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Nathan Balasubramanian's Response to Assignment 13

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:

1.1 What did you find interesting about the article?

I liked the author’s abstract; the distinctions and tradeoffs between usable (original HCI designs) and useful (current HFA designs); the WEST coaching systems’ explorations on shared context, initiative and intrusiveness, and relevance; and the compare and contrast matrix with adaptive and adaptable approaches in user modeling.

1.2. What did you find not interesting about the article?

Nothing really.

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

Designers of HFA and computational media have formidable, but worthy, challenges ahead in balancing tradeoffs and constraints between usable/useful adaptive/adaptable desktop/web-based contextualized/serendipitous push/pull technologies.

3. To which other previous articles/discussion topics of the course is this article related?

This article relates to fundamental issues in design, learning, and collaboration that we have discussed since the beginning of Spring 2005.

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 don’t know, but would guess around 30%!

4.2. How do you learn new functionality?

When I encounter a problem I want solved, I use the MS Office Word Help to give me suggestions.

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 don’t know how the autocorrect works, but comparison with the closest word in an existing database might be one approach.

5. What have YOU learnt “on demand” in YOUR life? Briefly describe the most prominent example.

The most prominent example is finding codes for html programming. When I have a problem, I search the Web using Google to access and customize the codes.

6. What do people have to know to be able to learn on demand?

Have some background knowledge and persistence while doing the selective search.

7. Why should one “learn on demand” instead of relying on “use on demand”?

It is not possible for the designers to anticipate every imaginable use while designing systems but providing access or “pull” technologies facilitates learning on demand rather than use on demand.

8.1 Which computer systems have you encountered which have a User Modeling Component?

Macromedia Dreamweaver and MS Office both have User Modeling Components.

8.2. Which computer systems have you encountered which support learning on demand?

Besides the suite of applications above, I use the learning on demand supports in QuickTime and SPSS often.

Nathan Balasubramanian

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