Week 2 of User Centered Design

In this subject, the lecturer already distributed the assignment and project to us. The assignment is about designing a gift box, while project is to design a computer lab.

In this week, we first introduced what is user centered design. It is driven by requirements and represents the artifact. We introduced about system development process involved.

Today, we are introduced an quite interesting stuff, MHP, model human processor. It take out how the human processor interact like a system. A lot of theory came out to study MHP.

In MHP, there are three processors involved, cognitive processor, perceptual processor, motor processor. Cognitive processor is how a person think. Perceptual processor is our sense, for example see or hear. In definition, it provides the basic of our knowledge about the surrounding world through the senses.. Motor processor is what output done, for example finger. It seem taking input and output concept on the human system. Input is sense for what we see or what we hear, and output is transferred for storage, for example sound storage on the computer. Each systems has its own memory and processor, for memory it includes storage capacity and decay time (after learnt something and forget it).


Let me summarizes how was the structure of the MHP, Model Human Processor, which theorized by Card. Moran & Newell ’83.


We have working memory which kept memory one or two seconds. However, short-term memory that can kept longer time but will also forget it when it is non-used. Long-term memory is about our birthday, family name that will kept forever.

So, we consists of a number of systems that are relatively independent as regards duration and function, there are Sensory Memory, Short-term memory, and Long-term memory.

Long-term memory has contents of declarative memory and procedural memory. Declarative memory is about concrete information, personal experiences. Procedural memory is some skills, or executable procedures.

Our brain stores long term information by growing additional synapses between neurons (Kandel, E.R., 2001). One argues that brain has a maximum capacity of 100-T-Byte since our brain has approximately 1015 synapses.

Declarative memory has two major subdivision, episodic memory (refers to memory for specific events in time) and semantic memory (refers to knowledge about the external world, such as the function of a pencil). Procedural memory that refers to the use of objects or movements of the body, such as how exactly to use a pencil. (Refer: THE BRAIN FROM TOP TO BOTTOM)

Long-term memory is stored, but not easy to retrieve it. Since we recall it by clues. In design phases, we encouraged design based on recognition instead of recall. An example stated that whatever things in command (recall), but if something located in menu (we only need to recognize it).

Short-term memory comprises the activated sections of LTM called chunks. It holds intermediate products of thinking and representations produced by perceptual system. It will decay caused by time, and also interference, that meant that are difficult to recall if other similar items, activated chunks in memory. Searching in short-term memory is rapid but the information disappears rapidly and can not be retrieved unless stored in LTM.

Sensory memory is something information not meaningful, called raw data.

Lastly, we learnt about what is the Gestalt Principles. The important concept of this is concerned with how we see patterns in visual images. Our mind keen to perceive as much of information out of incomplete elements.

Gestalt psychology (also Gestalt of the Berlin School) is a theory of mind and brain that proposes that the operational principle of the brain is holistic, parallel, and analog, with self-organizing tendencies; or, that the whole is different from the sum of its parts. (From wikipedia definition)


Law of Similarity: as we can see a two different horizontal lines, since the horizontal lines are filled with white colours and black colours circles. Our eyes perceived to group similar things together.


Law of Closure: Since the image is not fully drawn but we will perceived it as a full image, for example we see a circle on the left and a rectangle on the right.


Law of Proximity


That’s all for my study, I do a little revision and find some reference to support me to learn it well. After finding reference, I knew that it is provided in psychology. But in this subject we only study a simple concept. But I think if has time provided I need to study more about that to come out a better design for my projects.

Information Processing Model

Information Processing Model (Taken from:http://www.nwlink.com/~donclark/hrd/learning/memory.html)


1. Kandel, E.R. (2001). "The molecular biology of memory storage: A dialogue between gene and synapses". Science 294 (5544): 1030–1038. doi:10.1126/science.1067020. PMID 11691980.


Author: fyhao

Jebsen & Jessen Comms Singapore INTI University College Bsc (Hon) of Computer Science, Coventry University

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