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Representing cognitive activity in complex tasks
Barnard, P. & May, J.
Human Computer Interaction, 14(1/2), 93-158, 1999
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CBU number:
To bridge the gap between theory and application, modelling needs to satisfy a requirement for broad scope. Interacting Cognitive Subsystems (ICS) is proposed as a theoretical basis for developing practically oriented representations, and two approaches based upon this theory are described. First, Cognitive Task Models provide a relatively complete representation of the cognitive activity required of a user in the course of an interaction. Second, diagrammatic notations can provide support in small scale problem identification and resolution. With generic form, these notations can be applied across tasks, visual interface and sound interface issues, and can handle static and dynamic situations. While Cognitive Task Modelling can be implemented in a production-rule expert system (ICSpert) and so does not require detailed modelling knowledge on the part of the analyst, the diagrammatic notations do require some theoretical knowledge. Both techniques have been used to represent problems from experimental situations, core HCI scenarios, and ‘real world’ design projects. They share breadth of scope and abstraction, and their parent theory supports transfer of knowledge across domains of application and from older to newer technologies, and supports feedback between the domain of application and the domain of theory.