CHI-WEB Archives

ACM SIGCHI WWW Human Factors (Open Discussion)


Options: Use Forum View

Use Monospaced Font
Show Text Part by Default
Show All Mail Headers

Message: [<< First] [< Prev] [Next >] [Last >>]
Topic: [<< First] [< Prev] [Next >] [Last >>]
Author: [<< First] [< Prev] [Next >] [Last >>]

Print Reply
Luca Rosati <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Sat, 15 Jan 2005 11:13:29 +0100
text/plain (83 lines)
Hi all,

I'm interesting on the rapport between classification systens and mind,
with particular reference to the binomial faceted classification (or
analytic-synthetic classification) vs. hierarchical-enumerative

I'd like to deepen these Cooper's words:

"Hierarchies are one of the programmer's most durable tools. Much of the
data inside programs, along with much of the code that manipulates it,
is in hierarchical form. For this reason, many programmers present
hierarchies (the implementation model) in user interfaces. Early menus,
as we've seen, were hierarchical. But abstract hierarchies are very
difficult for users to successfully navigate. This truth is often
difficult for programmers to grasp because they themselves are so
comfortable with hierarchies.

Most humans are familiar with hierarchies in their business and family
relationships, but hierarchies are not natural concepts for most people
when it comes to storing and retrieving arbitrary information. Most
mechanical storage systems are simple, composed either of a single
sequence of stored objects (like a bookshelf) or a series of sequences,
one level deep (like a file cabinet). This method of organizing things
into a single layer of groups is extremely common and can be found
everywhere in your home and office. Because it never exceeds a single
level of nesting, we call this storage paradigm monocline grouping.

Programmers are veri comfortable with nested system where an instance of
an object is stored in another instance of the same object. Most other
humans have a very difficult time with this idea. In the mechanical
world, complex storage systems, by necessity, use different mechanical
form factors at each level: in a file cabinet, you never see folders
inside folders or file drawers inside file drawers. Even the dissimilar
nesting of folder-inside-drawer-inside-cabinet rarely exceeds two levels
of nesting. In the current desktop metaphor used by most window systems,
you can nest folder within folder ad infinitum. It's no wonder most
computer neophytes get confused when confronted with this paradigm.

Most people store their papers (and other items) in a series of stacks
or piles based on some common characteristic: The Acme papers go here;
the Project M papers go there; personal stuff goes in the drawer. Donald
Norman (1994) calls this a pile cabinet. Only inside computers do people
put the Project M documents inside the Active Clients folder, which, in
turn, is stored inside the Clients folder, stored inside the Business

Computer science gives us hierarchical structures as tools to solve the
very real problems of managing massive quantities of data. But when this
implementation model is reflected in the manifest model presented to
users, they get confused because it conflicts with their mental model of
storage systems. Monocline grouping is so dominant outside the computer
that interaction designers violate this model at their peril.

Monocline grouping is an inadeguate system for physically managing the
large quantities of data we commonly find on computers, but that doesn't
mean it isn't useful as a manifest model. The solution to this conundrum
is to render the structure as the user imagines it - as monocline
grouping - but to provide the search and access tools that only a deep
hierarchical organization can offer. In other words, rather than forcing
users to navigate deep, complex tree structures, give them tools to
bring appropriate information to them (Alan Cooper, Robert Reimann
"About Face 2.0 - The Essentials of Interaction Design", Wiley, 2003, p.

Can you suggest me references about, books, online papers.



mail: [log in to unmask]

    Tip of the Day: Use the archives to research common questions
     CHI-WEB: POSTINGS: mailto:[log in to unmask]
              MODERATORS: mailto:[log in to unmask]