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Colloquium - Olson

User-Centered Design of Internet-Based Collaborative Work Environments: Perils, Pitfalls, and Promises
Gary Olson
University of Michigan

For the last five-and-one-half years we have been using an iterative, user-centered strategy to design, develop, deploy, and evaluate an Internet-based collaborative work environment for a worldwide community of upper atmospheric physicists (the UARC project). We adopted an object-oriented, rapid-prototyping strategy so we could have short feedback loops through cycles of development and evaluation. Early versions of the system were built in a proprietary, platform-dependent mode that facilitated rapid development, whereas later versions have been built with Java applets accessed through Web browsers to achieve platform independence.

We have faced three kinds of challenges in this project. First, there have been substantial technical challenges, such as making the technology work effectively with growing numbers of data sources and users over the Internet (scaling and quality of service issues). Second, here have been social and organizational challenges in introducing these technologies to a real community of users spread out across several continents. Third, there have been challenges in implementing the rapid prototyping software development strategy for real users. I will review results pertaining to each of these challenges, and draw more general conclusions about the support of collaboration across the Internet.

At the University of Michigan, Gary Olson is Professor of Psychology, head of the Machine Intelligence Lab, and Associate Dean, School of Information. A companion talk will also be presented at 3:30pm on January 16 within ICS.

Refreshments will be served immediately before the talk at 3:30pm.

Department of Computer Science
University of Colorado Boulder
Boulder, CO 80309-0430 USA
May 5, 2012 (14:13)