Tuesday 20 November 2007

XPDay 2007: Keynote: Cheek-to-Cheek: why Co-Located Collaboration Persists - Yvonne Rogers

Video conferencing vs collocated

  • can’t talk privately to others
  • what happens after the meeting is almost or more important that during

HP Labs — mututally immersive mobile videopresence…

  • Live video of the front and sides of the user’s head
  • Mounted on a mobile robotic trolley


  • Situation awareness — aware of what’s going on around you
  • Non-verbal communication v. important to control the flow
  • Research shows that it’s easier to switch between physical & digital artifacts when face to face

Research over the last few years looking to facilitate face to face communication

eSpace — interactions between (travel) agents & customers

  • customer appears to be understanding and nodding, but really isn’t getting anything
  • a lot of translation going on from information for agent and information for customer _(hey, that’s kinda what Kizoom does :-)-
  • changed the workspace to be a side-by-side interaction with three screens
    • reduced social awkwardness
    • both looked at the screen and occasionally had eye contact
    • both took part in creating the itineraries

Theoretical approaches for supporting collocated teams

Multiple entry points

  • when each person has their own paper and pen, it becomes easy for people to share
  • when there’s only one pad, people fight over the sole entry point
  • also at whiteboards — single entry point is the marker
  • used mitsubishi diamondtouch + diamondspin s/w: touch-sensitive display table to provide shared workspace with multiple entry points
    • saw lots of turn taking and “turn inviting”
    • also people who were normally shy could take part more with the physical tasks

Distributed cognition

  • traditional approaches to cognition talk about what goes on within a single person’s head
  • distributed approach takes the system at large — lots of people with input to the group and output from them
  • distrib. cog. tries to chart:
    • where the overlaps in knowledge are
    • levels of access to information
  • this is the approach used by Helen Sharp (Yvonne is now working with her at OU)
  • Yvonne shows picture of Kizoom’s bug wall and talks about how central it was to our environment
    • (in fact this was probably a breakdown since it just filled up and didn’t get addressed…)
  • large interactive surfaces:
    • OU waiting for MS Surface (due in November, but now arriving next summer)
    • reactable — physical interaction with music software

Dynamo — collocated people sharing & showing digital content

  • shared screen with multiple mice & other devices
  • can carve out sections of the screen and protect them against others
    • can then grant and revoke access to other individual users
  • can seal parcels and leave for other users
  • deployed into a 6th form classroom
    • interaction tended to be a few people using it and others watching as an audience
  • not yet deployed into a software company, but if you want it, let Yvonne know

Conclusion & Q&A

Collocated teams will always work better than distributed teams

  • but no quantifiable effects here

What’s the value of these technologies over index cards?

  • Helen’s research shows that cards have great value that won’t go away
  • if developing a product that requires you to interact with digital content, then this tech gives an advantage
    • especially if making connections
  • people overlook emails and other digital content — posting it on a public space makes people take notice (honeypot effect — they all gather round)

What happens with larger groups?

  • Yvonne’s research is mostly with groups of 2-3
  • When groups get to 6-7 then group segments and division of labour sets in
    • “I’m working on this bit and you can work on that”

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