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Little machines: understanding users understanding interfaces

Little machines: understanding users understanding interfaces This paper questions the ubiquitous practice of supplying minimalist information to users, of making that information functional only, of assuming that the Shannon-Weaver communication model should govern online systems, and of ignoring the social implications of such a stance. Help systems that provide fast, temporary solutions without providing any background information lead to the danger of users completing tasks that they do not understand at all. (Word will help us write a legal pleading, even if we have no idea what one is.) As a result, we have help systems that attempt to be invisible and to provide tool instruction but not conceptual instruction. Such a system presents itself as a neutral tool, but it is actually an incomplete environment, denying both the complexity and alternative (and possibly improved) modes of thinking about the subject at hand. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png ACM Journal of Computer Documentation (JCD) Association for Computing Machinery

Little machines: understanding users understanding interfaces

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Publisher
Association for Computing Machinery
Copyright
Copyright © 2001 by ACM Inc.
ISSN
1527-6805
DOI
10.1145/586569.586571
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

This paper questions the ubiquitous practice of supplying minimalist information to users, of making that information functional only, of assuming that the Shannon-Weaver communication model should govern online systems, and of ignoring the social implications of such a stance. Help systems that provide fast, temporary solutions without providing any background information lead to the danger of users completing tasks that they do not understand at all. (Word will help us write a legal pleading, even if we have no idea what one is.) As a result, we have help systems that attempt to be invisible and to provide tool instruction but not conceptual instruction. Such a system presents itself as a neutral tool, but it is actually an incomplete environment, denying both the complexity and alternative (and possibly improved) modes of thinking about the subject at hand.

Journal

ACM Journal of Computer Documentation (JCD)Association for Computing Machinery

Published: Nov 1, 2001

References