Information-rich user embodiment in groupware
Stach, Tadeusz Benedict
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Embodiments are virtual personifications of the user in real-time distributed groupware. Many embodiments in groupware are simple abstract 2D representations such as avatars and telepointers. Although current user embodiment techniques can reveal information related to position and orientation, they show far less than what is available in a face-to-face situation, and as a result, collaboration can become more difficult. The problem addressed in this research is that it is difficult for groupware users to recognize and characterize other participants using only their embodiments. The solution explored in this thesis is to provide more information about groupware users by enriching their embodiment. This scheme encodes state and context variables as visual augmentations on the embodiment. Providing information about characteristics such as skill, expertise, and experience can be valuable for collaboration; increasing the information in visual embodiments makes it easier and more natural for collaborators to recognize and characterize others, and thus coordinate activity, simplify communication, and find collaborators. Rich embodiments were tested in three separate experiments. The first experiment showed that users are able to recall a large number of variables displayed on embodiments, and are able to accurately determine the values of those variables. The second study showed that rich embodiments are useful in terms of collaboration and interaction in an actual groupware context – a multiplayer game. The final study further examined information-rich embodiment in a shared drawing task, and further revealed the potential of increasing awareness using embodiment.
DegreeMaster of Science (M.Sc.)
CommitteeMould, David; Eramian, Mark G.; Elias, Lorin J.
Copyright DateDecember 2006