Computer Laboratory

Cognitive Dimensions of Notations

Alan Blackwell

Thomas Green’s “Cognitive Dimensions of Notations” framework for studying the usability of notational systems, and guiding the designers of alternative notations, is the subject of continued development and dissemination. Alan Blackwell’s involvement with the framework includes maintaining the online Cognitive Dimensions archive, teaching tutorials on Cognitive Dimensions at international conferences, and co-authoring a textbook chapter on Cognitive Dimensions.

Current research includes i) the development of a practitioner guidebook, in similar style to Christopher Alexander’s architectural research on pattern languages (but not so similar to CS usage of the term), ii) the study of notation use by musicians and choreographers (partly funded by the Arts Council of England and Arts and Humanities Research Board), and iii) the development of abstract approaches to the development of tangible user interfaces, based on analysis of the notational properties of physical objects.