Attention-Based Management of Information Flows in Synchronous Electronic Brainstorming
In this paper we argue for buffering group awareness information to mitigate information overload and help users keep up with the group. We propose an attentive groupware device, called the opportunity seeker, that leverages the natural alternation between a user doing individual work and attending to the group to automatically manage the timing and quantity of information to be delivered based upon each user’s state of attention. We explain how this device can be applied to synchronous electronic brainstorming and present results from a laboratory experiment, which indicate that groups produced 9.6% more ideas when compared to the immediate broadcast of ideas. In addition, a user-level post-hoc analysis suggests that information overload was attenuated with the opportunity seeker as users had 7.5 seconds of extra uninterrupted time to think about and type an idea, which they began to write 6.4 seconds sooner, and completed in 4.2 seconds less time.
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