Towards Enhancing Awareness in Designing Collaborative Computing Systems
Awareness is critical to the success of collaborative activities. User awareness (from here on: awareness) is a system’s capacity to provide comprehensible and appropriate communication cues from one user to the other users of the same system. In collaborative computing systems, awareness does not only address the needs of individual users; it can also improve mutual understanding and collaboration (resp. coordination). While advances in computing technology have transformed the way we communicate, work, and collaborate; off-the-shelf solutions and form-factors can also imply unexpected benefits and challenges related to awareness. This licentiate thesis [] builds upon four papers; each investigating such benefits and challenges. Besides addressing off-the-shelf solutions, the thesis also proposes novel interaction techniques aiming to improve the usability of collaborative systems.
The thesis starts out with an overview of awareness in collaborative systems, then briefly examines how awareness has been supported within four specific areas: tabletop computing, social network, creative problem-solving, and haptic feedback. These are also the areas of the projects reported in the central parts of the thesis. Based on literature, we briefly describe the contribution of our respective works to the area. This should both motivate each of the papers and demonstrate how each paper adds to the state-of-the-art.
The first paper (P1) investigates a concept making tabletop systems aware of users’ leaning postures to better support them in their tasks. In the second paper (P2), we designed and developed a social-network based photo-recommendation tool that is aware of user context to support reminiscing activities, which are beneficial to reinforcing relationships between people. In the third paper (P3), we examine different aspects that influence group awareness in remote collaboration regarding the abilities and challenges that standard mobile devices have in supporting creative problem solving in a remote setting. The fourth paper (P4) reports on a new interaction technique allowing users to employ their finger movements to intuitively define tactile feedback for visual contents in tabletop applications, serving as a contribution towards making tactile-feedback awareness more integral to computing systems. The thesis rounds off by presenting research questions derived from the papers and offers an outlook to future works I am planning for the next steps towards my doctoral thesis.
 The licentiate thesis corresponds to a qualification examination, carried out after two years of PhD-studies.
distributed creative group work