Providing Artifact Awareness to a Distributed Group through Screen Sharing

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Despite the availability of awareness servers and casual interaction systems, distributed groups still cannot maintain artifact awareness the easy awareness of the documents, objects, and tools that other people are using that is a natural part of co-located work environments. To address this deficiency, we designed an awareness tool that uses screen sharing to provide information about other people s artifacts. People see others screens in miniature at the edge of their display, can selectively raise a larger view of that screen to get more detail, and can engage in remote pointing if desired. Initial experiences show that people use our tool for several purposes: to maintain awareness of what others are doing, to project a certain image of themselves, to monitor progress and coordinate joint tasks, to help determine when another person can be interrupted, and to engage in serendipitous conversation and collaboration. People have also been able to balance awareness with privacy, by using the privacy protection strategies built into our system: restricting what parts of the screen others can see, specifying update frequency, hiding image detail, and getting feedback of when screenshots are taken.
Computer Science