Assignment 7: Domain-Oriented Design Environments and Critiquing - Jodi Kiefer


Fischer, G., Nakakoji, K., Ostwald, J., Stahl, G., & Sumner, T. (1998) "Embedding Critics in Design Environments." In M. T. Maybury & W. Wahlster (Eds.), Readings in Intelligent User Interfaces, Morgan Kaufmann, San Francisco, pp. 537-561.
plus: Janus Video Tape

Briefly discuss the following issues:

1. what did you find (articulate the answers in your own words)

1.1. interesting about the article?

I thought the incorporation of the 3 different critics (generic, specific and interpretive) was an interesting and necessary approach in creating a useful critic program.

1.2. not interesting about the article?

At points throughout the article, I found it difficult to visualize what was being explained. However, using the kitchen scenario as an example was very useful and beneficial in understanding most of the principles.

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

Critiquing is a crucial part of a design process. This article introduces a computer-based critiquing system embedded in domain-oriented design environments. This system introduces three types of computer-critics aimed at aiding the design process – generic, specific and interpretive critics.

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

I would like to know more about how a breakdown is determined by the system, thus determining when a critic is useful.

4. do you know of other papers, ideas, and systems which are closely related to

4.1. DODEs


4.2. Critiquing?

The idea of prompting a user with information is similar to the help tips provided by Microsoft Word, as was discussed in class. Upon opening Word, a Tip-of-the-Day is displayed on the screen with a hint on using the functionality within Word. However, unlike Hydra-Kitchen system, it only prompts this hint at the beginning and not while the user is performing a relevant task.

4.3. analyze “spelling correctors” as a critiquing system

Spelling correctors could be classified as a critiquing system as they detect words that are not found in their definition list and suggest alternatives. However, they are limited by their definition list and do not look at the misspelled word in its context which prevents it from suggesting only appropriate corrections. Along this same line, being that it does not look at words in context, it also misses words that are found in the definition list but may be used incorrectly.

5. what does the article say about

5.1. design

Critiquing is an important part of the design process. The design process is an iterative process that revolves around trying to define the problem. Critiquing at each attempt of defining the problem incorporates new knowledge and information into the knowledge base. The article states that critics support the design as an argumentative process by offering opinions and alternatives with their corresponding pros and cons.

5.2. learning

The critics help incorporate and develop the knowledge base of the users by presenting additional relevant information.

5.3. collaboration

The embedding critiquing systems is a form of collaboration in itself. With the ability to add and modify critics in the system, the system is kept up-to-date with information in the specific field. This repository for information allows the user to combine their specific design-based knowledge with experts from the field.

5.4. innovative media support for these activities?

These systems incorporate computer functionality and logic to create computer-based critiquing functionality to domain-oriented design environments.

6. do you have any ideas how this research could / should be extended based on your own knowledge and experience?

Based on the article, it sounds like the functionality that allows users to add critics to the system needs to be addressed. In terms of user-friendliness, it does not sound like it has reached its full potential as an open-system in which the users of the system become the designers the system.