PPIG 2001 - 13th Annual Workshop
Cognitive Dimensions Profiles: A Cautionary Tale
Carol Britton, Maria Kutar
Abstract: The cognitive dimensions framework is a useful tool with which the usability of information artefacts may be evaluated. The framework allows a cognitive dimensions analysis of an artefact to be created to evaluate the artefact in a particular setting. In order to assess the usability of the artefact it is necessary to consider the analysis in the light of a cognitive dimensions profile which shows the desiability of each dimension for a specific activity, such as incrementation or modification. Profiles may use a subset of the thirteen dimensions. We present the results of two studies in which the cognitive dimensions framework was used to evaluate intelligibility of specification notations. In the first of these a profile was created which used only a subset of the dimensions. In the second study, two cognitive dimensions analyses were compared, which had examined the notations under consideration with respect to all of the dimensions. The results of the second study indicate that if only a subset of the dimensions is used in the creation of a profile important aspects may be overlooked.