Cognitive modeling [M2]

The mind-map was built to describe a bit of the history and development of Human-computer interaction and to address three questions:

  • What were the main classical theories?
  • How did they change the field, what did they enable?
  • What were their limitations?

The task itself was not a hard one. Once you have gone through the history and relation of HCI, interaction design and other fields of science, it becomes clearer on how HCI has become a much wider and larger field than just a part of computer sciences. Now the part when you have to come up with a visualization of connections between the parts, that is when things become interesting.

The map I have devised shows the primary relations  between interaction design and HCI with some view on the underlying theories and frameworks. It also depicts the usage of historical movements to describe certain differences in the approaches of HCI development. I have brought out three main approaches in the classical theories which were the body of knowledge, the application of basic research from other fields and also cognitive modeling.

The map shows an overall view of different theories, factors and models that were incorporated within the approaches. I have also pointed out the limitations of each approach to illustrate their limitations or even reason for downfall.

Känd [M2] Cognitive modeling - What were the main classical theories


Genesis and evolution [M0]

It was back in the 1970s when HCI started to pick up with computer graphics and information retrieval, when people came to recognize that interactive systems were the key to progressing beyond early achievements. These threads of development in computer science paved the way for computers to empower people today. HCI for me first of all is the science of interaction between two artifacts – human and computer. When thinking of it, the original slogan „easy to learn, easy to use“ isnt far from it.

Going through the evolution of HCI and the many branches that have emerged, it becomes clear that it isnt that simple and obvious today. I also realized that it no longer makes sense to regard HCI as a speciality of computer science. As the area of expertise broadened, computers seized to be mere interaction objects. With the emergence of email in the mid 1980s computers and networks became communication channels. It not only changed the way we saw the devices but it also started to evolve and change the way we interact with each other. They became mediators.

The change also started a vast selection of collaborative activities including  instant messaging, wikis, blogs, online forums, social networking, social bookmarking, media spaces etc. This area of HCI, now often called social computing, is also one which is most rapidly developing.

One of the most realizable areas of HCI development includes ubiquitous computing. Laptops, handhelds, smartphones, tabs  and other devices are as common as cars. People are used to having more and more interactive and computational devices within their everyday environment. The devices have been incorporated into a wide variety of habitats like cars, home appliances, furniture, clothing, and so forth. Desktop computing is still very important, though the desktop habitat has been transformed by the wide use of laptops. HCI will continue to move and develope to inhabit new areas and unlock new possibilities of human activity and experience.

As well as the physical means of human-computer interaction the design of the interfaces is one to have a lot of effort put into it. With developing graphics design it has become one of the more rapidly developing side of HCI. User experience design and interaction design are two of the best known design areas of HCI. It might be a surprise but they were not imported into HCI but rather were among the first exports to from HCI to the design world.

As a result of all previosly noted developments, HCI has become a vast area of research and practice. It was originally at home in computer science, but it has come a long way. From its original focus on personal productivity applications, which were mainly text editing, and spreadsheets, the field has constantly grown and diversified. It has encompassed visualization, information systems, collaborative systems the system development process, and many areas of design.

In conclusion, HCI is a story of many very different yet similar characters. It is not easy to define HCI with only one sentence and yet it seems to be clear as day when approached from one or the other side. As far as I am concerned, it starts with two intereacting artefacts – a human and a computer.

Contemporary trends in HCI [m1]

The task was to select 100 papers from the proceedings of the previous two editions of CHI and DIS. The selection should be based on our interests or final paper idea.

How did I get to the 20 most important concepts? Briefly describe the process and the underlying rationale.

Getting the concepts was pretty easy after selecting the papers and browsing through them. There were a lot of different topics within the selection and it was easy to distinguish between interesting and not-that-interesting papers/ideas. There came a point in every document when I realized if it was interesting to me or not. If it was than I continued. By reading more while browsing the interesting ones, I came up with underlying concepts or topics of research.

What was the overall experience of the QnD Review?

It was a new and interesting experience. I am used to reading papers in full or at least mostly through them, but this way of making an overview and often even scratching the surface just a little was interesting. It also makes one concentrate on abstracts, introduction and conclusions to get an overview of often a vast topic which is awesome.

Which are the two most interesting papers you would like to read more deeply? (Provide the full citation with DOI number, so that we can find the paper later)

p2005.pdf ; Session: Understanding and Modeling Touch CHI 2014, One of a CHInd, Toronto, ON, Canada 2005

28 Frames Later: Predicting Screen Touches From Back-of-Device Grip Changes;
Mohammad Faizuddin Mohd Noor*†, Andrew Ramsay*, Stephen Hughes‡ John Williamson*and Roderick Murray-Smith*

p2055.pdf ; CHI 2014, Stimulating a Blink: Reduction of Eye Fatigue with Visual Stimulus
Tarik Crnovrsanin; Yang Wang; Kwan-Liu Ma

How much time did you spend on this homework?

With preparations a bit longer than 5 hours I think. I was not able to do it in one long stretch so it is hard to calculate specific time.

What was the most difficult part of this homework?

At some point the topics became overlapping and repetitive. That means I had no new topics or bright ideas to pick from, but small alterations to topics that I had already read. This also meant I often read a bit of a paper and then skipped it because of a very similar topic to the previous one. This took time and prolonged the reading.

How to make the quick and dirty review better?

I think it would be easier if the document headings didn’t put up a fight while copying them in preview mode. It would also be easier if the files were named after their topic. Fortunately Drive also searches words from document text, but is still a pain to find them :S

Overall, it was a new and interesting experience. HCI has so many interesting things going on that everyone should find at least a topic or two to read and explore.

Second final task – Philosophy of HCI @TLU

Tools as far as experience is concerned were aplenty. The blog environment was an old friend. We just got acquainted again. The funny thing is that the blog had never had any followers beside the participants of the courses that it was used for. Now it has somehow managed to acquire some readers and reposts. I don’t know if it’s a good thing and I can’t say if people can get anything from it but it was indeed an interesting development. For the experience, it is somehow good to hear from total strangers that they have found some interesting thoughts or overviews on some matters covered by the years.

A lot of new experimentation went into mobile applications and there are many of those on android (the platform of choice for me). The downside is that many of those are rather badly made and not good to operate/use/interact with. I learned to use a number of those while making collages and then decided to drop that altogether. It was not a nice experience. The outcome wasn’t the worst but it came with so many glitches. As I have said before I’m not a heavy user of Instagram or anything similar so it was a bit of a negative start going into that world. There are probably many better and more refined apps/services around that I didn’t try, but it came to an end for me.

Facebook posting is also a thing concerning the want that I wrote about in my previous post. I used the option to write my stuff in the blog since it seems to me a cleaner more purposeful environment to present thoughts and texts. Facebook gets cluttered with all kinds of irrelevant info and thus cuts me away from the goal. Although I preferred the blog to write, I used facebook to find. I don’t find the blog environment too convenient for getting all the info in one place. I can’t find other participants blogs or texts or even the assignments etc. I enjoyed the facebook page because I could get the info from one place and it also pushed me towards the right direction. The shared thoughts and pictures by Emanuele, posts by co-students and notifications on facebook were things to help me find my concentration and want.

Finally I think the best of tools used for this course was the mind. I wouldnt say it was a beating, but it was more a Poirot-kind of massage on the grey cells. Am I making meaning or giving meaning? Am I appropriating? As far as I’m concerned it feels quite good.

Reflections on Philosophy of HCI @TLU

So, what about the course. I chose it probably because I have had one previous very good experience with philosophy and that was a course with Emanuele a couple of years back. As far as expectations go I wanted to go through a lot of discussions on philosophical matters and thought. What impressed me the first time was the fluidity of the process and the way one was not actually forced to provide an opinion on the subject before he or she had reached that point of interest or understanding.

As history has shown it was as or even more involving than it had been some years back. As many teachers or professors or faculty or knowledgeable people say, university is not compulsory and that is what I enjoyed the most. The want to provide an input was indeed favored but never forced upon. That very low expectations form (although I believe it was a scam all along) initiated the want in me. Participants often wanted to provide and receive rather than avoid the pressure of making something. I enjoyed the microculture that allows one to start to produce from ones mind and express that in a not-that-structured way.

The fact that it was a Saturday afternoon is a somewhat annoying fact but considering the options I believe it was the best choice. It isnt actually the choice of the day rather than the actual vibe that was produced. As it was a day with another 3 hour lecture just an hour before, it was indeed a n interesting task to start oneself up again.

As far as reflections go I must be honest, I cant get the text of David Becham hitting the ball out of my head. I don’t know if its a good thing and I’m not even sure, what it represents for me, but its there. And yes the statue of an overly obese woman followed by an enormous amount of different cats.

Depicting weeks and trying to narrate them to yourself a couple of weeks later is indeed a task to enjoy. The funny thing is that most of the pictures taken during that period of time are sort of imbedded in the mind. I even remember the action a bit more than the actual point of the picture taken since I took them all for the task not plainly because of free will. But there is the want again.

The want is something that is often missing from the process of learning, but it was there this time. I’m not a manic user of facebook or even the blog. I don’t post comments on twitter and I don’t watch youtube on a daily basis. HCI is still important in my everyday work and operations but I don’t feel that I contribute that much to the equation myself. As far as making meaning is concerned I can see meaning in the processes that went on during the course and since I’m recalling the events, all that I mostly remember is the meaning. I remember that there were many cats but what did they look like? Not a clue. I can clearly recall the pictures and collages or rather the making and commenting, not the actual visuals. Luckily we have facebook!

Fourth experiencement

Since all of the pictures I used in describing two weeks of this year were taken by myself then no, I didnt experience any difficulties in picking them out. It was rather a case of when did I find myself unoccupied or even slightly tired of doing something for a while (gap of inactivity) and than decided to memorize it as a moment of my week. The pictures are not a cypher to me since I have a certain connection behind them or even a story somewhat. There are also pictures that for me even describe an adventure of sorts and that might be cypherlike.

If you put the pictures beside each other, one might come up with a story. It might even describe a whole timeline albeit a boring and mundane one. My story is mostly describing work, locations and feelings towards something.

Picking pictures to describe something is easier for me if I take the pictures themselves. I dont photograph a lot, so its not one of my hobbies. It is easy to understand though, why people share a lot of pictures online and in social networks. Easier than typing numerous words in succession to explain a situation or make a point..

Is a picture worth a thousand words? Yes, but mostly different words to different people.

Moral artefacts

So what are moral artefacts for me? I dont know if I got the task right but I was trying to find something that affects me or is somewhat actual in my everyday life. Possibly some of the artifacts that make me act differently or produce some kind of  feelings towards a situation.

Freedom or even happiness?

fridayfriday 2friday 3

Unrest, confusion ..


Really? Why? Are you sure?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA highway tartu mnt

Three cognitive experiences mediated by technology

Purchasing a vehicle – the action of looking for and starting the purchase of a car. Looking at ads, choosing, contacting the seller, looking for aditional info on the vehicles, contacting the bank etc.

Delivering an overview of 2014 plan and major objectives – planning, mindmapping, excelling, powerpointing etc.


Watching a TV show – a show that is not aired in Estonia.