Why do users like video?
Three studies of collaborative activity were conducted as part of research in developing multimedia technology to support collaboration. One study surveyed users' opinions of their use of video conference rooms. Users indicated that the availability of the video conference rooms was too limited, audio quality needed improvement, and a shared drawing space was needed. A second study analyzed videotapes of a work group when meeting face-to-face, video conferencing, and phone conferencing. The analyses found that the noticeable audio delay in video conferencing made it difficult for the participants to manage turn-taking and coordinate eye glances. In the third study, a distributed team was observed under three conditions: using their existing collaboration tools, adding a desktop conferencing prototype (audio, video, and shared drawing tool), and subtracting the video capability from the prototype. Qualitative and quantitative data were collected by videotaping the team, interviewing the team members individually, and recording their usage of the phone, electronic mail, face-to-face meetings, and desktop conferencing. The team's use of the desktop conferencing prototype dropped significantly when the video capability was removed. Analysis of the videotape data showed how the video channel was used to help mediate their interaction and convey visual information. Desktop conferencing apparently reduced e-mail usage and was perceived to reduce the number of shorter, two-person, face-to-face meetings.