Integration Visualization Techniques in Groupware Interfaces
Mohamed Daassi (University of Grenoble, France), Chaouki Daassi (University of Grenoble, France) and Marc Favier (University of Grenoble, France)
Copyright: © 2006
Problems attributed to uncertainty and a lack of visibility about others’ activities and behaviors have led designers of multi-user interfaces to develop so-called awareness mechanisms (Dourish & Bellotti, 1992). The importance of maintaining awareness in the virtual environment has been outlined in many studies in CSCW and Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) research areas. According to Gutwin, Greenberg and Roseman (1996), awareness reduces the effort needed to coordinate tasks and resources by providing a context in which to interpret utterances and to anticipate others’ actions. For many years, a significant effort was devoted to explore how computer-based technologies might facilitate some kinds of awareness among and between interdependent actors. These studies tried to solve technical problems related to providing awareness through multi-user interfaces. Unfortunately, however, the expected benefits from these technologies never materialized (Schmidt, 2002). This article focuses on the design of visualization techniques for collective awareness. It proposes a design approach of visualization techniques centered on the semantic of collective awareness and human characteristics (ergonomic design). The article is organized as follows: First, we present users’ needs when interacting through multi-user interfaces. Second, we give an overview of the notion of awareness by reviewing its categories. Third, we present an ergonomic design approach of awareness visualization techniques. We illustrate our approach with examples of techniques from literature and show how these techniques support collective awareness. Finally, we conclude with some future directions.