Visualizing Common Artefacts to Support Awareness in Computer-Mediated Cooperation

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The idea of a “common artefact” is a useful metaphor for the design of CSCW systems. Our ACCT model of a common artefact describes structural elements that provide awareness about the work of others. The ACCT model identifies actors, contents, conversations, and tools as the central components of a common artefact, arranged on a shared background. The elements of a common artefact provide both a background visualization of the activity, but also permit dynamic notification of particular events. We explore this process of notification, which is composed of a selection and a presentation stage. We identify the critical factors of the process, in particular we highlight techniques related to temporal and spatial distortion. The framework helps to prepare design decisions of multi-user systems more consciously.