HCI2010 – EURO-CAT Software evaluation and Live Blogging Wrap-up

Check out all the brains around this table. Today's workshop - HCI2010 - Group Awareness in Online Work, Learning, and Games (see if you can spot me in the bright blue shirt!)

Today’s workshop on Group Awareness in Online Work, Learning, and Games finishes up with the debut of the EURO-CAT collaborative working software prototype. The participants sit around me eagerly clicking a forging ahead through the many profile setup screens designed to create harmonious working environments online, I suppose by presenting ourselves as well as possible. the software looks alright, the color palettes and screens look alright, but EURO-CAT just make me feel like I am working quite hard to get through it.  I believe you will quickly put people off their desire to work as a team the more demanding the experience is upfront. Looks like they have a lot of streamlining work to do to make it run smoothly,but hey that is what research is all about.  The first run of testers are getting a little frustrated with the error messages and demands to complete every box on a page before proceeding. Overall the tool has a lot of possibilities and could grow into something amazing, in my opinion especially if they take a more design ethnography approach to refinements 😉

I bet its hard debuting a piece of software only to receive a laundry list of improvements, but that is how iteration works. All I know is that the iterations and edits I constantly subject myself to, though they maybe painful, only forge me into a stronger person with more methods of communicating clearly. Next the whole group moved into skype to do the actual collaborative work, because EURO-CAT is only really a group collaborative working profile management system. Lame, I had thought the whole group met and was run through the EURO-CAT, but it looks like that is a little down the road.

After this prototype trial run a little rest and some dinner let’s call it a day.

I am defending my Masters in design ethnography project tomorrow and have to be bright and shiny.

*If you are just jumping in on this post, look at the first 5 post back in time (below on the page) for my live blogging feed from today.

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HCI2010 – Margarida Romero talks on teamwork and group learning on computers

More from the Group Awareness Workshop:

Margarida Romero opened the third talk of the day by sparking a moment of what I call “epiphany under my nose” or in other words “of course.” She presented us with the idea of how teamwork can be strongly affected by how team mates perceive each other, online! In profiles people pick up on whether some one is smart but lazy of time constricted or if someone is not so brilliant but dedicated to the project. When people collaborate in real world environments, we can pick up on someone’s level of investment and commitment to the project using body language and other cues. When working in online collaborative environments people make these same value decisions about you based on your profile.

So be careful how you fill out those profiles.  Usually we have only fixated on these things when deciding to use facebook professionally, but Margarida continues on to describe three distinct task types and group dynamics which are created through a combination of the design of the collaborative task and the perceptions players form of each other from profiles”:

Individual Competitive – “this is about me working for myself on my own, my own knowledge will solve this task”

Complimentary – “we work in the same direction”

Cooperation – “we work together”

This was all interesting and good, but I still tend to think they use far too many surveys to assess the prototypes they are making. These laundry lists of ratings and time logs turn people off, and I know its just a research context, but why can’t the evaluation tools used to check the prototype be more game like them selves?

Margarida Romero at HCI2010