RAMPARTS: Supporting Sensemaking with Spatially-Aware Mobile Interactions
Paper in proceedings, 2016
Synchronous colocated collaborative sensemaking requires that analysts share their information and insights with each other. The challenge is to know when is the right time to share what information without disrupting the present state of analysis. This is crucial in ad-hoc sensemaking sessions with mobile devices because small screen space limits information display. To address these tensions, we propose and evaluate RAMPARTS-a spatially aware sensemaking system for collaborative crime analysis that aims to support faster information sharing, clue-finding, and analysis. We compare RAMPARTS to an interactive tabletop and a paper-based method in a controlled laboratory study. We found that RAMPARTS significantly decreased task completion time compared to paper, without affecting cognitive load or task completion time adversely compared to an interactive tabletop. We conclude that designing for ad-hoc colocated sensemaking on mobile devices could benefit from spatial awareness. In particular, spatial awareness could be used to identify relevant information, support diverse alignment styles for visual comparison, and enable alternative rhythms of sensemaking.