Explaining the Importance of Visual Media in Collaboration

Steve Whittaker

We briefly present the results of a series of studies of naturalistic collaboration between humans, which show the crucial role of permanent visual media. The principles that emerge from these studies of collaboration enable us to bridge the gap between general accounts of collaboration which tend to be derived from language use, and DMIs which are focussed around actions on objects in virtual worlds. We argue that a modified version of Direct Manipulation may be viewed as a special case of general collaborative principles. We then go on to describe a system which has been implemented according to these collaborative design principles.

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