Midterm Exam, 12 May 2005, 12:30 - 1:45

It is highly preferable to use a blue book for your answers, but you may also write answers on this sheet, and some extra paper will be available. Be sure to write your name on every page you hand in! Each essay question has a short, correct answser; you may be penalized for overly wordy answers, and you will be penalized for illegible or incomprehensible answers.
  1. [21 pts] After each phrase write the letter of the phrase that most closely matches its meaning.

    phrase answer phrase
    1. interpretant   a. phrasing that decreases social force
    2. tacit knowledge    b. the act of speaking
    3. adjacency pair   c. meaning of a sign
    4. perceived affordance   d. related by law to its object
    5. mitigation     e. phrasing with audience in mind
    6. transparency   f. disappearance of the interface  
    7. iconic sign   g. two part discourse where 1st creates expectation for 2nd  
        h. having similar structure to what it represents
        i. utterance that accomplishes something
        j. visible possibility for action
        k. context of a sign
        l. pervasive presence of computing devices
        m. can do but cannot explain
        n. action that cannot be seen

  2. [9 pts] Explain the difference between indexical and iconic signs, and give an example of each, explaining why it is an example.
  3. [10 pts] Give a computer-based example of an adjacency pair and of a noticable absence, and then explain why they are examples.
  4. [20 pts] Give an example of socially constructively shared information, explain why it is an example, and explain why constructive sharing is important for the users in your example.
  5. [20 pts] Suppose the top level structure of a website has 6 topics, each with 6 subtopics, and assume each of the 7 sets of 6 nodes has a total priority ordering. Use semiotic morphisms to justify a representation of this structure using nested navigation bars, and to explain why this is better than using nested menus.
  6. [20 pts] Baseball scores are represented by minimal information on the park score board, by more detailed information in a newspaper display, and by very detailed information in a score card. Explain why it is useful for determining user priorities and values to have three such different representations of the same information source.