TIDESS project paper on collaboration around multi-touch spherical displays published at CSCW 2021 (plus an Honorable Mention)! #laterpub #latertweet #tidess

The INIT Lab and TIDESS project are proud to announce that our work appeared at the ACM Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW) in Fall of 2021! This paper reported our investigations into how groups of users (including both adults and children) arranged themselves physically and collaborated with each other while interacting with a multi-touch spherical display prototype that we deployed in a local science museum over the course of five days. Some of our findings reflected similar collaboration behaviors as have been seen in the past around flatscreen displays in similar settings, but our other findings established the ways in which the spherical display led to different behaviors.

The paper abstract is as follows:

Multi-touch spherical displays that enable groups of people to collaboratively interact are increasingly being used in informal learning settings such as museums. Prior research on large flatscreen displays has examined group collaboration patterns in museum settings to inform the design of group learning experiences around these displays. However, previous research has shown differences in how users conceptualize interacting with spherical and flatscreen displays, thereby making it important to separately investigate how groups naturally collaborate around spherical displays in a museum setting. The spherical form factor of the display affords new forms of collaboration: unlike flatscreen displays, spherical displays do not have a definite front or center, thus intrinsically creating both shared and private touch interaction areas on the display based on users’ viewing angles or physical arrangements. We conducted a 5-day long field study at a local science museum during which 571 visitors (370 adults and 201 children) in 211 groups interacted with a walk-up-and-use collaborative learning application showing global science data visualizations, on a multi-touch spherical display. We qualitatively analyzed groups’ natural collaboration patterns including their physical arrangements (F-formations), their collaboration profiles (e.g., turn-taker or independent), and the nature of group discussion around the display. Our results show that groups often engaged in both independent as well as closely collaborative group explorations when interacting around the sphere: physical spacing between group members around the sphere was strongly linked to the way groups collaborated. It was less common for group members to make and accept suggestions or coordinate touch interactions when they did not share the same fields-of-view or touch interaction space with each other around the sphere. We discuss implications for supporting group collaboration in this context which will inform the design of future walk-up-and-use multi-touch spherical display applications for use in public settings.

Nikita presented our work at the CSCW 2021 conference, which was a virtual event. We were also thrilled to learn that our work had been selected for an Honorable Mention, an honor reserved for the top 5% of conference papers appearing at that year’s event. Check out the full PDF (coming soon) on our Publications page.

(Note that the CSCW conference proceedings are now published as volumes of the journal Proceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction (PACMHCI) as a means of establishing equivalency of these archival quality research papers to traditional journal publications. For historical reasons, we have elected to keep these papers listed in our “Refereed Conference Papers” section of our Publications page.)