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Response to [Chunking and phrasing …] by Buxton

One Sentence

The author believes that user interfaces can be improved by using “gesture-based phrasing to chunk the dialogue into units of meaningful to the application”.

Key Points

  • In order to make some headway in this direction, we might best reformulate the problem as “How can we accelerate the process whereby novices begin to perform like experts?”
  • Experts and novices differ in the coarseness of granularity with which they view the constituent elements of a particular problem or task.
  • The acquisition of skills, therefore, can be characterized by developing an ability to perform ever-larger chunks of a problem automatically.
  • … this can be achieved by engineering the pragmatics of the human-computer dialogue to reinforce the chunking that we believe would used by an expert working in the domain. Another way of stating this is that the dialogue structure, especially the pragmatics, can be engineered so as to maximize compatibility with the problem domain.
  • The “statement is initiated in a state of neutrality, is articulated by a continuous gesture, and upon closure, returns to neutral state where another phrase can be introduced by either party.”


  • “… the use of phrasing through kinesthetic gesture” -> how can this be used in other context?
  • “… when implemented as described, these sub-tasks all collapse into the single primitive add note” -> how to make subtasks invisible?
  • the idea of operating a mobile device as if it is a miniature of a powerful computer is not the most intriguing.

About Xiang 'Anthony' Chen

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