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Cognitive Artifacts And Windows 95. Refers To The Article By David A. Norman

857 words - 3 pages

The article on Cognitive Artifacts by David A. Norman deals with the theories and principles of artifacts as they relate to the user during execution and completion of tasks. These principles and theories that Norman speaks about may be applied to any graphical user interface, however I have chosen to relate the article to the interface known as Windows 95.Within Windows 95, Microsoft has included a little tool called the wizard that guides us through the steps involved in setting up certain applications. This wizard is a very helpful tool to the non experienced computer user, in the way that it acts like a to-do list. The wizard takes a complex task and breaks it into discrete pieces by asking questions and responding to those questions based on the answers. Using Norman's theories on system view and the personal view of artifacts, we see that the system views the wizard as an enhancement. For example, we wanted to set up the Internet explorer, you click on the icon answer the wizard's questions and the computer performs the work. Making sure everything is setup properly without the errors that could occur in configuring the task yourself. The wizard performs all the functions on its little to-do list without having the user worrying about whether he/she remembered to include all the commands. On the side of personal views the user may see the wizard as a new task to learn but in general it is simpler than having to configure the application yourself and making an error, that could cause disaster to your system. The wizard also prevents the user from having to deal with all the internal representation of the application like typing in command lines in the system editor.Within Windows 95 most of the representation is internal therefore we need a way to transform it to surface representation so it is accessible to the user. According to Norman's article there are 'three essential ingredients in representational systems. These being the world which is to be represented, the set of symbols representing the world, and an interpreter.' This is done in Windows by icons on the desktop and on the start menu. The world we are trying to represent to the user is the application, which can be represented by a symbol which is the icon. These icons on the desktop and on the start menu are the surface representations the user sees when he goes to access the application not all the files used to create it or used in conjunction...

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