Non-obvious – a tool for reflection

Non-obvious is a proof-of-concept tool for reflection (focused thinking on a subject). The tool tests a theory that reflective thought is any thought that avoids the automated first assumptions on a given theme.  To reach such reflective thoughts, the program asks for obvious feature of a theme, and then asks to take the next step and proceed from that obvious thought to reflection of the obvious feature. By naming the first features of a theme as obvious, the reflectioner is directed to deeper and more interesting thoughts: the non-obvious ones. Non-obvious tries to create a pleasant reflection environment by using large background images and using an image-analysing algorithm to adjust the colors to fit the image.

Because Non-obvious can adjust its look to selected background-image, we see that the reflection tool could be used also for collaborative reflection and feedback in exhibition spaces. The background image should be the image of the artefact under discussion or other image relevant to displayed artefact.

Functionalities and /or technical level

Non-obvious guides the flow of reflection by automatically starting a new, deepening reflection note when the user ends a paragraph. Making equal level notes requires more effort from the user: this supports writing deepening reflections.

Current version of Non-obvious stores reflections only locally in browser’s LocalStorage -database. The tool can be tested at and the code is at Learning Layers SourceForge repository.

Screenshot(s) of the prototype(s)


Non-obvious; showing how reflection should proceed and a color theme automatically created from background image


License: Apache 2.0 license

Involved partners: AALTO

Contact person(s):


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