The design and study of collocated group experiences has become a challenging, yet major concern of various converging research areas.
Technology support of collocated collaborative work has featured in original and early research in CSCW. For example, Mark Weiser’s pioneering research at PARC has investigated how pads, tabs and boards can be networked to support cooperative work (Weiser, 1999); and meeting rooms have been a favourite setting to devise and study group support systems (e.g., Grudin, 1994). Moreover, what can we learn from key aspects of collaborative groupware that supports distributed groups, such as division of labour, sharing, group awareness and negotiation of roles, tasks, and common goals? The workshop seeks to explore whether some of these cooperative ‘features’ could also enrich interactive, mobile systems and experiences for collocated groups.
Whilst the technology platform is perhaps a secondary factor, the rapid advancement and spread of mobile technology has added spatial mobility as a particularly challenging factor to the design of group experiences (cf. Bergqvist et al., 1999). This development has contributed to a growing number of group experiences reaching beyond the domain of cooperative work. Interactive and mobile group expe- riences have been designed and studied in support of cultural visiting in museums (Flintham et al., 2011), cities (Brown et al., 2005), or theme parks (Durrant et al., 2011), and to support learning (Benford et al., 2005) and play (Bell et al., 2006). The workshop seeks to draw on insights from designing and studying such interactive experiences. For example, the trajectories design framework has been synthesized to capture and design the individual routes through interactive experiences that combine multiple roles, interfaces and spaces (Benford et al., 2009). It has been applied to design and analyse visitor groups experiences of an interactive museum installation (Flintham et al., 2011).
In the context of CSCW, studies of collocated activities around artefacts and technology-in-use have played a crucial role in shaping our socio-technical understanding of our area, in informing the design of new technologies, and in improving of existing ones. Methodologically, in particular interaction analysis (Heath et al., 2010) and ethnomethodologically-informed ethnography (Crabtree et al., 2006) have become staple approaches to gain an understanding of the practical accomplishment of action in socio-technical settings that include (but are not limited to) face-to-face interaction.
However, it appears that there is a disconnect between the current approaches to designing mobile group experiences and earlier pioneering considerations that carefully unpack the ‘implications for design’ of social phenomena such as mobility (e.g., Luff and Heath, 1998) and face-to-face interaction (e.g., Luff and Jirotka, 1998). These considerations appear to be lacking from most interactive group experiences — for example, visitor experiences such as audio guides still isolate the members of a visiting party from one another. Notable exceptions that illustrate the kind of approach this workshop seeks to explore for example take into account the interactional resources of face-to-face interaction such as gaze, gestures, and bodily co-orientation both in the analysis of socio-technical interaction as well as how they might be exploited in design. Examples include a study of how environments afford or inhibit F-formations for face-to-face interaction (Marshall et al., 2011); considerations how insights from studies of visual conduct may be used to design more sociable robots that guide the gaze of museum visitors more naturally (Kuzuoka et al., 2008), or a study of collocated tabletop interaction that showed that mutual observability of action was an important factor for collaboration (Hornecker et al., 2008).
In summary, the aim of this workshop is to adopt a new perspective to address old challenges by bringing together researchers and designers with expertise and experience in studying and building socio-technical systems for collocated settings, such as CSCW and groupware, interactive mobile experience design, interaction and conversation analysis, and ethnography.
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