TeamSearch: Comparing Techniques for Co-Present Collaborative Search of Digital Media

Meredith Ringel Morris, Andreas Paepcke, Terry Winograd
The First IEEE International Workshop on Horizontal Interactive Human-Computer Systems, 2006
Interactive tables can enhance small-group colocated collaborative work in many domains. One application enabled by this new technology is copresent, collaborative search for digital content. For example, a group of students could sit around an interactive table and search for digital images to use in a report. We have developed TeamSearch, an application that enables this type of activity by supporting group specification of Boolean-style queries. We explore whether TeamSearch should consider all group members’ activities as contributing to a single query or should interpret them as separate, parallel search requests. The results reveal that both strategies are similarly efficient, but that collective query formation has advantages in terms of enhancing group collaboration and awareness, allowing users to bootstrap query-specification skills, and personal preference. This suggests that team-centric UIs may offer benefits beyond the “staples” of efficiency and result quality that are usually considered when designing search interfaces.