I'll be at HCI 2005 In Las Vegas to present a poster abou my PhD thesis. The short paper might be downloaded here. It's mostly the rough description of my first experiments' results.
A Mobile Game to Explore the Use of Location Awareness on Collaboration by Nicolas Nova, Fabien Girardin and Pierre Dillenbourg
This contribution presents an ongoing study focused on how location awareness feature modifies collaboration in the context of mobile computing. First it describes the environment we designed and implemented in the form of a mobile game called CatchBob!. This application running on TabletPCs engages groups of three participants in a collaborative treasure hunt over our campus. The game is used as a platform to run field experiments to get empirical results about how information concerning partners’ whereabouts impact collaborative processes. We are interested in processes such as division of labor, the inferences made by participants about others activities and the building of a shared understanding of the situation. Players can communicate by drawing information on the TabletPC that displays a campus map. Those drawings are broadcasted to each participant. Finding the object was achieved through a proximity sensor that indicates how close the user was from the virtual object. Collaboration among the peers lies in the fact that they had to surround the object with a triangle formed by their positions. We tested two experimental conditions. In one condition, users could see their partners’ positions. In the other condition, participants were not given location-awareness. This poster presents the game, how it enables us achieving our goals and specifies which kinds of data we are able to extract. We then report the results of a study we conducted. According to our ongoing experiment, there seems to be no differences between the two conditions with regard to the task performance. However, players without the location awareness indications have a better representation of their partners’ paths. This is due to the fact that they annotated more the shared map: positions indications (to compensate the absence of location-awareness) but also directions and strategy messages.