Diagrams 2008 will include two tutorials. Cognitive Dimensions of Notations is a two hour tutorial and will be held on September 20, from 9:00 until 11:00. Getting Started with Sketch Tools is a 1 ½ hour tutorial and will also be held on September 20, starting at 11:30.

Cognitive Dimensions of Notations by Alan Blackwell

The Cognitive Dimensions of Notations (CDs) framework is the world's leading approach to understanding the usability of programming tools. It provides an analytic framework and design vocabulary that can be used to evaluate and improve, not only programming languages, but a wide variety of environments and notations for design, problem-solving, and creative work. It was originally proposed by Thomas Green in 1989, laid out in detail by Green and Marian Petre in 1996, and has been the subject of more than 100 research publications since then.

Dr. Alan Blackwell is Reader in Interdisciplinary Design at Cambridge University. He has published extensively on CDs, including (as guest editor in 2006) a special issue of the Journal of Visual Languages and Computing and (with Thomas Green in 2003) a chapter dedicated to CDs in John Carroll's popular postgraduate HCI textbook. Blackwell consults regularly on applications of CDs, has been teaching a CDs course to Cambridge undergraduates for over ten years, and has presented conference tutorials on CDs on several occasions, including previously at VL/HCC.

Getting started with sketch tools: A Tutorial on Sketch Recognition Tools by Beryl Plimmer and Tracy Hammond

Computer-based sketch tools provide a simple and effective interface for recording and exploring preliminary diagrams. This tutorial provides an overview of sketch tool requirements and architectures. There are two critical components of a sketch tool, the user interface and the recognition engine. The user interface of a sketch tool is particularly challenging, the goal is to minimise user distractions yet provide powerful and intuitive support. To do this accurate recognition is required. Recognition of hand-drawn diagrams requires recognition of the basic diagram components (rectangles, lines, writing etc) and the diagram semantics, for example which things belong together.

Beryl Plimmer and Tracy Hammond are leaders in research of sketch tools for diagramming. Both have developed sketch toolkits that provide the software architecture for further exploration of this interesting domain. In this tutorial they explain the motivation behind sketch tools and then cover the software requirements necessary for using these sketch tools in detail, illustrating these with examples from their own endeavours.