Cognitive Models as Usability Testing Tools

Cognitive Models as Usability Testing Tools

Vanja Kljajevic (NewHeights Software, Canada and Carleton University, Canada)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-871-0.ch048
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This chapter discusses the idea that using computational cognitive models in usability testing has many benefits over the traditional approaches. It argues that computational cognitive models, anchored in the concept of cognitive architecture, offer an integrated approach to interactive behaviour emerging from the use of mobile phones. A cognitive architecture is a theoretical framework containing a set of relatively independent core constraints that are constant across time and tasks. It constrains models built within the cognitive theories based on the architectures, preventing proliferation of implausible theories. This proliferation, on the other hand, is typical of the traditional approaches to usability testing. In this chapter the benefits of using the model-based approach based on a cognitive architecture in usability testing will be discussed, with a special emphasis on mobile phone interfaces.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Computational Cognitive Models: Programmable cognitive models that run on a computer

Usability (of a software product): A specific software quality characteristic, usually analyzed in terms of effectiveness, efficiency, and users’ satisfaction with the product

Interactive Behaviour: Type of behaviour that emerges from dynamic interaction among the elements, such as those within a user-task-artefact triad

Cognitive Modeling: Mapping of the mental models onto cognitive models

Cognitive Architecture: Theoretical framework containing a set of relatively independent core constraints that are relatively constant across tasks and time

Cognitive Model: Any external representation of mental states

Usability: In a general ergonomic sense, it is a product’s fitness for purpose

Quality in Use: User’s impression on a software product’s quality

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