Media Space and Video-mediated Interaction
These projects draw on workplace studies to suggest enhancements to innovative systems to support collaborative work. Video technology has recently shown it can offer great support for real-time collaboration between people in different physical locations. This support would seem to resonate with the increasingly globalised nature of work and recent efforts to develop flexible and hybrid working.
Whilst enhancing some forms of communication the conventional systems we use, such as Zoom, Teams and Skype, offer limited capabilities for access to objects, artefacts and features in the remote environment. They tend to focus on ‘face-to-face’ interaction and principally provide just head and shoulders view of the other participants.
We have been engaged in a number of projects that explore the development of media spaces that seek to enhance video communication and collaboration.
Our studies draw on the detailed analysis of interaction in everyday environments to consider how
- visual conduct is transformed when undertaken through video technologies;
- the performative impact of conduct such as glances and gestures is diminished through video;
- in video-conference systems and conventional media spaces there is limited access to the physical resources that are essential for collaborative work.
These analyses have informed the development of a series of novel enhancements to media spaces with colleagues in Japan and the United Kingdom. These have included using complex video-projection technologies, life sized displays of human co-participants and ways of controlling and transforming access to the remote environment.
To assess these enhancements we have designed and undertaken a number of 'quasi-naturalistic’ experiments where participants engage in open ended tasks that resonate with everyday work practices.