NEGOTIATING ACTIVITY IN WORKING GROUPS

An investigation demonstrating how design can mediate the relationships among people in a shared task focused around language and communication. When collaborating on a task, language is a fundamental tool to communicate about the task and common goals. Novices and experts within the collaboration must establish spheres of activity in order to establish trust and move through the collaboration.

This investigation explored visualizing workflow activity through the design and interface of collaborative file structures. File storage was explored as collaborative timelines, where activity was visualized in realtime.

File activity sequence as it would occur on an interactive table.

WHEN COLLABORATORS ARE WORKING IN DIFFERENT TIMES AND PLACES, HOW CAN A DESIGN SYSTEM HELP ESTABLISH TRUST AND FACILITATE COMMUNICATION?

This is a file activity system indicating levels of activity and the author of the activity. The goal of the system is to help establish trust through visually representing workflow, reducing miscommunication. For exploration purposes, the system was developed on an interactive table. What are the gestures and behaviors of the user when work is conducted on an interactive table? How does collaboration evolve when work moves off the desktop or laptop?

  Each collaborator has an individual timeline signified through color; activity is signified through saturation.

Each collaborator has an individual timeline signified through color; activity is signified through saturation.

  Users can swipe right to pull out more information or individual timelines.

Users can swipe right to pull out more information or individual timelines.

  Color bars on the timelines indicate types of activity. Blue indicates a new file. Grey indicates a modified file. White indicates an open file. When a file is open it will show up in the timeline.

Color bars on the timelines indicate types of activity. Blue indicates a new file. Grey indicates a modified file. White indicates an open file. When a file is open it will show up in the timeline.

  Users can drag out files to their active space.

Users can drag out files to their active space.

  To see a co-worker's space, a user can swipe over, establishing trust.

To see a co-worker's space, a user can swipe over, establishing trust.

The system can be viewed as a boundary object as described by Susan Leigh Star and James R. Griesemer "Boundary objects are objects which are both plastic enough to adapt to local needs and constraints of the several parties employing them, yet robust enough to maintain a common identity across sites. They are weakly structured in common use, and become strongly structured in individual-site use. They may be abstract or concrete. They have different meanings in different social worlds but their structure is common enough to more than one world to make them recognizable, a means of translation. The creation and management of boundary objects is key in developing and maintaining coherence across intersecting social worlds."

 
 

HOW DOES THE CULTURAL FLUENCY OF A WORKER AFFECT BEHAVIOR AND THEREBY COMMUNICATION IN THE WORKPLACE?

During the decision-making process collaborators must weigh risks and decide values. Clear communication and trust are imperative throughout this process.