System Guidelines for Co-located, Collaborative Work on a Tabletop Display

Stacey D. Scott, Karen D. Grant, Regan L. Mandryk
ECSCW'03, European Conference Computer-Supported Cooperative Work, 2003
Collaborative interactions with many existing digital tabletop systems lack the fluidity of collaborating around a table using traditional media. This paper presents a critical analysis of the current state-of-the-art in digital tabletop systems research, targeted at discovering how user requirements for collaboration are currently being met and uncovering areas requiring further development. By considering research on tabletop displays, collaboration, and communication, several design guidelines for effective co-located collaboration around a tabletop display emerged. These guidelines suggest that technology must support: (1) natural interpersonal interaction, (2) transitions between activities, (3) transitions between personal and group work, (4) transitions between tabletop collaboration and external work, (5) the use of physical objects, (6) accessing shared physical and digital objects, (7) flexible user arrangements, and (8) simultaneous user interactions. The critical analysis also revealed several important directions for future research, including: standardization of methods to evaluate co- located collaboration; comparative studies to determine the impact of existing system configurations on collaboration; and creation of a taxonomy of collaborative tasks to help determine which tasks and activities are suitable for tabletop collaboration.