Design For Transitions

My PhD thesis work investigates how we can design interactive applications that allow users to transition between synchronous and asynchronous work, and independent and collaborative work.

Surface Use in Meeting Room Collaboration

surfaces.png Although we can now augment meeting rooms with large-format digital displays (e.g. digital whiteboards or tabletops), successful deployment of groupware tools for such environments has been limited. We argue this problem stems from a poor understanding of how teams make use of traditional meeting room surfaces (e.g. whiteboards, walls, tables) in collaboration; as a consequence, our large display groupware applications do not always reflect the general expectations users have of large displays, which replace traditional, non-digital meeting room surfaces. Our research develops a framework for understanding how meeting room surfaces are used collaboratively, thereby providing insight into application design for digital display surfaces in meeting rooms.

Tang, A., Lanir, J., Greenberg, S., and Fels, S. (2009). Supporting Transitions in Work: Informing Large Display Application Design by Understanding Whiteboard Use. In Proceedings of GROUP 2009. (May 10-13, 2009, Sanibel Island, USA). ACM Press. pp: 149-158. (conference - Acceptance: 45/110 - 32%)

Tang, A. & Fels, S. (2008). Four Lessons from Traditional MDEs. ACM CSCW 2008 Workshop on Beyond the Laboratory: Supporting Authentic Collaboration with Multiple Displays. Organized by Biehl, J., Golovchinsky, G., and Lyons, K. (workshop)

Tang, A. (2006). Surface use in meeting room collaboration. In Conference Companion of the ACM CSCW Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work. (November 4-8, Banff, Alberta, Canada). pp: 43-44. ACM Press. (doctoral colloquium poster, conference)

Tang, A., Parker, J. K., Lanir, J., Booth, K. S. and Fels, S. (2006). Studying Collaborative Surface Use to Guide Large Display Interaction Design. In Conference Companion of the ACM CSCW Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work. (November 4-8, Banff, Alberta, Canada). pp: 219-220. ACM Press. (interactive poster, conference)

Integrated Large Display and Tabletop Interaction

This project explores the design of interactive collaborative workspaces that combine digital tabletop displays with large vertical displays in a seamless manner. We envision such workspaces providing users with a fluid means of presenting and making sense of information such as digital media. In particular, we are exploring how the tabletop display can be used to manipulate and collaborate around content while the 'large vertical can be used for presentation and sharing.

Collaborative Information Analysis

info-analysis.png To design information visualization tools for collaborative use, we need to understand how teams engage with visualizations during their information analysis process. We report on an exploratory study of individuals, pairs, and triples engaged in information analysis tasks using paper-based visualizations. From our study results, we derive a framework that captures the analysis activities of co-located teams and individuals. Comparing this framework with existing models of the information analysis process suggests that information visualization tools may benefit from providing a flexible temporal flow of analysis actions.


Isenberg, P., Tang, A., and Carpendale, M. S. T. (2008). Exploratory Study of Visual Information Analysis. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI conference on Human factors in computing systems (CHI 2008). (April 5-10, Florence, Italy). ACM Press. pp: 1217-1226.(conference - Acceptance: 157/714 - 22%)

Collaborative Tabletop Interaction

tabletop.png Designing collaborative interfaces for tabletops remains difficult because we do not fully understand how groups coordinate their actions when working collaboratively over tables. We present two observational studies of pairs completing independent and shared tasks that investigate collaborative coupling, or the manner in which collaborators are involved and occupied with each other’s work. Our results indicate that individuals frequently and fluidly engage and disengage with group activity through several distinct, recognizable states with unique characteristics. We describe these states and explore the consequences of these states for tabletop interface design.


Tang, A., Tory, M., Po, B., Neumann, P., and Carpendale, M. S. T. (2006). Collaborative Coupling over Tabletop Displays. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI conference on Human factors in computing systems (CHI 2006). (April 24-27, Montreal, Quebec). pp: 1181-1190. ACM Press. (conference - Acceptance: 118/508 - 23%)

Tang, A. and Fels, S. (2006). "What I Want, Where I Want:" Reference Material Use in Tabletop Work. UBC CS Technical Report TR-2006-05, Department of Computer Science, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada V6T 1Z4, March.

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