Sunday, July 31, 2005

Mobile Collaboration at the Tabletop

I came across this interesting paper called Mobile Collaboration at the Tabletop in Public Spaces by Jacqueline Brodie and Mark Perry of Brunel University. It discusses some implications for furniture and devices -- what are the physical forms that are needed to support face to face meetings, both devices and furniture ("roomware"). They make the point that computers are designed for solo use and it's quite difficult to share them. This facilitates their use in quite a hierarchical way, where one person controls the device while others are onlookers.
Also it is not enough just to have the device, from their research (and from observation) you need a tabletop to use the computer. Although portable computers are called laptops, they are virtually never used on one's lap! There are interesting implications for better design of furniture, hardware and software to enable people to make use of computers while on the move.

I would extend that to implications for public and semi-public (e.g. coffee shops) spaces which host people on the move. Should they have specially designed furniture to go with the (inevitable) wi-fi? Should the space itself be shaped and designated for computer use? Again, the British Library exhibition of wi-fi furniture was very relevant.


Anonymous said...

Very Interesting....

6:16 p.m.  

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