Measurement In The handPAM Environment
First it seemed that structure merely offered humans a way of getting their hands on the image. But now it turns out that in thus getting their hands on the image, they leave 'tracks'. Given sufficient structural agility, users will create groupings wherever they need them. The structure left behind reflects their grappling with the image to manipulate it for their cognitive purposes. Indeed, the structure offers a shared framework of orientation (for user and handPAM) precisely because it has been formed through purposeful manipulation of the image.
To take full advantage of these structures, we must measure them. Measuring involves: first, recording the structural dynamics of a user session; and second, attempting to determine which of those dynamics reflect the cognitive groupings of the user.
The handPAM environment facilitates this task in a semi-Procrustrean
fashion (figure 8). Since the human needs an artifact to manipulate
text and graphics anyway, why not supply one which makes for easier
measuring of the use of the artifact? The paramount task in
measurement is to define the units of text-graphic activty
This 'chunkwise' history list provides cognitive psychologists with a tool for exploring the role of graphics and external memory in problem solving. As small insights are garnered toward this end, then they can be applied to improving the system's representation of what the user is up to, and supplying assistance based on this knowledge.
structuring and manipulating text-graphic objects
Figure 8. A medium for graphic activity that measures