Assignment 4, Phong

1. what did you find

1.1. interesting about the article? One of the question that the article raises is that given the tremendous amount of effort that is needed to tailored these adaptive technologies to fit each person's unique cognitive characteristics, how do you enable widespread distribution given the high costs of creating such systems? The article seems to subtly approach but did not express outright the concept of customization to deal with the problem of the universe of one. As I was reading the about the mobility-for-all project it seems that the underlying approach is to allow multiple points of customization, such as scripting choices in the memory aided prompting system, where it matters most to the user. Other factors where users have little interaction, or have uniform preference, receive less attention. This is an implicit design technique that allows the possibility of "mass customization" which is an essential element of many context-aware socio-technical systems.

1.2. not interesting about the article? none.

2. what do you consider the main message of the article? Two points. First, distributed cognition is a useful guiding framework for design of systems in the space of design and collaboration because our wired society offers too many ports of information - and that each of these individual information bites can be structurally complex - for anyone to manage solely in her head. Second, this distributed cognition framework can be used to build systems that help transcend the need to the understand and manage these complex informational artifacts.

3. what did you find interesting about the systems?

3.1. Personal Travel Assistant. The ability to recover from a breakdown is a key feature. This ability differentiate from a paper aide/ prompting system.

3.2. Memory Aiding Prompting System (MAPS). The concept of creating scripts is the most interesting feature for me. And more intriguing is the ability to share these scripts between different support communities.

3.3. Lifeline. The most interesting aspect was the integration of different components to address user needs. In a sense the system is truly distributed with resources that can either be a human or devices that have been imbued with human created heuristics.

4. do you know of other papers, ideas, and systems which are closely related to the article and the systems? Yes, there are personal travel assistant for folks who are not cognitively disabled. There is a Palm based system that provide personalized route information between subway systems of the world called MetroO (

5. what do the article and the associated systems say about

5.1. design. That the design process often involve understanding the artifacts, and in some cases, other design process(es).

5.2. learning. Learning is not about facts but also the meta-data/meta-structure associated with the facts. And learning about these structure has to take place, but it doesn't have be to be done by you (as an individual); just as long as the learning is place somewhere accessible and intelligible to you.

5.3. collaboration. As designer you should be mindful that your design activity is likely to be one in a sequence of design iteration and it would be useful to ensure that your current design process is transparent to make the next designer's job easier. It seems that as a designer you are implicitly collaborating with other designers across time. The measure of success of the collaboration is whether your solution can be easily understood by other designers that need to alter or borrow your results.

5.4. innovative media to support these activities? Innovative media are elements of a design. They are not ends in themselves.

6. are themes discussed in the article which you would like to know more about? One theme that I would like to know more about is the collaboration amongst cognitively disable folks with respect to these systems. Is there opportunity for folks to rate these scripts and exchange them? The concept of rating in this context will need to be explored. I would also like to see more discussion about opportunity for collaboration amongst the caregiver community too.

7. do you have any ideas how this research could / should be extended (based on your own knowledge and experience)? please see 6 above. In addition, what about the concept of cognition for all? in this case we are going back to "translate" and "scaffold" complex transportation artifacts. Is there a possibility of designing these artifacts to be understood by folks with different cognitive capability from the get-go?