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Interactivity Design and Construction Paradigms. Nuno M. Guimarães [email protected] Summary. Illustrations of a problem Visions of the world and language … A way out! Design framework. Question. In the context of the design of interactive artifacts to used and explored by people...

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Interactivity design and construction paradigms

InteractivityDesign and Construction Paradigms

Nuno M. Guimarães

[email protected]


  • Illustrations of a problem

  • Visions of the world and language

  • … A way out!

  • Design framework


In the context of the design of interactive artifacts to used and explored by people...

… which principles, motivations, methods, make the design process effective ?!

Pixels words or meaning1
Pixels, words, or meaning ?

  • Lisbon


    (well, more or less…)

Problem claim

  • There is no information (by itself), only data...

  • We (people) “make” the information through interpretation and assignment of “meaning” ...

  • “Meaning” is incomplete, shared, sufficient, ...


  • What is absolute or relative in interative artifact design ?

  • More specifically…

    • How universal are the indexing schemes in digital libraries ?

    • How far can we go in standardizing metadata (like the “semantic descriptions in MPEG7”) ?

Visions of world and language
Visions of world and language

  • Philosophy of Language & Cognition

    • Wittgenstein : from a universal to multiple “languages”

    • Heidegger : the rejection of the dualism objectivity-subjectivity, situated existence (dasein, throwness) and interpretations of breakdown

    • Neurobiology [Damásio94] : emotion as unavoidable in “rational” behaviour

    • Logic and Linguagem [Devlin97]: from language to communication

Visions of world and language1
Visions of world and language

  • “Pragmatic” theories of language

    • Speech Act Theory [Searle69] : from language as a logical system to language as an action and communication medium; Argumentation [Toulmin58] : from theoretical logic to the logic of argumentation

  • Cognition in the Technological Context

    • Augmenting the Human Intellect [Engelbart66]

    • Understanding Computers and Cognition [Winograd86]

    • Plans and Situated Actions [Suchman86]


  • From facts and reflection, …

    … socially constructed “truths”, contextual and situated dimensions are paramount in the design and usage of interactive artifacts...

Myth after myth after myth
Myth after Myth after Myth...

  • The “quality” of coded speech

  • The “transparency” of distributed systems

  • The “consistency” of distributed hypermedia systems

  • The “intelligence” of tutoring systems

  • The “understanding” of natural language


  • A framework to see the world of artifacts, and to design new ones...

    • Augmentation

    • Affordances, mapping, constraints and feedback

    • Breakdowns

    • Cognitive modes : reflective and experiential

A design framework
A design framework

  • Augmentation, as in H-LAM/T - Human Using Language, Artifacts and Methodology in which he is Trained [Engelbart66], Memex…

  • Affordances : functionality and behaviour that are perceived for an object; Mapping : correlation between an artifact’s interface and the (spatial or temporal) accessibility to the perceived functions; Constraints & Feedback. [Norman88, Norman92,Norman93]

A design framework1
A design framework

  • Breakdown

    • Cognitive breakdown determines, or activates, processes of interpretation

    • Breakdown : blocking or progress factor [Winograd86, Suchman86]

    • “The design of an artifact should be guided by the organization of the space of possible breakdowns of action ” [Winograd86]

A design framework2
A design framework

  • Experiential Cognition

    • Sensorial and mechanized tasks

  • Reflective Cognition

    • Learning and reasoning activities, that generate changes in the “cognitive structures” of the person [Norman92,Norman93]

  • From experiential to reflective and back : management of cognitive breakdowns

  • Example

    Classification and Search in Video Archives

    “…building a universal ontology for describing AV content is probably impossible since as communities evolve, their ontologies also evolve…” [Auffret99]

    • There are no universal ontologies in information (or data) classification.

    • Rapid and flexible visual interaction are the main solution to effective access. Navigation and exploration are augmentation processes

    • Characteristics of multimedia data (video) can be used to create interactive visual representations providing effective manipulation mechanisms


    • As usual “there is no silver bullet”…

    • Information is “our” interpretation of data

    • Support people interpreting data, as fast and easily as possible

    • Machines cannot understand, only mimic the understanding of one of us (or some of us, or most of us, but not all of us)