Media spaces support collaboration, but the limited access they provide to remote colleagues ’ activities can undermine their utility. To address this limitation, we built an experimental system in which four switchable cameras were deployed in each of two remote offices, and observed participants using the system to collaborate on two tasks. The new views allowed increased access to task-related artifacm indeed, users preferred these views to more typical “face-to-face ” ones. However, problems of establishing a joint frame of reference were exacerbated by the additional complexity, leading us to speculate about more effective ways to expand access to remote sites. KEVWORDS CSCW,social interaction, media spaces, video lNTRODUCTION Over the last few years, several laboratories have built experimental media spaces, computer-controlled networks of audio and video equipment, in order to explore issues concerning the support of collaboration among distributed colleagues [4, 6, 12, 18]. Media spaces provide more than basic video conferencing and picture-phones, creating a “space ” for interaction that exists alongside the everyday physical environment. They are intended to support a wide range of shared work activities, from focused collaboration to a more general awareness of events in the workplace . Despite the promise of these systems, our experience suggests that their main value is in providing casual awareness of remote colleagues or as a prelude to more focused, co-present communication [see also 4]. Current systems can support focused collaboration, but it seems that even experienced users prefer to be physically copresent for a variety of focused collaborative tasks. Permission to copy without fee all or part of this material is granted provided that the copies are not made or distributed for direct commercial advantage, the ACM copyright notice end the title of the publication and its date appear, and notice ie given that copying is by permission of the Association for Computin
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