Multimedia Systems

, Volume 2, Issue 2, pp 63–73 | Cite as

What video can and cannot do for collaboration: A case study

Abstract

As multimedia become an integral part of collaborative systems, we must understand how to design such systems to support the user's rich set of existing interaction skills, rather than requiring people to adapt to arbitrary constraints of technology-driven designs. To understand how we can make effective use of video in remote collaboration, we compared a small team's interactions through a desktop video conferencing prototype with face-to-face interactions and phone conversations. We found that, compared with audio-only, the video channel of our desktop video conferencing prototype adds or improves the ability to show understanding, forecast responses, give nonverbal information, enhance verbal descriptions, manage pauses, and express attitudes. These findings suggest that video may be better than the phone for handling conflict and other interaction-intense activities. However, the advantages of video depend critically on the nearly-instantaneous transmission of audio, even if it means getting out of sync with the video image. Nonetheless, when compared with face-to-face interaction, it can be difficult in video interactions to notice peripheral cues, control the floor, have side conversations, point to things or manipulate real-world objects. To enable rich interactions fully, video should be integrated with other distributed tools that increase the extent and type of shared space in a way that enables natural collaborative behaviors within those environments.

Key words

Remote collaboration Desktop video conferencing Computer-supported cooperative work User interfaces Conversation 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.SunSoft, Inc.Mountain ViewUSA

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