Interaction with Information II: Annotation and Reflection

The human mind works in a non linear way. Our minds process and multi-task information from various senses. When we analyze, we try to connect things together. This gives much better understanding of the context and gives perspective to the thought but when we read in a linear fashion we are curbing our abilities to explore. This blog is about how the issues of linear learning is being tackled and shows how users are given power to choose between multiple routes to learn and interpret content in the way they learn best.

Designers prefer paper prototyping because its convenient ,takes very little time and they perform multiple iterations. Digital learning materials have been more of a one way learning rather than an interaction with the user. Users are not able to take notes on screen as easily as they used to on paper. With the invention of touch screen and multi tabs uses can reference different content but it still does feel as easy as writing on paper. The ART proposed by Kumiyo Nakakoji is for writing and is based on design style — where there is very less initial commitment. ART support writing as design and helps position related content to reading on screen.

Catherine C. Marshall, when at PARC studied about annotations on old text books, she was able to find patterns to help in hypertext annotations. Understanding levels of detail and re segmenting them gives a clear picture on the context of topic. Andruid Kerne and his team at Texas A&M University researched on using rich bookmarks.Studies suggested that using additional information can help users learn and understand better. Users curated- collected and classified information and saved rich bookmarks which contained this related content, studies showed that this system helped in reflection in action ,that is it helped turn what they learnt into action. Further analysis showed reflection in curation by helping users collect related and learn information in a similar manner. Quantifiable results showed that users better think and understand when using rich bookmarks.

Overall, the three papers are inter related in such a way that when readers go through digital material, The ART system helps placing connected content together, this can be curated as rich bookmarks which can help with organizing content for better understanding. This would intern help reflection-in-action and help in reflection-in-curation Hypertexts can be used to connect between related topics.

Application of these concepts:

When creating applications I would always think about what the user thinks at each phase of the user journey and see to it that at each milestone point, provide options for users to perform tasks they intend to perform. Keeping the home screen accessible from any part of the application and having ways to access commonly used tasks on this screen is a good start.


Marshall, C. Toward an ecology of hypertext annotation, Proc ACM Hypertext 1998

Kumiyo Nakakoji, Yasuhiro Yamamoto, Shingo Takada, and Brent N. Reeves. Two-dimensional spatial positioning as a means for reflection in design, Proc DIS 2000

Webb, A., Kerne, A., Promoting reflection and interpretation in education: curating rich bookmarks as information composition, Proc ACM Creativity and Cognition, 2013