Publication: Supporting Informal Collaboration in Shared Workspace Groupware

Shared-workspace groupware has not become common in the workplace, despite many positive results from the research lab. One reason for this lack of success is that most shared workspace systems are designed around the idea of planned, formal collaboration sessions – yet much of the collaboration that occurs in a co-located work group is informal and opportunistic. To support informal collaboration, groupware must be designed and built differently. We introduce the idea of communityware, in which groupware is organized around groups of people working independently, rather than shared applications, documents, or virtual places. Communityware provides support for three things that are fundamental to informal collaboration: awareness of others and their individual work, lightweight means for initiating interactions, and the ability to move into closely-coupled collaboration when necessary. We demonstrate two prototypes that illustrate the ideas behind communityware, and argue that this way of organizing groupware supports informal collaboration better than other existing approaches.




Carl Gutwin
University of Saskatchewan
Saul Greenberg
University of Calgary
Roger Blum
University of Saskatchewan
Jeff Dyck
University of Saskatchewan


Gutwin, C., Greenberg, S., Blum, R., Dyck, J. 2005. Supporting Informal Collaboration in Shared Workspace Groupware., Technical Report HCI-TR-05-01, Computer Science Department, University of Saskatchewan.


@techreport {hci-tr-05-01,
author= {Carl Gutwin and Saul Greenberg and Roger Blum and Jeff Dyck},
title= {Supporting Informal Collaboration in Shared Workspace Groupware},
year= {2005},
number= {HCI-TR-05-01},
school= {Computer Science Department, University of Saskatchewan}