The Cognitive Dimensions of an Artifact vis-a-vis Individual Human Users : Studies with Notations for the Temporal
Cognitive Technology explores ways in which the cognitive fit between people and technology may be optimized. If this goal is to be achieved we will require methods of assessing tools and information arftifacts in order that we may properly examine the interplay between human cognition and technologies. Examination of this relationship neccessitates recogniton of the fact that it will be shaped by the cognitive and embodiment characteristics of the user, as well as the activity being carried out and the nature of the technology or artifact itself. The Cognitive Dimensions (CDs) framework provides a set of tools and measures which may contribute to Cognitive Technology’s aims. CDs provide a pragmatic approach to the assessment of information artifacts, highlighting properties which affect cognition. We argue that not only may CDs be of benefit to Cognitive Technology, but that Cognitive Technology provides a broader context for understanding the importance and impact of CDs. Greater awareness of the importance of particular characteristics of users may serve to inform the application of CDs. In this paper we provide a general introduction to the CD framework, and show how CDs have been used in the evaluation and improvement of a temporal specification notation for interactive systems. We then discuss the ways in which user characteristics may be taken into account in applications of the CD framework. We illustrate the discussion with examples showing the differing impact of a temporal specification notation’s properties on experienced and novice users.