ECSCW 2009 pp 323-342 | Cite as

The ‘out-of-avatar experience’: object-focused collaboration in Second Life

Abstract

Much of our current understanding of collaboration around objects in collaborative virtual environments comes from studies conducted with experimental immersive systems. Now Internet-based desktop virtual worlds (VWs) have become a popular form of 3d environment, and have been proposed for a variety of workplace scenarios. One popular VW, Second Life (SL), allows its users to create and manipulate objects. This provides an opportunity to examine the problems and practices of object-focused collaboration in a current system and compare them to prior results. We studied small groups as they assembled objects in SL under varying conditions. In this paper we discuss the problems they encountered and the techniques they used to overcome them. We present measures of camera movement and verbal reference to objects, and discuss the impact of the UI upon these behaviors. We argue that while well-documented old problems remain very much alive, their manifestation in SL suggests new possibilities for supporting collaboration in 3d spaces. In particular, directly representing users' focus of attention may be more efficient than indirectly representing it via avatar gaze or gestures.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Limited 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The University of MelbourneAustralia
  2. 2.Palo Alto Research CenterU.S.A.

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