Personal and Ubiquitous Computing

, Volume 12, Issue 3, pp 237–254 | Cite as

Evaluating teamwork support in tabletop groupware applications using collaboration usability analysis

  • David Pinelle
  • Carl Gutwin
Original Article


Tabletop groupware systems have natural advantages for collaboration, but they present a challenge for application designers because shared work and interaction progress in different ways than in desktop systems. As a result, tabletop systems still have problems with usability. We have developed a usability evaluation technique, T-CUA, that focuses attention on teamwork issues and that can help designers determine whether prototypes provide adequate support for the basic actions and interactions that are fundamental to table-based collaboration. We compared T-CUA with expert review in a user study where 12 evaluators assessed an early tabletop prototype using one of the two evaluation methods. The group using T-CUA found more teamwork problems and found problems in more areas than those using expert review; in addition, participants found T-CUA to be effective and easy to use. The success of T-CUA shows the benefits of using a set of activity primitives as the basis for discount usability techniques.


Usability evaluation Tabletop groupware Computer-supported cooperative work Collaboration usability analysis T-CUA 



Collaboration usability analysis


Table-collaboration usability analysis


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Limited 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Computer ScienceUniversity of Nevada Las VegasLas VegasUSA
  2. 2.Department of Computer ScienceUniversity of SaskatchewanSaskatoonCanada

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