Shared Drawing: sketching tools for distributed design

Scott Minneman (Xerox PARC), John Tang (SMLI)

Seminar on People, Computers, and Design
Stanford University May 20, 1992


Over the past several years, shared drawing activity has emerged as a focus of research at Xerox PARC. Case studies of group design work, both in face-to-face and video mediated settings, initially revealed a need for providing a shared drawing capability to support distributed design work. Shared drawing activity has proven to be a topic of considerable complexity and subtlety. The talk will focus on a range of shared drawing prototypes that we have built and studied, and will show how the development of these systems has been grounded in studies of how people accomplish the social work of designing. Several prototypes will be discussed, ranging from Commune (a multi-user, computational sketching program), to VideoWhiteboard (a large- scale, video-based multi-user drawing tool). The various prototypes represent quite different approaches to supporting shared drawing activity. This variety has aided the development of both our understanding of the collaborative activity and the shared drawing prototypes themselves.


Scott Minneman is a researcher in the Work Practice and Technology Area at Xerox Palo Alto Research Center. He is interested in inter-disciplinary group engineering design activity, and in the development of video and computing technologies to support design activity. He received his PhD from Stanford in Mechanical Engineering, working at the Center for Design Research.

John Tang currently works in the Conferencing and Collaboration group at Sun Microsystems Laboratories, Inc. on the development of desktop conferencing technology. His research interests include studies of use of multimedia, collaborative technology. His Ph.D. thesis (sponsored by Xerox PARC at CDR) studied the work activity of design teams, and was applied to the development and study of several prototype shared drawing tools at Xerox PARC.


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