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CommunityCommands: Command Recommendations for Software Applications

November 22, 2009

Actually, this should be one of my recent “Paper of the Month” posts but I’m not really fond of that title and the structure of my past posts any more. I’m going to keep on presenting new papers, which I find interesting and worthwhile, in a more informal style from now on (in software terms: I’ve removed the hardcoded “Paper of the Month” prefix to allow myself for more flexibility regarding posting frequency ;)

Here’s the paper:
Matejka, J., Li, W., Grossman, T., Fitzmaurice, G. (2009) CommunityCommands: Command Recommendations for Software Applications. UIST 2009 Conference Proceedings: ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology, pp. 193-202.

The authors show how their refined collaborative filtering system can generate command recommendations for software applications, a technique that can be valuable for applications with large communities. When the collective intelligence of all users of an application is utilised, each user can be provided with a customised list of recommendations and pointed towards actions that are related to the current task and haven’t been discovered yet.
Integrating such functionality in a sophisticated and unobtrusive way is what this paper is about (with unobtrusive meaning: quite the opposite of the much criticised “Clippy” agent in Microsoft Office). Considering that lots of applications get more features over time and introduce new task workflows, recommender systems can be built in to increase the users’ awareness of prior unused areas and commands – all by taking advantage of the combined, evolving smartness of the entire user base.

Filed under: HCI, Reading, Software Development

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