This thesis investigates the role of activity visualization tools in increasing group awareness at the workspace. Today, electronic calendaring tools are widely used in the workplace. The primary function is to enable each person maintain a work schedule. They also are used to schedule meetings and share work details when appropriate. However, a key limitation of current tools is that they do not enable people in the workplace to understand the activity of the group as a whole. A tool that increases group awareness would promote reflection; it would enable thoughtful engagement with one's co-workers. I have developed two tools: the first tool enables the worker to examine detailed task information of one's own tasks, within the context of his/her peers' anonymized task data. The second tool is a public display to promote group reflection. I have used an iterative design methodology to refine the tools. I developed ActivityStream desktop tool that enables users to examine the detailed information of their own activities and the aggregate information of other peers' activities. ActivityStream uses a client-server architecture. The server collected activity data from each user by parsing RSS feeds associated with their preferred online calendaring and task management tool, on a daily basis. The client software displays personalized aggregate data and user specific tasks, including task types. The client display visualizes the activity data at multiple time scales. The activity data for each user is represented though discrete blocks; interacting with the block will reveal task details. The activity of the rest of the group is anonymized and aggregated. ActivityStream visualizes the aggregated data via Bezier curves. I developed ActivityStream public display that shows a group people's activity levels change over time to promote group reflection. In particular, the public display shows the anonymized task activity data, over the course of one year. The public display visualizes data for each user using a Bezier curve. The display shows data from all users simultaneously. This representation enables users to reflect on the relationships across the group members, over the course of one year. The survey results revealed that users are more aware of their peers' activities in the workspace.
- Designing tools to increase group awareness in the work place