Human-Computer Interaction: Ergonomics and User Interfaces - Vol. 1

By Hans-Jörg Bullinger; Jürgen Ziegler | Go to book overview

Designing Interactions through Meaning

Manuel Imaz
Napier University, Edinburgh, imaz@accessnet.es


1
Introduction

The introduction of patterns in software design means making aware some unconscious schemas used in the design activity. The use of patterns currently extends from programming to analysis including process definition. The central discovery with patterns is that most of our mental activity is a recurring one only changing the degree of granularity of phenomena to which patterns are applied. What we propose in this paper is to extend the usual schema of patterns in order to be able to capture some general cognitive processes known as conceptual integration or blends.

Encompassing cognitive processes to which they apply, patterns are defined at different levels of granularity and they may be combined in nested structures to form -as Christopher Alexander proposed- a language of its own. But design patterns, in general, are based on already defined software constructs such as classes, objects or other.

In order for a pattern to be able to capture conceptual integration, it has to be defined as a network to mimic the network of conceptual integration the pattern will represent. What we are proposing in this paper is to generalise such patterns to include other type of mechanisms, which could be used to design new constructs. This special activity of design -not usually reflected in designing artifacts- is conceptual integration in the form of blends


2
Cognitive Background

Cognitive semantics or experientialism offers us some interesting tools, which can be used to analyse the design activity. These concepts are mental space, projection, blend and stories. A mental space is a medium for conceptualisation and thought. Any fixed or ongoing state of affairs as we conceptualise it is represented by a mental space. Examples include our immediate reality,

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