Publication: Support for Deictic Pointing in CVEs: Still Fragmented after All These Years?

Pointing gestures - particularly deictic references - are ubiquitous in face-to-face communication. However, deictic pointing can be much more difficult in collaborative virtual environments (CVEs) than in everyday life - early studies found that the 'fragmentation' caused by the environment greatly complicated object-based communication. In the fifteen years since these studies appeared, the technologies used in CVEs have improved substantially, and several techniques for improving pointing have been proposed or implemented. What these advances mean for the problems of fragmentation and deictic gesture, however, is not clear. To find out, we conducted a new observational study of deictic pointing in a CVE with several techniques that may reduce fragmentation: extra-wide and third-person views, precise control over an avatar's pointing arm, and visual enhancements such as object highlighting and laser pointing. Our study shows that although pointing has come a long way, problems of fragmentation still occur, and that visual and view enhancements can cause new problems for collaboration, even as they solve others. In addition, the visibility of a gesture's preparatory actions remained important to study participants, even when pointing was augmented. These results provide a richer understanding of the subtlety in avatar-based deictic communication, and of the ways that this critical communication mechanism can be better supported in CVEs.

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Participants

Nelson Wong
University of Saskatchewan
Carl Gutwin
University of Saskatchewan

Citation

Wong, N., Gutwin, C. 2014. Support for Deictic Pointing in CVEs: Still Fragmented after All These Years?. In CSCW '14 Proceedings of the 2014 conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing, Baltimore, MD. 1377-1387. DOI=10.1145/2531602.2531691.

BibTeX

@inproceedings {335-wong_cscw2014,
author= {Nelson Wong and Carl Gutwin},
title= {Support for Deictic Pointing in CVEs: Still Fragmented after All These Years?},
booktitle= {CSCW '14 Proceedings of the 2014 conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing},
year= {2014},
address= {Baltimore, MD},
pages= {1377-1387}
}