Cognitive Models of Human–Information Interaction
Palo Alto Research Center, USA
Human–information interaction (HII) is an emerging branch of human–computer interaction (HCI) which is concerned with how people interact with and process outwardly accessible information such as the World Wide Web.1 However, HII adopts an information-centric approachrather than the computer-centric approach to the ﬁeld of human– computer interaction (Lucas 2000). Like HCI, HII is an application ﬁeld that provides a complex test bed for theories of cognitive architecture. In turn, such theories provide the basis for cognitive engineering models that can yield predictions about technology and information design. This chapter provides an overview of cognitivearchitectures and cognitive engineering models in the context of human–information interaction. The evolution of HCI toward the information-centric ﬁeld of HII has occurred because of the increasing pervasiveness of information services, the increasing transparency of user interfaces, the convergence of information delivery technologies, and the trend toward ubiquitous computing (Lucas 2000). Accessto the Internet is pervasive through land lines, satellite, cable, mobile devices, and wireless services. The ﬁeld of HCI over the past two decades and more has led to the development of computers and computer applications that are increasingly transparent to users performing their tasks. In parallel, the business world around consumer media technologies shows excitement over the convergence oftelevision, cell phones, PCs (personal computers), PDAs (Personal Digital Assistants), cars, set-tops, digital music players, and other consumer electronic devices, as well as the convergence among the means for transporting information, such as the Internet, radio, satellite, cable, and so on. Research on ubiquitous computing looks forward to a world in which computational devices are basicallyeverywhere in our homes, mobile devices, cars, and so on, and these devices can be marshaled to perform arbitrary tasks for users. The net effect of these trends is to make computers invisible, just as electricity
Handbook of Applied Cognition: Second Edition. Edited by Francis Durso. Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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and electric motors are invisible in homes today (Norman 1998). As computers become invisible and information becomes copious and pervasive, we expect to see a continuing shift in studies from human–computer interaction to human–information interaction. Digital content is becoming independent of the particular physical storage devices and interaction devices. Rather than focus onthe structure of devices and application programs, the focus of HII research centers on interaction with content and interactive media. Although information is part of the focus of the ﬁeld of HII, it is not the sole focus. HII continues to share with HCI a focus on the psychology of users. Information per se, whether in the classical sense (patterns of organization) or common sense (documents,email, summaries, document clusters, search results, etc.), is of limited interest. Information content has the potential to be used in ways that improve the achievement of human purposes. Information itself is best understood in relation to human use of that information, so human intentionality, psychology, and activity are crucial to providing coherence to the study of human–informationinteraction. This chapter takes a particular approach to the psychology of HII, with a focus on the cognitive architectures and cognitive engineering models that are being extended to deal with HII questions. Cognitive engineering in the domains of HCI and HII is founded on the assumption that psychology ought to be able to predict the consequences of different technology designs. For instance, cognitive...