Two Worlds Apart: Bridging the Gap Between Physical and Virtual Media for Distributed Design Collaboration

Katherine M. Everitt, Scott R Klemmer, Robert Lee, James A Landay
CHI: ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, 2003
A tension exists between designers’ comfort with physical artifacts and the need for effective remote collaboration: physical objects live in one place. Previous research and technologies to support remote collaboration have focused on shared electronic media. Current technologies force distributed teams to choose between the physical tools they prefer and the electronic communication mechanisms available. We present Distributed Designers’ Outpost, a remote collaboration system based on The Designers’ Outpost, a collaborative web site design tool that employs physical Post-it notes as interaction primitives. We extended the system for synchronous remote collaboration and introduced two awareness mechanisms: transient ink input for gestures and a blue shadow of the remote collaborator for presence. We informally evaluated this system with six professional designers. Designers were excited by the prospect of physical remote collaboration but found some coordination challenges in the interaction with shared artifacts.


This project is known for: outpost physicaldigital