Proceedings of the 30th International BCS Human Computer Interaction Conference (HCI)
11 - 15 July 2016
This paper reports an empirical exploration of how different configurations of collaboration technology affect peoples’ ability to construct and maintain common ground while conducting collaborative intelligence analysis work. Prior studies of collaboration technology have typically focused on simpler conversational tasks, or ones that involve physical manipulation, rather than the complex sensemaking and inference involved in intelligence work. The study explores the effects of video communication and shared visual workspace (SVW) on the negotiation of common ground by distributed teams collaborating in real time on intelligence analysis tasks. The experimental study uses a 2x2 factorial, between-subjects design involving two independent variables: presence or absence of Video and SVW. Two-member teams were randomly assigned to one of the four experimental media conditions and worked to complete several intelligence analysis tasks involving multiple, complex intelligence artefacts. Teams with access to the shared visual workspace could view their teammates’ eWhiteboards. Our results demonstrate a significant effect for the shared visual workspace: the effort of conversational grounding is reduced in the cases where SVW is available. However, there were no main effects for video and no interaction between the two variables. Also, we found that the “conversational grounding effort” required tended to decrease over the course of the task.