Sketches for and from collaboration

Heiser, J., Tversky, B. and Silverman, M. (2004). Sketches for and from collaboration. In J. S. Gero, B. Tversky, and T. Knight (Editors). Visual and spatial reasoning in design III. Pp. 69-78. Sydney: Key Centre for Design Research [pdf]

This paper report an interesting experimental study on how people might use a visualization to solve a collaborative task. The authors sketch a couple of important points about diagrams: sketches maintain an active focus on the task; pointing over the diagram assured a visual grounding on the part of the map being discussed; the use of the pointers of the map discharged cognitively the task. The experimental study confirmed that the possibility to face the task facte-to-face on the same map increased drammatically the performances of dyads over remote dyads.

Two interesting pointers in the paper: the uathors used other participants to evaluate the aesthetic effectiveness of the maps produced in the experiment; finally the authors pointed out that even if the task was a spatial one the findings seems to be applicable also to non spatial tasks.

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