All Tutorials will be held on Thursday, November 3, 2011, at the Technology Square Research Building (TSRB) on the Georgia Tech campus. More information and directions can be found here.

Tutorial 1

Designing with Human Memory in Mind

Tom Hewett

Full day tutorial (TSRB Room 125)


The focus of this tutorial is on introducing some theoretical and practical aspects of how people remember information and the events of their lives. The presentation is highly interactive and relies upon “minds-on” activities supplemented with mini-lectures. Many demonstrations and exercises illustrate different aspects of the workings of long-term memory, of short-term memory, and of the relationships between them. In this tutorial you will gain insights about how to take advantage of some of these capabilities in designing for your most important interaction component, the human mind. You will gain insights into criteria for evaluation of computer-based cognitive support tools, etc. for their compatibility with how human memory actually works. You will also gain insights into how to take personal advantage of improving these capabilities. Extended examples and thought questions in the notes provide illustrations of how the knowledge gained might be applied to design and evaluation of cognitive support systems or memorable information structures. While many of the examples are based on computing device design ideas, they have applicability to the design of many different artifacts for human use. The approach to the material is reflective and the course is not intended for the person seeking “instant” or pre-packaged solutions for the problems of this week’s project.


Tom Hewett is Professor of Psychology and Computer Science at Drexel University where for over 30 years he has taught courses on Cognitive Psychology, Psychology of Human Computer Interaction, and Problem Solving and Creativity. Tom has offered variants of this tutorial to hundreds of interaction designers at conferences and in-house training sessions. He has several times taught a week-long course on Human Problem Solving for the User System Interaction program at the Technical University of Eindhoven, The Netherlands. In addition, he has been visiting fellow, visiting professor or visiting researcher at the University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria; Tampere University, Tampere, Finland; Twente University, Hengelo, The Netherlands; Loughborough University, Loughborough, UK; The University of the Aegean, Syros, Greece; and the University of Technology, Sydney, Australia. Tom is a published courseware author and has worked on the development and evaluation of several interactive computing projects, including a hypertext guidebook, instructional computing software and scientific problem solving environments. Some of the his recent research has involved collaborating with a team of researchers working on enabling and facilitating mathematical problem solving using mobile devices. Another project involved observing digital artists at work. Other recent projects have involved field trials evaluation of use and effectiveness of software tools designed to support Emergency Response Teams using mobile devices.