, Volume 5, Issue 4, pp 363-379
Date: 14 Dec 2006

Decision and stress: cognition and e-accessibility in the information workplace

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Abstract

Cognitive abilities and disabilities are increasingly important in today’s information-based workplace, particularly in relation to the accessibility of advanced information society technologies. As this paper discusses, new technologies can create problems for human decision making, stress levels, general cognition and e-accessibility. Yet it is not easy to identify possible new e-accessibility solutions to these problems. This is where theories of cognitive aspects of e-accessibility could be useful to generate solutions to these problems of HCI in general and of accessibility in particular. The purpose of this paper is to report a new generative theory (called Simplex 2), provide validating evidence for it from two meta-analyses and demonstrate a proof of concept through the application of Simplex to the solution of HCI problems. Two qualitative meta-analyses are reported for two different samples (N 1 = 90 and N 2 = 100) of relevant and contemporary conference papers. Whilst a few more concepts were identified, only nine cognitive concepts emerged from both analyses, validating the predictions of Simplex, which is also used for cognitive user modeling. Given the sample sizes and the successful replication, it is clear that these nine factors feature prominently in current research and practice in universal access and inclusive design. Further support for the value of this theory is found in a consideration of the requirements of older adult users and from studies of cognitive overload and augmentation. Uses of Simplex include the evaluation of existing systems, assessment of user requirements, system development in combination with models of task, context of use and technology platform and through the concepts of cognitive augmentation and overload to identify future opportunities for new, accessible, cognitive solutions. A proof of concept of Simplex is demonstrated by the treatment of HCI accessibility problems and as a generative theory for the development of new solutions.