Original Article

Personal and Ubiquitous Computing

, 13:569

First online:

Investigating teamwork and taskwork in single- and multi-display groupware systems

  • James R. WallaceAffiliated withUniversity of Waterloo Email author 
  • , Stacey D. ScottAffiliated withUniversity of Waterloo
  • , Taryn StutzAffiliated withUniversity of Waterloo
  • , Tricia EnnsAffiliated withUniversity of Waterloo
  • , Kori InkpenAffiliated withMicrosoft Research

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Multi-display groupware (MDG) systems, which typically comprise both public and personal displays, promise to enhance collaboration, yet little is understood about how they differ in use from single-display groupware (SDG) systems. While research has established the technical feasibility of MDG systems, evaluations have not addressed the question of how users’ behave in such environments, how their interface design can impact group behavior, or what advantages they offer for collaboration. This paper presents a user study that investigates the impact of display configuration and software interface design on taskwork and teamwork. Groups of three completed a collaborative optimization task in single- and multi-display environments, under different task interface constraints. Our results suggest that MDG configurations offer advantages for performing individual task duties, whereas SDG conditions offer advantages for coordinating access to shared resources. The results also reveal the importance of ergonomic design considerations when designing co-located groupware systems.


Groupware Multi-display environment Evaluation Communication efficiency Workspace awareness