CPSC 689/602--Spring 1997
Computer-Supported Cooperative Work


Paper Report

Title: Design For Conversation : Lessons From Cognoter
Authors: Deborah G Tatar, Gregg Foster, Daniel G Bobrow
Citation: International Journey Of Man Machine Studies 34(2)pp. 185-209
Reprinted in: Baecker, R.M., Readings in Groupware and Computer-Supported Cooperative Work 1993, pp. 596-608


The paper describes the unexpected communicative breakdowns which the users encountered when using the tools.

When the people from the outside world who had a fair knowledge of computers were asked to use the software of the Cognoter and upon the feedback received the following complaints which initiated the improvement of the Cognoter.

The first complaint was that the users couldn’t specifically see the shared screen and hence the usage of the software was not serving the purpose.

The second complaint was that of the reference which people were using to refer to a lot of contexts in the software which not being explicit were creating problems for the users.

The complaints resulted into models of conversation which are the

The Interactive Model
The Parcel Post Model

There are some problems which are faced if the above models are applied which are listed below

These problems were to some extent solved when the Cnoter a extended version of Cognoter was introduced. It involved the following changes. Some of the issues which were raised in the class was that the paper gave the impression that the software developers had developed a software in their own small world and had got used to a lot of features in the software but when people from the outer environment were called upon they were not given an adequate understanding of the system which played a very crucial role in coming up with the issued presented above.


Report prepared by: Kushal M Agrawal Email: kushala@cs.tamu.edu
Discussion date: March 17, 1997            Report date: March 19, 1997