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Sketching intelligent systems

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1 Author(s)
Hearst, M.A. ; California Univ., Berkeley, CA, USA

Looks at one aspect of the trend toward more natural forms of interaction: the use of sketch-based interfaces for the design of intelligent systems. The authors contend that current computer interfaces are too formal and precise for creative tasks such as design. When working out ideas and brainstorming, people often sketch their thoughts informally on paper and whiteboards. Sketches, by their very informality, invite collaboration and modification, but after sketches are done on paper they must be transferred to the computer for further processing. Why not use a computer for the sketching process itself? There is an inherent contradiction in today's sketching programs-users select graphical primitives from a palette, resulting in clean, precise-looking diagrams despite the fact that only a sketch was intended. This leads to a feeling of commitment to the sketch as originally formulated, as opposed to the invitation to adjust and change that is normally associated with sketches. By contrast, the authors describe sketch-based user interfaces that honor the informal nature of the sketch and allow users to switch easily and naturally between sketchy, informal prototypes and precise, formal reifications of designs. Sketches are used for the design of user interfaces, mechanical devices and Web pages, to retrieve images from a large collection and to specify parameters for simulations

Published in:

Intelligent Systems and their Applications, IEEE  (Volume:13 ,  Issue: 3 )