Strudel, a Customizable Electronic Conversation Toolkit

Allan Shepherd and Audrey Ishizaki, HP Labs

Seminar on People, Computers, and Design
Stanford University October 7, 1992


Strudel, a customizable ``electronic conversation toolkit'', supports group work by extending current electronic mail (email) communications to support semi-structured active messages and aysnchronous conversations. For use in defining custom applications, Strudel provides an extensible conversation type library. A field trial of the toolkit for an engineering change order application is entering its second year. The trial's users prefer Strudel for these semi-structured conversations over regular face-to-face meetings, even though the users all work in the same area of a site. Instrumentation has been added so that users can collect data on how conversations for these tasks are performed.

The talk will briefly describe the design of Strudel, the ongoing trial, and some of our tentative observations about why users prefer Strudel over face to face meetings for their task.


Allan Shepherd has worked in the database, expert systems and human computer interaction fields at HP Labs for the past 8 years. Previous to that he worked in documentrary television production.

Audrey Ishizaki has been working at HP for the past 10 years. She has worked on operating systems, optimizing compilers, programming environments and groupware tools.


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