Project DescriptionEnhancing the sense of community in a geographically separated organization via software applications.
capital, which is of particular importance in an academic research
community such as the College of Computing at Georgia Tech.
However, it has become increasingly difficult to keep up with the current affairs in the community and to know community members beyond their names. As the community grows large, it inevitably spreads into distant locations. Without physical proximity, the frequency and quality of chance encounters decrease, subsequently decreasing the level of informal communication, hindering collaboration among community members.
Another contributing factor is that people are simply getting busier and suffering from information overload. Since communications about the community often do not contain information that requires immediate response or relate to the tasks at hand, they are often "filed" for later review, and "I'll read this later" gradually becomes "never".
Awareness technologies in previous groupware and CSCW research are often too heavyweight to effectively enhance community awareness: they often involve too much effort from the user, are too obtrusive to the user, and are only used in closely coupled groups where people already know each other well.
Opportunistic interfaces, on the other hand, complement traditional methods such as email and news in carrying community communication, but start from the periphery of attention, presenting information in a calm manner without distracting the user. The user can get a rough understanding of what the information is about in a short glance (hence the name "glance-ables" by Rachel Bellamy). And it is the user who decides whether to move the information into the center of attention or not.
The communication-bar gathers information from the following sources:
Users get to know other people's faces, their research interests, their hobbies, and generally what's going on in their lives. Here are some examples of the generated collages:
The collage server also builds collages based on the blurbs in the communication-bar. In addition, there are weather and traffic collages as value-added services to our users.
|Tcl/Tk, TclX, TclXML, freeWrap, wget, XScreenSaver, ht://dig, Lynx, ImageMagick, NetPBM, Img, libjpeg, Info-Zip Tools, and rsync. In addition, the servers and daemons in this project run on Solaris machines. A donation from Mircrosoft Research also helped the development of the Windows clients.|
the beginning. We are still interested in building
other instances of this idea and evaluating the usefulness of these
applications. One possibility is to extend the screen-saver and like
applications that require larger display areas, and installing electronic signs
at strategic locations in the building(s) as physical realizations of the
"What's Happening" system (anyone wants to sponsor me a plasma flat panel
display or an electronic sign?).
We're definitely looking for more students interested in these ideas. So please let us know if you'd like to get involved.
|Copyright © 1999-2001 Q. Alex Zhao, All Rights Reserved.|