Publication: The Mechanics of Collaboration: Developing Low Cost Usability Evaluation Methods for Shared Workspaces

We introduce a conceptual framework that articulates the mechanics of collaboration for shared-workspace groupware: the low level actions and interactions that must be carried out to complete a task in a shared manner. These include communication, coordination, planning, monitoring, assistance, and protection. The framework also includes three general measures of these mechanics: effectiveness, efficiency, and satisfaction. The underlying idea of the framework is that some usability problems in groupware systems are not inherently tied to the social context in which the system is used, but rather are a result of poor support for the basic activities of collaborative work in shared spaces. We believe that existing low-cost evaluation methods— heuristic evaluation, walkthroughs, user observations and questionnaires—can be modified to include this framework in a way that helps a groupware evaluator uncover these usability problems.

Downloads

PDF

Participants

Carl Gutwin
University of Saskatchewan
Saul Greenberg
University of Calgary

Projects

Evaluating Groupware Usability
Many organizations, particularly in the design and manufacturing sectors, are becoming increasingly distributed.

Citation

Gutwin, C., Greenberg, S. 2000. The Mechanics of Collaboration: Developing Low Cost Usability Evaluation Methods for Shared Workspaces. In Proceedings of IEEE Workshop on Enabling Technologies - Infrastructure for Collaborative Enterprises, 116-121.

BibTeX

@inproceedings {mechanics-wetice00,
author= {Carl Gutwin and Saul Greenberg},
title= {The Mechanics of Collaboration: Developing Low Cost Usability Evaluation Methods for Shared Workspaces},
booktitle= {Proceedings of IEEE Workshop on Enabling Technologies - Infrastructure for Collaborative Enterprises},
year= {2000},
pages= {116-121}
}