Publication: Task Analysis for Groupware Usability Evaluation: Modeling Shared-Workspace Tasks with the Mechanics of Collaboration

Researchers in Computer Supported CooperativeWork have recently developed discount evaluation methods for shared-workspace groupware. Most discount methods rely on some understanding of the context in which the groupware systems will be used, which means that evaluators need to model the tasks that groups will perform. However, existing task analysis schemes are not well suited to the needs of groupware evaluation: they either do not deal with collaboration issues, do not use an appropriate level of analysis for concrete assessment of usability in interfaces, or do not adequately represent the variability inherent in group work. To fill this gap, we have developed a new modeling technique called Collaboration Usability Analysis. CUA focuses on the teamwork that goes on in a group task rather than the taskwork. To enable closer links between the task representation and the groupware interface, CUA grounds each collaborative action in a set of group work primitives called the mechanics of collaboration. To represent the range of ways that a group task can be carried out, CUA allows variable paths through the execution of a task, and allows alternate paths and optional tasks to be modeled. CUA's main contribution is to provide evaluators with a framework in which they can simulate the realistic use of a groupware system and identify usability problems that are caused by the groupware interface.

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Participants

David Pinelle
College of Medicine, University of Saskatchewan
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

Pinelle, D., Gutwin, C., Greenberg, S. 2003. Task Analysis for Groupware Usability Evaluation: Modeling Shared-Workspace Tasks with the Mechanics of Collaboration. In ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction, vol. 10 no. 4, 281-311.

BibTeX

@inproceedings {task-analysis-tochi,
author= {David Pinelle and Carl Gutwin and Saul Greenberg},
title= {Task Analysis for Groupware Usability Evaluation: Modeling Shared-Workspace Tasks with the Mechanics of Collaboration},
booktitle= {ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction},
year= {2003},
volume= {10},
number= {4},
pages= {281-311}
}