Saturday, April 28, 2012

A Cognitive Basis for Writing Software

Anyone really interested in the consequences of the cognitive model of writing for writing software, may also want to take a look at this PDF.

They suggest that writing "can be viewed as a complex process involving different cognitive modes" and propose a multi-modal application that corresponds to the different cognitive modes. The program has four different modes:
  1. network mode
  2. tree mode
  3. editor mode
  4. text mode
The network mode represents the exploratory phase, and offers clusters of ideas. The tree mode is essentially an outline, while the editor mode is simply an edit window for the concept under consideration and the text mode an editor for the document as a whole.

What I find amazing is how closely the picture corresponds to my setup of ConnectedText. (I must have read this paper before and it may have unconsciously influenced me).[1]

The order of the elements is, of course, not the same.

No further comment!

1. What corresponds to the editor and text modes is not visible at the same time, however. What I miss in scrivener and Ulysses is the network mode.


pohanginapete said...

Link doesnt' work? "can't find the server at"?

MK said...

Works for me. Just tried it again. It's study published by the United States Army Research Institute for the Behavioral and social Sciences. Perhaps it will not work outside the U.S.? I don't know.

MK said...

This is the full link:

It makes Preview pop up in Firefox on my Mac.

pohanginapete said...

Still doesn't work for me in FF, but I pasted the link into Chrome and got it. Thanks.

Bob Kemp said...

Very interesting. Are you familiar with Mike Sharples' work on the Writer's Assistant, another early '90s initiative with common aspects?

One of his papers is here -

- and I notice it cites this team

- Bob

MK said...

No, I wasn't, but the paper is very interesting.