alternative approach to displaying information that has not yet been fully realized by today’s software systems. An example of this is using a “drag and drop” style to compute the various results of a matrix; with a quick online search we can see that not even a single popular software exists that has this functionality. The main drawback of this paper is its assumption that every user of the system would want the same interface. While a novice user might feel overjoyed with the simplistic design of a system, an expert user might complain about the lack of customization. It is similar to the issue faced by Apple which is both lauded and criticized for its design interface. Another reason why this approach might not be feasible in the modern world is its inability to represent large data. In today’s world, computer scientists and users are increasingly handling large amounts of data that cannot be represented in the simplistic fashion described in the paper. Also this data can be represented in many different ways depending on the perspective used to look at the data. A simple example would be any database. It would require a high degree of abstraction to represent the database as a simple “object” that can be interacted with. This abstraction will cause it to lose its flexibility. ------------------------------- "User Technology: From Pointing to Pondering" This paper is about the pointing device (the mouse) and the various thoughts and ideas that initially led to its inception and subsequently were put into the futile search for its successor. It shows how the mouse is an optimal device as it feels only like an extension of the human being, both physically and psychologically. This paper is important as it discusses the various ideas behind the mouse and which make it optimal. It also states that there were efforts to surpass the mouse with a new input device which would be part of the keyboard itself but it didn’t work out as the mouse followed Fitt’s Law more closely. This paper is interesting as it offers the possibility of the mouse being replaced by something on the keyboard. This has come to pass in most modern laptops today with the trackpad. However the trackpad might still be further replaceable by a button on the keyboard and such a model could save a lot of space. It also shows that different models were able to predict user behavior successfully and that it wasn’t dependent on the crudeness/specificity of the model. Models such as Keystroke Level Model were used to predict the behavior of expert users wholly based on the behavior of novice users. Thus it opens us to the possibility where we can find out the way a system would be handled by expert users without necessarily testing it on them.

Wenchen Wang 8:24:05 9/4/2014

Direct Manipulation Interfaces Summary: This paper talks about the concept of direct manipulation, which is to user to manipulate virtual objects as if they manipulate real physical objects directly. And reduction of semantic and articulatory distance could achieve the goal. Paper review: This paper first discusses distance and engagement of the concept of direct manipulation. Then it discusses two kinds of phenomena that give rise to the feeling of directness, semantic and articulatory distance. I think the figure 6 is a very good representation that illustrates the relationships among semantic distance, articulatory distance and the gulfs of execution and evaluation. I think today’s windows or mac os interfaces are the application of direct manipulation interfaces. Because people can manipulate the files, such as editing or deleting files directly. The icons, such as trash bin or file folder is very much like the real physical thing. In this way, the gulf of execution and evaluation of semantic distance is reduced. For instance, people do not need to manipulate bit operation by themselves such as DOS os, which reduces the gulf of execution. Direct manipulation also has some disadvantages, such as some tasks that do not need to be done directly and lack of accuracy. These problems should be fixed in future work. User Technology: From pointing to Pondering Summary: This paper gives a review of the user technology which includes hardware and software and has four classifications. It talks about user technology in detail by discussing a history of each classification. Paper Review: Recent techniques have developed based on the some ideas of this paper. For physical interface, current electronic devices usually apply touchable screen, which is better than mouse I think. It allows people to use their hands directly to select items they want. It saves a process of pointing and make user operation more efficient. For task interface, a lot of mind mapper applications have been developed to help people structure their ideas, such as MindManager, FreeMind and XMind. The importance of this paper is that it gives us a very clear review of what has been done in HCI field before 1986. It provides beginners, like us a comprehensive classification through physical device testing with human, cognitive skill, mental recognition, to idea structuring. The physical interface is about user interacts with a system by means of physical input and output devices. The cognitive interface is about human information processor with the goals determines his behavior. A model call Model Human Processor is used to computer human performance. The task interface is to aid users in structuring and manipulating their ideas.

Qiao Zhang 8:50:20 9/4/2014

1. User Technology: From Pointing to Pondering This article presents a series of experiments that the authors conducted and discusses about their future directions as well. It heavily focuses on modeling the users, such as how long it takes a user to performs certain tasks. My questions to this part is that, is it cognitive scientist's job or computer scientist's job to learn how users interact with a computer program? Psychologists have better understanding towards human behaviors, but on the other hand, it is computer scientist's job to improve HCI technology based on the findings. According to my personal opinion, the Herbert Simon's bounded rationality principle does not always apply. A human user is not always rational. In fact, I would argue that in most cases, a human user would follow her instincts rather than rationality. I've heard about a popular book called "Don't Make Me Think", which advocates reducing the time of familiarizing with a UI. In fact, the users are lazy, as described in their empirical study. Physical interface might seems to have little potential to improve, however for the cognitive interface, there's still a long way to go. The authors believe that externalizing and manipulating user's ideas is an important task. To some extent, it resembles today's mindmap technique. The idea is similar, that they all try to mimic the way human brain stores and links ideas. However, my personal problem using mindmap is that I find it difficult to explicitly determine the structure of the graph (the relationship between each node) when I am creating it. After reading relevant articles, I found that the links between ideas are not pre-determined but more like "created". To extend their work, I believe that a fuzzier and weaker way to represent the ideas as well as the linkages should be invented. The users do not have to know the whole picture of everything, but they can brainstorm and connect the ideas afterwards. A possible approach might be clustering similar ideas/tasks together, just as different parts of human brain have different functionalities. And the system should allow users to browse her ideas in an intuitive way, connect the ideas and generate connected idea graph later on. ===================================================== 2. Direct Manipulation Interfaces This paper focused on how to provide direct manipulation interface to the end users. It discusses the two types of gulps: gulf of execution and gulf of evaluation, that should be reduced. It also introduces two types of distances: semantic distance and articulatory distance that describe the effort (cognitive resource) of achieving a goal. • From my point of view, although direct manipulation interface is appealing to most end users, sometimes people will prefer more "indirect" ways to complete a task. For example, I once used Front-page and Dreamweaver back in the 2000s to make some dynamic web pages. They provide visual tools for generating a SQL query, which I found particularly useful as a novice. But after I learnt the syntax of SQL, I found it a lot easier just directly write the SQL queries myself instead of using the UI to avoid hassles of clicking "next" buttons. Also, another limitation of direct manipulation is that the task has to be able to visualize. For example, data points on a 2D plane can be easily visualized, but to visualize a 4D data is very difficult. I admit that it is a problem because computer screen has some inherently limitations, not because of the direct manipulation philosophy. A good way to address this specific problem can be highlighting the selected area as the Microsoft Excel does. Many modern HCI concepts come from this article, like user experience design and instant feedback principle. After all, user interfaces are for the convenience of the end users. When evaluating the tradeoffs, the designers have to keep in mind that their goal is to make the user's life easier.

Chris Thomas 8:55:58 9/4/2014

Reading Critique of “Direct Manipulation Interfaces” 2-3 Sentence Summary of Paper: The paper provided an explanation of concepts relating to direct manipulation interfaces, mainly from a cognitive perspective. The paper introduced a novel framework for understanding the gap between user goals and how those goals are communicated to the system, by developing the concepts of articulatory and semantic distance metrics as applied to the gulf of execution and the gulf of evaluation. Finally, the authors present the case for direct manipulation interfaces and discuss their strengths and shortcomings. The paper was a very interesting read and made me realize some things that I had overlooked before. I particularly thought the explanation of how users come to think like the system, which can ultimately limit their thoughts and types of questions that they ask, is very interesting. As someone who uses Matlab, I often find myself thinking about problems at the level that Matlab allows me to access them, not at the true level that those problems exist, so I definitely agree that use of an interface, or rather, over-reliance on it can be limiting. This paper is old, but it is interesting looking back at it from 2014 and seeing how many of the ideas in this paper came into play on mobile devices, probably before the authors even thought about mobile devices. For instance, integrating touch directly was something being discussed in this paper in 1985, but only has recently come to fruition. It is interesting thinking about the other ideas in this paper, not just touch but also pressure and torque as options. Only time will tell if those will also find their way into computer technology. Also, one of the most interesting aspects of this paper is that a good interface essentially disappears to the user, i.e. the user doesn't even realize they are working with an interface, but believes they are actually working with the objects of interest themselves. One nice thing about the paper is that it doesn't oversell the case for direct manipulation interfaces. It specifically discusses that there are costs associated with using direct manipulation interfaces, including loss of functionality and processing speed. The paper also carefully defines the scope and language of its terms and uses plentiful examples. For instance, the authors explain how the "ls" command could be written as a direct manipulation interface and what that would require and mean. One noticeable shortcoming I saw with the paper was that it was quick to point out various problems with direct manipulation interfaces and discussed those problems in great detail, but didn't offer much of an alternative. I think a good alternative to direct manipulation interfaces is to let the user choose the interface they want to use. For instance, if a user wants to use the high level interface to solve a problem, let the user make that choice. However, what if the user wants to do a complicated task, beyond the limits of a direct manipulation interface? If the designers of the interface don't expose the lower level functions to the user, the user's task may be impossible in the system. So, I believe one thing the paper could have mentioned was to allow the user to determine which level they which to work at, either at the most abstract direct manipulation interface level or at the lowest level. I think ultimately giving users more choices not just IN the interface, but OF the interface is something that should have been discussed. Reading Critique of “User Technology: From Pointing to Pondering” 2-3 Sentence Summary of the Paper: The paper begins by laying out a brief history of the seminal directions of HCI-Research (physical, cognitive, conceptual, and task interfaces) and how HCI came to be developed as a field. The paper introduces and discusses the novel concept of a "model-human processor," which represents the human user in a computational model, i.e. available working memory, processing speed, etc. and allows the programmer or engineer a new way to model and see the user in terms of these constraints. I found the paper to be very interesting as it related to different branches of research that I see going on today. For instance, it was interesting thinking about how the physical, cognitive, conceptual, and task interface connect to modern research. An example I can think of would be physical research going on in ergonomics, with even old technologies like the mouse being re-designed in ways to be more human friendly and to be less taxing on our body. It was also interesting to see how this seminal paper connected with the "direct manipulation interfaces" paper in 1985. The direct manipulation interfaces paper relatives to the conceptual interface, but also in some ways to the task interfaces research areas touched on in this survey. The paper showed that the seeds of the 1985 paper were already being thought about as early as the 1970s, where HCI researchers were thinking about how conceptual and task interfaces could not only change the way people interacted with computers, but also change the way people think by helping them think and organize their thoughts to accomplish tasks as illustrated in the "idea browsing" concept. A great strength of the paper is that it is so forward-looking. The authors in this early paper were already aware that humans may ultimately become the bottleneck in computer processing and were already thinking about how that problem might be addressed by focusing on the inherent limitations of humans. One criticism I had of the paper as someone new to HCI is that I was sometimes unclear about the acronyms the authors were using. The authors were writing a survey paper of the history of HCI research and also trying to show a survey of the work that was being done along different veins in HCI. When writing a survey paper, one should always remember that individuals from other disciplines may be reading it to get a quick gist of the field and as such, may not be experienced with all the technical verbiage associated with that field. For instance, the authors' throw out acronyms without explaining them for non-experts. Similarly, the authors mention certain people's names without even introducing who those individuals were or what their significance was. This kind of treatment may have been acceptable when HCI was a developing field with very few players in it, but once a field grows that kind of treatment is no longer acceptable. So, I actually think the authors presentation of the material in that regard is myopic, because they don't consider that people external to the domain may be trying to understand it. It is paradoxical to write a paper on HCI which is actually inaccessible to some readers, in my opinion.

Jerry 8:58:14 9/4/2014

The first thing that I learned from the readings is that in order to better understand the fundamentals of HCI and develop new techniques, the very beginning of study is on the users. To learn what users need in terms of their requirements in hardware and software perspectives is essential to a good HCI technique. Therefore, research in this area should also largely include proper strategies and contents for how/what to conduct in user studies. At the meantime, figuring out specific features and potentials for different hardware devices that are involved in the interactions with people is another important issue. While technologies advance fast, we may need to pay more attention on how to use them to better enhance user experience without pondering ourselves and the users.