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Fischer, G. and James Sullivan: "Human-Centered Public Transportation Systems for
Persons with Cognitive Disabilities - Challenges and Insights for Participatory Design",
Proceedings of the Participatory Design Conference (PDC'02), Malmö University,
Sweden, June 2002, CPSR, P.O. Box 717, Palo Alto, CA 94302, pp 194-198.

1. what did you find
1.1. interesting about the article?

I found it interesting how the process of using public transportation was broken down into simple task blocks such as “reflect – choose – act”. These basics tasks are often not through about when traveling.

1.2. not interesting about the article?

There appeared to be a lot of “setup” content. Examples of this are the description of the Project Goals and Design Participants. This took almost 15% of the paper content. I would have liked to see more elaboration on the results section.

2. what do you consider the main message of the article?

The main message was to introduce the problems that persons with cognitive disabilities have with public transportation. It outlined a process for assisting them and proposed the groundwork for a future technology that could aid in the problem.

3. are themes discussed in the article which you would like to know more about?

Yes, I would like to see more elaboration on the actual technology used. For example, figure 2 showed and “Agent-based prototype” but did not go into much detail.

4. what did you find interesting about the “EDC/CLever” system?

I actually found the most interesting thing about CLever was how much “non computer science” much of the research is. This is truly a case of understanding the problem before trying to map a solution to it. This is a very nice approach. It seems too often we begin with the technology and then try to find a problem to solve with it. Clever brings in a lot of non-technical resources to define the problems that people have. It is only after that these problems are outline that a technology or algorithm is developed to assist in the solution.

5. do you know of other papers, ideas, and systems which are closely related to the article and the ““EDC/CLever” system?

A system that is similar to the one described in this article is the “Never Lost” guidance system from Hertz Rent-a-car. This system uses “essential navigation artifacts” in the form of maps to aid users to reach their destination. It also uses color-coding and suppresses details in order to simplify the understanding of the task.

6. what do the article and the associated system say about
6.1. design
Each solution needs to be tailored to the individual in order to meet their needs. There is no “one size fits all” when it comes to cognitive disabilities.

6.2. learning
To produce an effective solution, there must be a deep understanding of the processes that are needed to perform a task. In this case, the task is using public transportation.

6.3. collaboration
This definitely illustrates the need for a cross-functional team to define the problems that need to be solved. The diverse participants in the research are case-in-point.

6.4. innovative media to support for these activities?
Technologies such as GPS and interactive software are capable of aiding in this problem. This was not true 10 years ago.

7. do you have any ideas how this research could / should be extended (based on your own knowledge and experience)?
I think that prototyping devices should be deployed with caregivers. The devices will not be relied upon but the caregiver can compile information about how effective and accurate signals are given when compared to what the caregiver actually did in each situation. This would be a good market research onto the effectiveness of the technology.

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