Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Reaction: Distributed Cognition as a Theoretical Framework for Information Visualization

The authors make a very clear statement that this paper is not to support or oppose the two different theories which are being taken into consideration but to provide an explanation to the reader that how the human perception and cognition work under the traditional model has been inadequate in informing InfoVis as a design principle. I believe this is one of the major reasons why the authors have argued that DCog perspective can provide a substantial framework for InfoVis.

It is important to note that a humans cognitive understanding is not only dependent on what he or she sees but is also dependent on the various environment factors or the artifacts which influence our understanding. I feel that this is very appropriate because a theory is judged by its ability to do work in the real world and when a theory includes artifacts from the real world, it makes the best effort in providing a good description as close as possible to reality.

I am impressed by with the how the authors have shown the importance of DCog to InfoVis by means of a real life example scenario. This certainly adds value to the paper and helps the reader relate the material presented in the paper to real life objects. Detailed description of DCog and providing sufficient material to explain its framework and at the same time constantly making an effort to show how the framework would provide theoretical foundation of InfoVis sticks to the objectives of the paper.

I, however would like to see more examples of how the DCog perspective would be better when compared to the traditional perspective as not always can one theory be used as a substitute in place of another. The authors make a point in the end that this is just a first step towards providing a strong framework for InfoVis and there is a lot more to be done before we can use the DCog framework as a standard.