ShareIT: A theoretical and empirical investigation of co-located collaborative activities using shareable interfaces

Lead Research Organisation: Open University
Department Name: Computing

Abstract

Technology now provides us with new ways of helping people to work together in small groups. Shareable interfaces (SIs) are combinations of displays and devices that allow several people in the same place to have their own input (e.g. multiple mice controlling the same display) and to interact at the same time on a shared task (e.g. electronic whiteboards). Input is not restricted to mice or keyboards: users might point, gesture, or use special pens or tokens to have input to a shared display. SIs, it is claimed, will have huge benefits for small groups working together. There are many piecemeal studies of how specific tools can help group work. However, there is no overall guidance on the best way to design these interfaces and no consistent evidence directly comparing the collaborative benefits of different designs for different tasks and different users. For example, a tabletop surface with people sitting around it can be more democratic and support more equal input than a vertical screen where one person has privileged access to control, while a multi-user game that provides some control of turn-taking may help children with language problems to participate more fully.This proposal aims to provide- an initial theoretical framework to explain what design features of SIs will promote collaboration- evidence directly comparing the effects of different SIs on the same task. We will systematically compare 3 major factors affecting design: SI type, task type and user group.We will study 4 types of SI covering the common range of ways they are used (tangible, graphic, multiple or single input devices), 4 types of task (involving creative planning, negotiating or reaching a solution to an intellectual problem) and three different user groups (adults, typically developing children and young people with communication difficulties). Truly collaborative work requires understanding other people's points of view. Little attention has been paid to differences between users in this understanding, so interfaces designed for adults may be provided with little modification for young children, or for people with special needs such as autism, whose ability to collaborate will be affected by cognitive and developmental factors. High-tech shareable interfaces are often very popular and initially appealing for users, but any benefits for collaboration can be lost if we do not understand what different features of SIs might provide and how they are best fitted to the needs of particular groups of users.We will run 6 studies assessing the collaborative behaviour of small groups of 3 people, using the different SIs for each type of task with different user groups. We will assess conversation and non-verbal behaviour (e.g. gestures and attention sharing, which we know are important in negotiation, learning and collaboration), and we will study how people coordinate their behaviour with that of others, and how they interact with the technology.The results of our work will produce initial guidelines for designers of SIs and evidence of the effects on group working for people who want to use SIs for different groups in work and educational settings. The results will help designers, educators and work organisers to choose resources more wisely and cost-effectively for small group settings.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description I discovered how people in different professions from being a chef, wine-maker and artist, use digital technology to sustain their creativity. The findings from in depth ethnographic research led to the publication of a booklet on the secrets of creative people - intended for non-academic audiences which has been widely disseminated.

People who are retired are often much smarter than they are given credit for and do not like to always be thought of as needing assistive technology. Many are fit and healthy and want to give back to society their knowledge and wisdom.

Electronic toolkits can also encourage different ways of learning to make, create and code. Several were tried out with groups of older people. I then developed codeme in conjunction with researchers at the BBC intended to be used by all age groups.
Exploitation Route They could build new toolkits that could be used by people of all ages to invent the future - coming up with quite different ideas than existing designers currently do. The key is to engage with groups and the community in ways that encourages new ways of thinking. Our technologies and toolkits are one step towards this.
Sectors Creative Economy,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software)

URL https://www.ucl.ac.uk/maths/steven-bishop/projects/dream_fellowship/dream_fellows/yvonne_rogers
 
Description The findings have been used to inspire the design and development of toolkits for learning about creativity and coding. A project with the BBC followed in which we worked on the design of a toolkit for children to learn about the Internet of Things. See codeme.io
First Year Of Impact 2012
Sector Creative Economy,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Education
Impact Types Cultural

 
Description AHRC
Amount £199,699 (GBP)
Funding ID AH/F011881/1 
Organisation Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start  
 
Description AHRC
Amount £199,699 (GBP)
Funding ID AH/F011881/1 
Organisation Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start  
 
Description EPSRC
Amount £229,558 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/H022589/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start  
 
Description EPSRC
Amount £229,558 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/H022589/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start  
 
Description EPSRC
Amount £251,000 (GBP)
Funding ID XC/09/043/YR 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start