A pinboard by
Aditi Kothiyal

PhD student, Indian Institute of Technology Bombay


We report the design, development and testing of a fully manipulable computer interface, designed (a) as an intervention tool to support imagination-based integration of multiple external representations (MERs), and (b) as a probe to understand the cognitive processes involved in MER integration. The interface has fully manipulable and interconnected MERs (simulation, graph and equation) representing a simple oscillator (pendulum) system. The interface design is inspired by distributed and embodied cognition approaches.

We assessed MER integration using this interface, with 7th grade students, who interacted with the interface for an hour. They then answered, as well as verbally reasoned about questions that tested MER integration. Students' actions on the interface (gaze and mouse clicks) were recorded during their interaction with the interface. These were correlated to their reasoning, to understand actions (patterns of interaction) that could have potentially led to integration.

The results provide a very nuanced view of the relationship between manipulability/interaction and integration. Good performers (on the MER integration tasks) had a high level of interaction, but with significant variations between participants, suggesting that interaction is needed for integration, but there is no single interaction pattern supporting integration. However, students exhibiting similar interaction patterns as the good performers performed badly in the integration tasks. This suggests interactivity is not sufficient for MER integration. The results indicate that interactivity can scaffold MER integration, but cannot guarantee it. Support from facilitators is needed for MER integration, as in any other complex task where novices' attention needs to be guided.


Informatics, Vol. 3, Pages 20: Supporting Sensemaking of Complex Objects with Visualizations: Visibility and Complementarity of Interactions

Abstract: Making sense of complex objects is difficult, and typically requires the use of external representations to support cognitive demands while reasoning about the objects. Visualizations are one type of external representation that can be used to support sensemaking activities. In this paper, we investigate the role of two design strategies in making the interactive features of visualizations more supportive of users’ exploratory needs when trying to make sense of complex objects. These two strategies are visibility and complementarity of interactions. We employ a theoretical framework concerned with human–information interaction and complex cognitive activities to inform, contextualize, and interpret the effects of the design strategies. The two strategies are incorporated in the design of Polyvise, a visualization tool that supports making sense of complex four-dimensional geometric objects. A mixed-methods study was conducted to evaluate the design strategies and the overall usability of Polyvise. We report the findings of the study, discuss some implications for the design of visualization tools that support sensemaking of complex objects, and propose five design guidelines. We anticipate that our results are transferrable to other contexts, and that these two design strategies can be used broadly in visualization tools intended to support activities with complex objects and information spaces.

Pub.: 28 Oct '16, Pinned: 27 Jul '17