Tabletop workspace territories

Territoriality in collaborative tabletop workspaces by Stacey D. Scott, M. Sheelagh T. Carpendale and Kori M. Inkpen, Proceeding of the 2004 ACM conference on Computer supported cooperative work.

Researchers seeking alternatives to traditional desktop computers have begun exploring the potential collaborative benefits of digital tabletop displays. However, there are still many open issues related to the design of collaborative tabletop interfaces, such as whether these systems should automatically orient workspace items or enforce ownership of workspace content. Understanding the natural interaction practices that people use during tabletop collaboration with traditional media (e.g., pen and paper) can help to address these issues. Interfaces that are modeled on these practices will have the additional advantage of supporting the interaction skills people have developed over years of collaborating at traditional tables. To gain a deeper understanding of these interaction practices we conducted two observational studies of traditional tabletop collaboration in both casual and formal settings. Our results reveal that collaborators use three types of tabletop territories to help coordinate their interactions within the shared tabletop workspace: personal, group, and storage territories. Findings from a spatial analysis of collaborators' tabletop interactions reveal important properties of these tabletop territories. In order to provide a comprehensive picture of the role of tabletop territoriality in collaboration, we conclude with a synthesis of our findings and previous research findings and with several relevant design implications.

Why do I blog this? what I like is the whole process of studying the activity and figuring out guidelines about design implications. The analysis of the tabletop territories is interesting, using this sort of cues (as dewcribed in the picture below):

their tabletop activity was transcribed from the video data. Transcripts included all tabletop actions, the initiator of each action, the location of each action, the location of each participant, and any conversation related to the tabletop actions. To facilitate our analysis, the tabletop workspace was divided into 16 directional zones, and 4 radial zones , then we coded the transcripts for:

  • the directional zone of each tabletop action,
  • the radial zone of each tabletop action, and
  • the direction zone of each participant at the table.