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A Methodological Quest for Studying Interactions in Advanced Video Conferencing Environments

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Dr Mary Allan & Prof David Thorns. School of Sociology and Anthropology ... Grounded Theory Approach a free of preconception investigation' (Glaser, 1992 ) ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: A Methodological Quest for Studying Interactions in Advanced Video Conferencing Environments


1
A Methodological Quest for Studying Interactions
in Advanced Video Conferencing Environments
  • Dr Mary Allan Prof David Thorns
  • School of Sociology and Anthropology
  • University of Canterbury NZ
  • 4th International Conference on e-Social Science
    University of Manchester, UK18 - 20 June 2008

2
The Powers at Work
Real Need
3
How is the Need Addressed?
  • Design-Considerable resources have been invested
    in enhancing the design of videoconferencing
    tools
  • Uptake- Numerous studies have attempted to
    discover the factors contributing to uptake of
    video conferencing and advanced systems such as
    Access Grid and telepresence tools
  • However.
  • So far studies show that uptake is lower than
    anticipated

4
Pensive Note
  • Low uptake is challenging the hypothesis
  • If you build a Better System THEY will come

5
Prevalent Approaches to Diffusing Technology?
  • Designers come up with a new product
  • Serve people what designers have prepared
  • Presume what users want
  • Disseminate users survey asking questions which
    provide answers to questions raised by design
    teams
  • Give users a pre prepared choice
  • Offer a menu for users to choose from

6
The Prevalent Approach
  • Build a better system so users will like it
  • But ..
  • What is a better system ?
  • Who decides whats better?
  • How do we know users will like it?

7
Traditional User Centred Approaches
  • Traditional user-centred approaches are often
    found to fall short of
  • Real engagement of designers and users
  • Attention to social and political aspects
  • Portrayal of complexity and representativeness
  • (Grudin Pruitt, 2002)
  • User centred design processes are time consuming
    (vredenburg et.al 2002)
  • Here we focus on users engagement

8
Our proposed Approach
  • Let People Do The Choosing

9
Aim of Study
  • Investigate the reasons underpinning uptake of
    Advanced video conferencing technologies through
    the discovery of the ways in which users, rather
    than designers construct the functionality of
    the technology

10
Grounded User Centred Approach
  • Identify what users think is important and
    construct as scheme of criteria to inform the
    design of videoconferencing
  • We began our investigation by applying Glasers
    Grounded Theory Approach a free of
    preconception investigation (Glaser, 1992 )

11
Implementing Our Approach
  • A case Study observing the population of users
    of an Advanced Video Conferencing tool The
    Access Grid (AG) from within the research
    community in NZ universities. Participants
    included research students and staff

12
The NZ Context
  • The AG technology has been in use in NZ since
    2005 as part of a national project the BRCSS1
    which attempted to link social scientists and
    facilitate collaboration across the 8
    universities in the country
  • In 2007 the high speed education and research
    network KAREN2 was launched enabling enhanced use
    of advanced video conferencing tools

1.BRCSS- Building Research Capabilities in the
Social Sciences
2.KAREN- kiwi Advanced Research and Education
Network
13
Background of Case Study
  • The infrastructure and the technology were put in
    place, preparing the way for wide uptake,
  • and
  • Triggered the need for researching the uptake and
    the ways in which it may alter cross site meeting
    and collaboration practices

14
Phase 1 Observations
  • Observed 17 Access Grid sessions - cross site
    presentations, seminars, teaching and business
    meetings
  • Manually annotated as many details we could
    capture in real time - limited bandwidth did not
    permit recording prior to the implementation of
    our high speed connection, KAREN
  • Compilation of the notes from all observations
    revealed the following key themes
  • Socio technical interactions- the way people
    interacted with other people in and across nodes,
    and the way they related to the technology in
    their environment
  • Group dynamics across different contexts
  • Group dynamics within and across nodes
  • Different modes of disseminating information

15
Phase2- Users Survey
  • The key themes identified in the observations
    provided the basis for formulating survey
    questions which were constructed in two levels
  • Questions relating to actual AG experience
  • Questions relating to perceived potential and
    activities enabled by the technology

16
Phase 2 cont - Survey Findings
  • 92 suggested that interactions on the AG are
    different from FTF
  • 82.4 suggested that it is Possible to
    participate in AG the same way as in FTF
  • 9.6 gap between potential (possible) and actual
    experience suggesting that when asked about
    actual experience more participants view AG
    interactions as different to FTF, however, 82.4
    see the potential

17
What are FTF Identifiers
  • Synchronicity- the ability to engage in temporal
    turn taking interactions that enable the smooth
    alternation of speaker and listener who are co
    present (Bosch et al., 2004)
  • Multimedia information incorporating Mehrabians
    3Vs verbal, vocal, and visual (Mehrabian,
    1971)
  • A sense of being with one another, a sense of
    presence (Heeter, 1992), and co-presence
    (Goffman, 1963 Schroeder, 2006)
  • Intuitiveness-not requiring any complex or
    clunky means (Naumann, A., et.al 2007)

18
FTF Identifiers and Survey
19
Phase 3- Juxtaposing
20
Phase 3cont-Juxtaposing
  • Levels of difference in FTF identifiers

21
Phase 3 cont-Juxtaposing
  • In relation to the multimedia identifier
    participants commented
  • although everyone can see each other and
    contribute you dont get the same body language
    cues when someone wants to speak.

22
Phase 3 cont-Juxtaposing
  • In relation to shared space identifier
    participants commented
  • Looking into camera to speak meant that you
    were excluding those in the room with you (We
    were all sitting facing the screen/camera)

23
Summary of Phase2 3
  • The findings of the survey showed users
    identification of the points of difference
    between perceptions/expectations , and experience
    of similarity of AG to FTF
  • Juxtaposition of the differences identified
    against traditional FTF featured showed a
    clearer view of the obstacles of AG in becoming
    more like FTF
  • The survey enabled measuring in detail specific
    dissimilarities which could be addressed,
    leading to the construction of criteria for the
    design of a systematic annotating tool

24
Grounded users Centred Design -Overview
  • Unstructured observations
  • Findings used to identify key areas
  • Key areas informed the design of a user survey
    constructed of two levels
  • Questions relating to actual AG experience
  • Questions relating to perceived potential and
    activities enabled by the technology
  • Survey findings discovered a gap between
    experience and perceptions and identified the
    features around which this gap evolved
  • Experienced activities were juxtaposed with
    actions traditionally associated with FTF
    interactions to discover level of similarity or
    dissimilarity of experience in AVC. The purpose
    of this juxtaposition was to ascertain what is
    needed for AVC interactions to become more like
    FTF meetings,
  • Findings were used for constructing a set of
    features to be systematically explored
  • Features identified to be configured in the
    design of computerised annotating tools which
    will enable informed systematic annotation of
    observations

25
Phase 4
  • Exploring annotation tools
  • The Memetic - incompatibility with our systems
    configuration
  • The Digital Replay System (DRS) useful as a
    quantitative tool for annotating micro-level
    actions and measuring the frequencies of these
    actions.

26
Field Notes
  • To import our AGVCR recording files to the DRS
    system we needed to convert them to a file format
    recognised by the DRS.
  • Using Camtasia we captured desktop screens of
    AGVCR and converted them to QuickTime format
    (mov).
  • DRS - useful for annotating micro-level actions
    and measuring their frequencies. For example
    tracking varying levels of participation from
    each node /or individual participant (Thorns et
    al., 2008)

27
DRS Annotation Example
28
Limitations so Far
  • Using Camtasia limited the length of the
    recordings to 20 minutes segments to avoid
    crashing our computers
  • The system was not very useful in annotating the
    more prominent features we have identified
    through our grounded investigation
  • Multimedia information - 38
  • A sense of being with one another, a sense of
    presence - 33

29
Summary of Trial
  • Build a better system so users will like it
  • But ..
  • What is a better system ?
  • Who decides whats better?
  • How do we know users will like it?
  • Build a better system through users eyes
  • Identify users criteria and design a grounded
    approach annotating system

30
Summary
  • Deploying the technology does not ensure uptake
  • Traditional user centred designs are lacking and
    time consuming
  • Effective Grounded approach can be achieved with
    annotation system developed enabling the analysis
    of large data sets
  • Grounded annotation will provide systematic
    analysis of how technology is applied and
    constructed by users and so provide authentic
    information for further design of the technology

31
Future Thoughts Big Scale Grounded Annotations
  • Develop a tool that will enable large scale
    observations to be annotated and analysed in a
    more effective and hopefully less time consuming
    way using grounded processes to inform its
    annotating schemes

32
Enhancing the Design of Annotating Tools
  • Easy synchronisation of recordings of AG and
    other AVC sessions
  • change- AG recording format or allow for format
    to be read by annotating system)
  • Speech recognition system to recognise repeating
    speakers
  • annotator identifies speaker first time and
    system to recognise that speaker from then on
  • Gaze tracking system able to work across cameras
    and follow gaze not only in physical node but
    across nodes
  • calculate how each camera is distorting the gaze
    to arrive at who the person is actually looking
    at

33
Grounded Annotation for Enhancing Design of AVC
  • Measure effectiveness of visual by measuring
    (38 responses)
  • Rate of turn taking,
  • Levels of involvement of participants
  • Gaze tracking across sites
  • Measure level presence in shared space by
    measuring(33 responses)
  • Distances from cameras/ microphones
  • Number of times microphones muted
  • Positioning( measuring distances) of people in
    relation to others in the physical node

34
Sociological view
  • As social scientists we look NOT at what the
    technology can do( and how happy users are with
    it) but rather at what users actually do with the
    technology, which sometimes can be a little
    different from what designers thought they would
    do

35
Final Note
  • Ask NOT what the technology can do for the user,
  • but what the user will do with the technology

36
Thank YouComments, Questions .
Contact details mary.allan_at_canterbury.ac.nz david
.thorns_at_canterbury.ac.nz
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