Interactive tables studies at COOP2006

One of the paper who struck me as interesting (and related to our lab's research) today at COOP2006 way this "Evaluating Interactive Workspaces as CSCW" by Maria Croné (Stockholm University, KTH). It was basically about 3 users studies. It involved small groups of students (3-6 persons, synchronous and co-located), who did their own tasks (collaborative course project, design of multimedia application, brainstorming sessions...) The needs for this kind of collaborative activity are simple: shared surface (visible to all) + private surface (paper or laptop) problems: moving content from shared to private, moving content between laptops.

An interactive workspace is defined as a combination of one or more large displays (shared surface), tools for moving data (dragging file icons on this "teamspace" windows, list of people to send the document) and tools for coordinating interactions between the different surfaces (move the computer cursors on the different surfaces, not allow simultaneaous typing) They conducted three studies (iLounge study 1, iLoungs study 2, Teamspace) that differs over the combination of large displays (screen) and smaller ones (laptops)

The research questions they addressed:

  • how and for what activities are the different work surfaces uses?
  • how is the interaction with different work surfaces coordinated?
  • how is the information trnasferred between work surfaces
  • What tools do groups use for their collaborative work? do they need a shared work surface and how do they achieved that? howe do they transfer information between laptops and between laptops and other work surfaces?

Some results: - good to have shared work surfaces that all group mmebers could interact with - need for individual input devices (so that you don't have a situation in which one student does all the typing) - need for private work surfaces - a more frequenty shifting between collaborative and individual work surfaces when your provide more private surfaces

Plus I like this piece:

The collaborative work of the groups consisted of a more frequent shifting between the different displays, which lead to an increased need for sending data between the different displays. This is also in line with the thoughts of Fisher and Dourish, that most everyday work is carried out using single-user applications for collaborative work, and that the best support would be to offer coordination tools instead of providing CSCW applications.

The main conclusion here was that the most efficient design is to provide a good combination of laptop computers and large interactive shared displays because of the flexibility it proposed.

Why do I blog this? this connects to research conducted at the lab about interactive tables usage, as well as the project we did in my Teaching Assistant duty. This study tend to go further from what we did about how the user experience of augmented furnitures.