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Embodiments in Mixed Presence Groupware (19 Jan 2005)
In this thesis, I define and explore Mixed Presence Groupware (MPG): software that connects distributed groups of collaborators together, allowing collocated individuals to work together on a shared display while simultaneously working with other, remote groups in the same digital workspace. In my explorations of this new class of groupware, I articulate a problem unique to MPG workspaces called presence disparity, where collaborators focus their collaborative energies toward collocated collaborators while ignoring their remote counterparts. I propose that the root cause of this problem is the poor representational properties of embodiments for remote collaborators, and develop a theory about embodiments for MPG workspaces. I present a video-based embodiment technique called VideoArms that addresses the presence disparity problem by following the design guidelines set out by the theory. Finally, I evaluate this embodiment technique, demonstrating and critiquing its effectiveness in mitigating presence disparity.
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