Designing with the User in Mind a Cognitive Category Based Design Methodology

  • Joseph Kramer
  • Sunil Noronha
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 8520)


To design products and experiences that are highly intuitive and resonate with their target users the designer must have an accurate understanding of those users ‘mental models’. New research in cognitive science, in particular in the area of cognitive category theory, provides clues how to better elicit and apply mental models in design.   The resultant outcome is guaranteed to be more natural and understandable to its users. In this paper we will briefly review the cognitive science research and describe our resultant empirically grounded concept and definition of a ‘mental model’.  We then explain how we use the mental model and related design principles to build intuitive designs.


Mental model psychology cognitive category design method 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Norman, D.A.: The design of everyday things, 1st Basic paperback. Basic Books, New York (2002)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    van der Veer, G.C., del Carmen Puerta Melguizo, M.: The Human-computer Interaction Handbook. In: Jacko, J.A., Sears, A. (eds.), pp. 52–80. L. Erlbaum Associates Inc., Hillsdale (2003)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Mental Models and User Experience Design, (accessed: February 20, 2014)
  4. 4.
    Young, I.: Mental models: Aligning design strategy with human behavior. Rosenfeld Media, Brooklyn (2008)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Craik, K.J.W.: The nature of explanation. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge (1967)Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Johnson-Laird, P.N.: Mental Models. Harvard University Press (1983)Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Gentner, D., Stevens, A.L.: Mental Models. Psychology Press (1983)Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Lakoff, G., Johnson, M.: Philosophy in the flesh: The embodied mind and its challenge to Western thought. Basic Books, New York (1999)Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Eco, U., Santambrogio, M., Violi, P.: Meaning and Mental Representations. Indiana University Press (1988)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joseph Kramer
    • 1
  • Sunil Noronha
    • 2
  1. 1.IBM ResearchHawthorneUSA
  2. 2.Yahoo Inc.SunnyvaleUSA

Personalised recommendations