Applying Cognitive Science to User Assistance


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Applying Cognitive Science to User Assistance

  1. 1. Applying Cognitive Science to User Assistance RAY  GALLON CULTURECOM Member, Board of Directors Presentation  ©  2013  Ray  Gallon  all  rights  reserved
  2. 2. Who Is This Guy? Ray Gallon - The Humanist Nerd Owner/Consultant,  Culturecom  –  specialist  in      usability,   content  strategy,  and  user  assistance  for  software Research  collaborator  and  principal,  The  Transformation  Society,   a  new  research  and  training  institute  in  Barcelona,  Spain ■ 20+  years  in  technical  communication  with  major  companies  such  as  G.E.   Healthcare,  Alcatel,  IBM,  etc. ■ Member,  board  of  directors,  Society  for  Technical  Communication  (STC) ■ Past  president,  STC  France ■ Award-­‐winning  radio  producer  and  journalist  –  CBC,  NPR,  France  Culture,   etc.  and  former  programme  manager,  WNYC-­‐FM,  New  York  Public  Radio Presentation  ©  2013  Ray  Gallon  all  rights  reserved
  3. 3. The only thing we know about the future
 is that it will be different Peter Drucker “Lea rn deve ers” focu lo s know pment a es on the n l really edge and d approp human ri what more the skill, whic ating new ’s go ing o essence h I think i s n. ! of! – Joh Our job is to help people use our products well and wisely, which means they learn to adapt, 
 RAY  GALLON and cope with changes in technology and society. n Ca rroll C U LT U R E C O M Presentation  ©  2013  Ray  Gallon  all  rights  reserved
  4. 4. Procedures Aren’t Enough S Save  money  in  production  and  localization   with  reduced  content I TH Don’t  waste  user’s  time  with  unnecessary   detail,  especially  concepts   DO Two  common  ideas  about  minimalism:   ! WARNING NOT E: STEP 1 STEP 2 STEP 3 DON’T DO THAT Is  me moriz   ow ing  a  p neces nt,  h roced sary  f orta ut   ure  by or  com How  d e  imp witho  rote   peten ts  ar em   o  I  kn cy? cep ow  if   n h I  need If  co include  t ?”  to  do e    time  this? do  w g  users’ astin “w Presentation  ©  2013  Ray  Gallon  all  rights  reserved
  5. 5. Not Just Minimal – Minimal and Meaningful roduct  use   learn  about  p People  best   nd  making    something  a by  doing e  process.   nections  in  th con  the    put ill  be   ing  – ey  w y  do arn  b  where  th red. Le epts emembe conc and  r eful   us Minim al  and   meanin unders gful:  o tand  m ne  task any  rel Minim  helps   ated  ta al  and us   sks.  mean us  we ingful  don’t :  one    need we  do quick  to  bo ).  look   ther  w tells   ith  th is  (or   that   Presentation  ©  2013  Ray  Gallon  all  rights  reserved
  6. 6. Provide Decision Support User  assistance  that  is  limited  to   procedures  cannot  help  people   with  contingent  needs.   Modern  software’s  complexity,  features,  &  power   can  leave  users  perplexed  –  often  just  when  they   have  some  immediate,  contingent  need:   People  with  contingent  needs  are   not  going  to  wade  through  long   conceptual  texts.   ! “I  need  to  get  this  done,  and  NOW!.” RAY  GALLON CULTURECOM Presentation  ©  2013  Ray  Gallon  all  rights  reserved
  7. 7. Help Troubleshoot Seen  this   before? l? fu lp he it   Is   What  impression  does  a  user  get  of  your   RAY  GALLON company  when  s/he  sees  this  on  the  screen? CULTURECOM Presentation  ©  2013  Ray  Gallon  all  rights  reserved
  8. 8. Experience is More Important than Taxonomy In  traditional  “static” documentation,  the  product  gives  meaning  to  the   docs.   Users’ experience  with  the  product  takes  them  from  the  abstract  realm  of   reading  about  the  product...   Presentation  ©  2013  Ray  Gallon  all  rights  reserved
  9. 9. Experience is More Important than Taxonomy In  traditional  “static” documentation,  the  product  gives  meaning  to  the   docs.   Users’ experience  with  the  product  takes  them  from  the  abstract  realm  of   reading  about  the  product...     to  the  reality  of  performance.   ! ! ! ! For  software,  we  can  go  straight  to  performance-­‐based  meaning  if  we   embed  the  user  assistance  in  the  product  itself.   Presentation  ©  2013  Ray  Gallon  all  rights  reserved
  10. 10. Everything We Know… Get  straight  to  procedures   .. ! G N O Don’t  waste  user’s  time  with   unnecessary  detail,  especially  concepts   R W S I Procedural  information  must  be   separated  from  conceptual  information. Presentation  ©  2013  Ray  Gallon  all  rights  reserved
  11. 11. Double Embeddedness 
 ly t l ec ra dir du e ce nc ro ta ce p fa s ed ssi er mb Embe nt A E I d si er the mple dire Us o ctly conc t epts in User into Assi the stan 
 ce Cogniti ve Scie (and Jo nce hn Carr oll) backs t his up Presentation  ©  2013  Ray  Gallon  all  rights  reserved
  12. 12. What Happens When We Learn by Doing? Roger  C.  Schank’s  Schema  -­‐  We  remember  independent,  self-­‐ contained  scripts,  or  Memory  Organization  Packets  (MOP’s) Restaurant Airplane Serve   wine Being   seated Pay Eat Choose MOP’s  are  composed   of  scenes,  which  can   be  generalized  from   RAY  GALLON one  MOP  to  another Clothing  Shop Fasten   Seatbelt Being   seated Pay Choose Pay Eat Try  on Choose Romantic   Conversation CULTURECOM REF: Presentation  ©  2013  Ray  Gallon  all  rights  reserved
  13. 13. Active Learning: Learning by Doing Networks  of  Scenes Pay  Network Restaurant Airplane Serve   wine Being   seated Pay Eat Choose MOP’s  are  composed   of   be   RAY  GALLON one  MOP  to  another CULTURECOM REF: Clothing  Shop Fasten   Seatbelt Being   seated Pay Pay Eat Choose Try  on Choose Eat  Network Choose  Network Presentation  ©  2013  Ray  Gallon  all  rights  reserved
  14. 14. Cognitive Bases: Gestalt Psychology Gestalt  psychology  tries  to  understand   the  laws  of  our  ability  to  acquire  and   maintain  stable  percepts  in  a  noisy  world.   We  fill  in  blank  spaces  to   complete  images. John  Carroll  favours  this  kind  of  inferential  learning  in  minimalism. Presentation  ©  2013  Ray  Gallon  all  rights  reserved Source:
  15. 15. Cognitive Bases: Two Learning Theories Constructivism:   Experience   Act     Self-­‐directed,  creative,  and  innovative   The  context  in  which  the  learning  occurs  is   central     Learning  is  active,  social,  collaborative Connectivism: Knowledge  exists  in  systems  accessed  through   participation  in  activities.   Learning  =  creating  connections  and  elaborating   a  network.     Currency  (accurate,  up-­‐to-­‐date  knowledge)  is  the   intent  of  learning  activities. Presentation  ©  2013  Ray  Gallon  all  rights  reserved Source:
  16. 16. Cognitive Theories Compared Gestalt  Psychology   Basic Precept The  brain  is  holistic,   parallel,  and  analog,   with  self-­‐organizing   tendencies. Constructivism   (Learning  Theory) Connectivism  
 (Learning  Theory) Experience  an   environment  first-­‐hand   to  get  reliable,  trust-­‐ worthy  knowledge.     Learning  is  more  critical  than   knowing.     Learning  =  creating   connections  and  elaborating   a  network.     ! The  human  eye  sees   objects  in  their  entirety   before  perceiving  their   individual  parts,  suggesting   the  whole  is  “other”  than   the  sum  of  its  parts. Learning  is  an  active,   social  process,  leading   to  collaboration  and   shared  understanding. Knowledge  is  activated  in  the   world  as  much  as  in  the  head   of  an  individual.   Most Important Activity Inferential  Learning Act  on  the  environment   –  acquire  and  test.  Be   self-­‐directed,  creative,   and  innovative. Perceiving,  maintaining  and   nurturing  connections   between  fields,  ideas  and   concepts Role of Instructor (or User Assistance) Present  just  enough   information  to   facilitate  inference Facilitator  -­‐  point  out   where  user  can  act  on   the  environment Constructivist  facilitator   plus  networker  -­‐  make   connections  where  they   don’t  seem  to  exist. Implications Presentation  ©  2013  Ray  Gallon  all  rights  reserved
  17. 17. Constructive Connectivism The U nderp innin KANB g for AN IN FORM ATI +K • • • • now  w here Know   how Know   what +Know  when Implie • • ON: d: +Know  how  t o  be +Know  how  t o  be  w ith  oth ers Presentation  ©  2013  Ray  Gallon  all  rights  reserved
  18. 18. Kanban Information: 
 Help Users Learn Your Software Fast We  want  to  give  the  user  all  the  information  s/he  needs  and  only  the   information  s/he  needs.   We  want  to  deliver  that  information  when  s/he  needs  it  –  which  implies,   at  the  moment  s/he  has  real  work  to  do.   The  logical  conclusion  is  that  user  assistance  needs  to  be  embedded  in   the  software  itself,  in  such  a  way  that:   The  user  can  find  it  immediately,  without  excessive  searching,  if  
 s/he  needs  it.   If  s/he  doesn’t  need  it,  it  stays  out  of  the  way. Presentation  ©  2013  Ray  Gallon  all  rights  reserved
  19. 19. IC CT A R PP O R TU N IT Y ,P As   richness   of   content   increases,   our   knowledge   becomes   more   and   more   c o m p l e x ,   c o g n i t i v e l y   s p e a k i n g .   We   r e t u r n   regularly   to   the   same   place,   but   on   a   higher   cognitive  level O RICHNESS  OF  THE  CONTENT + E The Cognitive Spiral:
 Generating Cognitive Demand Bloom’s  Pyramid COGNITIVE-­‐SYMBOLIC  COMPLEXITY + Presentation  ©  2013  Ray  Gallon  all  rights  reserved Adapted from a scheme by Dr. Neus Lorenzo
  20. 20. What if a Restaurant Advertised itself like this? Diners don’t want edible They want de l i c i o u s! !”lin LEiche IBide M ED-Gu “ Cust omer s do They n’t want want a gr usab eat le expe rien c e! STOMER IRE CU HE ENT CHART FOR T SIBLE HE ORG RESPON BE IN T RE ALL A WE MAY WE EREVER E - WH PERIENC EX Presentation  ©  22013  Ray  Gallon  all  rights  reserved Presentation  ©   013  Ray  Gallon  all  rights  reserved
  21. 21. Integrated Competency Learning +  Cognitive  construction   and  process  reasoning User 
 Learning Space +Socio-­‐cultural  construction
 (information    sharing,  mentoring) WHERE IN THIS SPACE DO YOU WANT YOUR USERS? +Code:  Mastery  of  the  
 language,  interface,   iconography... +Thematic  knowledge
 (SME) ...AND WHEN???? +  Individually  significant
 contextualisation  (contingency) +Procedural   Memorisation The  architecture  of   the  scenes  we  design   for  our  user/learners   are  determinant   factors Presentation  ©  2013  Ray  Gallon  all  rights  reserved Adapted  by  Dr.  Neus  Lorenzo  from  Phil  Ball  &  Keith  Kelly  (2009)    Ref:    &
  22. 22. Blending Concepts and Tasks: 
 Kanban Information meets DITA We  often  use  concepts  to  introduce  &  lead  into  multiple  tasks: Concept:  This  concept   explains  what  this  element   of  the  interface  is  all  about.   It  is  used  in  the  following   tasks: Task  1 Task  2 Task  3 Task  4 • We  don't  know  how  else  to  do  it,  but  this  is  an   inappropriate  use  of  conceptual  information: • • Not  good  cognitive  development Not  good  Kanban Presentation  ©  2013  Ray  Gallon  all  rights  reserved
  23. 23. Blending Concepts and Tasks: 
 Kanban Information meets DITA Why  not  use  the  DITA  Task  topic  structure  to  deliver  conceptual  information   where  it  will  do  the  most  good  and  be  best  remembered?   <task>  Topic ! General  conceptual  information  using  the  <context>  element  
 Include  decision  support  
 (Reusable  for  related  tasks)       Step  1 <cmd> ! <stepresult>  –  What  happens  after  execution  –  can  include  why Step  2 <cmd>     <info>  –  Use  when  there  is  no  result  to  embed  concepts  pertinent  to  the  step.  Make  sure  it   relates  to  the  task,  but  is  also  generalisable  to  other  similar  tasks,  if  appropriate Presentation  ©  2013  Ray  Gallon  all  rights  reserved
  24. 24. Example <shortdesc>   (from  tool  tip) ! oXygen  Author <context> The  first  <p>  comes   from  tool  tip Presentation  ©  2013  Ray  Gallon  all  rights  reserved
  25. 25. Use <choice> lists to include conceptual information <cmd> <choices> <info> FrameMaker  11 Presentation  ©  2013  Ray  Gallon  all  rights  reserved
  26. 26. <choicetable> offers another option <cmd> <choicetable> All  these  elements  are  available   after  a  <cmd>.  Use  the  one  that   works  best,  semantically. Presentation  ©  2013  Ray  Gallon  all  rights  reserved
  27. 27. DITA Composite Topic – 
 One Size Fits All The  composite  topic  begins,   simply,  with  a  <dita>  tag.  You  can   then  insert  any  type  of  DITA  topic,   nested  within  it. ! Use  with  great  caution! Presentation  ©  2013  Ray  Gallon  all  rights  reserved
  28. 28. s a h e c n ! a e t l s b i a s e irst… s l up f A g ome o to c r o eds e G d ne s An U e new Doing” he b “Finding is t o t –Ian Barker Create yo ur own st akeholder communit including user/lear ies-
 ners as fu ll collabor ators A Group is not a Community Presentation  ©  2013  Ray  Gallon  all  rights  reserved
  29. 29. Integrated Learning Communities Let p eople know what are t you racki ng. c r u o y e k a M nd a k o o s e i b u P c i l s rick nd t a ips t ials r ’ mate sers g rn u u inin T tra into rs de ay ol w eh me n ak sa t se i s e reu you de th si rs rial both te n e a i m from te m u atGALLON to trib ur UA – e At rRAY   cus yo T CULTURECOM Presentation  ©  2013  Ray  Gallon  all  rights  reserved
  30. 30. RAY  GALLON CULTURECOM Port the   ions  of Tran  this sfor  pre mat sent ion  S atio ocie n  bas ty  R eseaed  on  re rch  g sear roup ch  by .   Thank  You! Check  out  my  blog,  Rant  of  a  Humanist  Nerd: Email: Google  Plus:  +Ray  Gallon Twitter:  @RayGallon LinkedIn:  Ray  Gallon Link  to  related  Adobe  webinars  here: Two  white  papers  published  on  Adobe  site: •Changing Paradigms in Technology and Communication •Crossing Boundaries: Implications for the Content Industries Link:
 Presentation  ©  2013  Ray  Gallon  all  rights  reserved