Analysis of Coordination Mechanisms during Collaborative Problem-Solving on an Interactive Tabletop Display


Maquil V., Afkari H., Arend B., Heuser S., Sunnen P.


Computer Supported Cooperative Work: CSCW: An International Journal, 2024


Coordination is an important aspect of group work. Previous studies have shown how collocated multi-user interfaces, such as interactive tabletops, support coordination by providing a shared space that enhances workspace awareness. However, only little is known about the coordination processes that occur during problem-solving on such shared devices and how the design of features and interaction techniques can impact coordination behaviour. In this paper we analyse users’ coordination mechanisms during joint manipulation tasks in Orbitia, an interactive tabletop-based problem-solving activity. The proposed design integrates a series of “breaches” seeking to challenge participants’ collaboration by confronting them to different limitations. We report on a case study with five groups of three users (N = 15), jointly solving tasks while facing different challenges related to the activity interface and the environment. By analysing 135 min of video material along with their transcripts, we identified nine different coordination mechanisms that relate to either coordination of information or coordination of actions. By exploring the occurrences of these mechanisms, we found that sharing unsolicited task-relevant information is a common coordination behaviour that can be observed at interactive tabletops, and that with breaches, more explicit coordination in the form of direct requests, orders, or shadowing is used.



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