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Supporting Effortless Coordination: 25 Years of Awareness Research

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Significant progress has been made in awareness research in Computer-Supported Cooperative Work over the last 25 years. This survey addresses awareness and effortless coordination—that is, how a mutual understanding in distributed teams can be gained and maintained, while still keeping the team members’ coordination efforts to a minimum. I characterise the origins of awareness and its ethnographically-informed and the technology-oriented roots, and discuss the notion of awareness. I review technical solutions for awareness support—both in applications as seen by users, and in base technology as seen by developers. Design tensions in awareness research and solutions are identified. A discussion contrasts awareness as seen from a users’ activity and effort perspective versus awareness as seen from a systems’ support and automation perspective.


Gross, Tom (2013): Supporting Effortless Coordination: 25 Years of Awareness Research. Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW): Vol. 22. DOI: 10.1007/s10606-013-9190-x. Springer. PISSN: 1573-7551. pp. 425-474