Designing Physical-Digital Workspaces to Support Globally Collaborative Work

DS 94: Proceedings of the Design Society: 22nd International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED19)

Year: 2019
Editor: Wartzack, Sandro; Schleich, Benjamin; Gon
Author: Tucker, Andrea (1); Gidel, Thierry (2); Fluckiger, C
Series: ICED
Institution: Universit
Section: Collaborative Design
DOI number:
ISSN: 2220-4342


This paper examines some aspects of physical-digital workspaces, focusing on multi-user, multi-touch technologies and how different workspaces impact collaboration. We introduce the concept of globally collaborative work. We chose to use case studies completed by groups of students in an engineering course to test different workspace modalities: the use of a large multi-touch table top in conjunction with a multi-touch board (vertical), the use of tablets with the multi-touch board, and finally the multi-touch board alone. The evaluation criteria are based on modes of interaction which emerge during globally collaborative work sessions: individual work, communication, coordination, cooperation and collaboration. We hypothesized that the workspaces would influence collaborative activity, expecting to see higher rates of collaboration in the table top environment than in the other two modalities studied. However, results showed less co-building and more cooperative work, as students divided their work and later attempted to negotiate a coherent product built on individual contributions. Lastly, we share a few design recommendations based on these results.

Keywords: Collaborative design, Workspaces for design, Human behaviour in design


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