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Incorporating human and machine interpretation of unavailability and rhythm awareness into the design of collaborative applications

 

Efficient coordination of collaboration requires sharing information about collaborators' current and future availability. We describe the usage of an awareness system called Awarenex that shared real-time awareness information to help coordinate activities at the current moment. We also developed a prototype called Lilsys that used sensors to gather additional awareness information that would help avoid disruptions when users are currently unavailable for interaction. Our experiences over time in designing and using prototypes that share awareness cues for current availability led us to identify temporal patterns that could help predict future reachability. Rhythm awareness is having a sense of regularly recurring temporal patterns that can help coordinate interactions among collaborators. Rhythm awareness is difficult to establish within distributed groups that are separated by distance and time zone. We describe rhythmic temporal patterns observed in activity data collected from users of the Awarenex prototype. Analyzing logs of Awarenex usage over time enabled us to construct a computational model of temporal patterns. We explored how to apply those patterns and model to predict future reachability among distributed team members. We discuss tradeoffs in the design of collaborative applications that rely on human- and machine-interpretation of rhythm awareness cues. We also conducted a design study that elicited reactions to a variety of end-user visualizations of rhythmic patterns and investigated how well our computational model characterized their everyday routines.

 
citation

Begole, J. ; Tang, J. C. Incorporating human and machine interpretation of unavailability and rhythm awareness into the design of collaborative applications. Human-Computer Interaction. 2007; 22 (1-2): 7-45.