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Assignment 14, Phong

source: Fischer, G. (2001) "User Modeling in Human-Computer Interaction," User Modeling and User-Adapted Interaction (UMUAI), Kluwer Academic Publishers, 11(2), pp. 65-86.

Briefly discuss the following issues:

1. what did you find

1.1. interesting about the article? The concept of user modeling is interesting since it provide a good structure to begin to understand the model of interaction between a system and potential users. And the two different approaches of adaptive and adaptable system also useful since many systems adopt one of these approaches. Having a systematic comparison, and their implications, is a useful. Finally, I also found the historical overview to be relevant as well; in particular the article made a link between HCI and artificial intelligence which did not occurred to me before reading the article.

1.2. not interesting about the article? Nothing.

2. what do you consider the main message of the article? That HCI as field has disappointed in terms of benefits gained compared to the research efforts invested in the field. However, there has been examples of progress, particularly in the design of high functionality applications (HFA) and their widespread adoption. However, users are still frustrated with some of HFA implementation and there is still a long way to go in state of the art for HCI. HCI needs to continue to focus on implementing features that have high value for users and need to make conscious choices in the areas of adaptive/adaptable approaches, info push/pull, contextualized vs. exploratory info search, and web-based access.

3. to which other previous articles / discussion topics of the course is this article related? This article discusses issues we read in the Embedding Critics in Design Environments we read earlier about incorporating critics in the design environment to "say the right thing at the right time to the right person." But taking a step back, I find that this article also relates to most of the articles we have read in the class since each system we read about has an implicit model of the user; particularly a user that take an active stance toward learning and participates in a community of learners.

4. choose MS-Word (or another HFA) as an example:

4.1. how much (in percent) of the functionality of the HFA do you know? I would guess about 30% of MS-Word functionality.

4.2. how do you learn new functionality? Mostly through reading the on-line help manual (and sometimes it is difficult for me to find the relevant section) and user-produced online help pages.

4.3. for MS-Word users: is there a command in MS-Word which “transposes two characters” (e.g., “leanr” becomes “learn” by positioning the cursor between n and r and executing the command)? I did not know that one would exist so I used Google to search for help on this function and was not able to find any page that referenced this capability. I then searched for "transpose" on the help menu but was not able to find any reference to this capability.

5. what have YOU learnt “on demand” in YOUR life? Briefly describe the most prominent example. The most prominent example for me is computer programming. In writing program there are many time that I wonder how to accomplish certain task using Java or C++ syntax and would look up this information on-line.

6. what do people have to know to be able to learn on demand? They have to know that learning on demand is available, how to access it, and have a strategy of how to use incorporate the new information into what they already know.

7. why should one “learn on demand” instead of relying on “use on demand”? If "use on demand" implies being able to use something without understanding (e.g. "I'm not sure what I did but it worked") this ability does not help me the next time I encounter the same problem. If it means that a feature works the way I think it logically ought to work – like a syntax construct in a programming language then I believe it would be useful.

8. which computer systems have you encountered which

8.1. have a User Modeling Component? Most modern operating system, and software application, have an implicit user modeling component. I use a Macintosh iBook and its operating system is mainly an adaptive system. But I certainly can modify its behavior via the Preferences functionality and using third party applications (in this way the system is also adaptable).

8.2. support learning on demand? I would say that the majority of well-written applications support learning on demand through built-in help systems or web-based help pages and or communities.

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