October 4th, 2012

SIGDOC 2012 Conference—Day 1

~Thursday~  Today was the first day of the conference, and I attended four sessions, each with three presentations scheduled.

The first presenter in the first session didn't show up, so all-in-all, I attended 11 presentations today.

Here's what the day looked like, with an electronic copy of the program available here:

Continental Breakfast & Welcome

Mark Zachary, the conference chair, welcomed everyone during breakfast, which consisted almost exclusively of carbs from a variety of small pastries and three varieties of melons (cantaloupe, watermelon, and melon).

Coffee and juices were also available, with a variety of juices (orange, tomato, and apple) in ewers with dubious pouring affordances, as they'd say in usability terms.

We were also welcomed by Clay Spinuzzi, the Program Chair, and Jan Spyridakis, from the University of Washington.

Session I: Social Tools for Supporting Work I
Time: 9:00-10:15
Venue: San Juan / Whidbey Room

Presentation 1: Babel or Great Wall: Social Media Use among Chinese Students in the United States
Presenter: Shaoke Zhang

This speaker was a no-show.

Presentation 2: Knowledge Workers and their Use of Publicly Available Online Services (PAOSs) for Day-to-day Work (PAOSs)
Presenter: Toni Ferro, University of Washington

Session description: Researchers and organizations have been endeavoring to determine if and how social media can be leveraged to support the day-to-day work of knowledge workers. This study discusses a survey of the use of publicly available online services by knowledge workers that highlights new ways of examining the social media in relation to day-to-day work. Specifically, we examine the use of social media by workers in a variety of contexts as well as analyzing social media at the component level, the level of services, instead of simply at the site level.

Sarah and I were two of the first people to the room, and it turned out the other person walking in with us was the presenter, whom little did we know at the time, we'd become fast friends with later that night on the conference dinner cruise.

Presentation 3: Designing an Enterprise Social Tool for Cross-Boundary Communication, Coordination, and Information Sharing
Presenter: Cleidson R. de Souza, Universidade Federal do Pará

Presentation description: This paper discusses the design of a social tool for cross-boundary communication, coordination, and information sharing in a large organization. Based on insights and requirements gathered in qualitative and quantitative studies conducted within the organization, the Live Corkboard, a virtual message board system enhanced with community features and text/history search is proposed as a tool to enhance communication, group awareness, and information sharing and reuse. We describe the requirements for our tool as well as how they influenced our design. The research was conducted in a large IT services delivery company which has recently changed its organizational structure from a customer-centered to a competency-centered model. Focus group evaluation results suggest that the tool will be useful to the employees in the organization.

Session II: Social Media in Education
Time: 10:45-12:00
Venue: San Juan / Whidbey Room

Presentation 1: Understanding Social Media Advertising in Higher Ed: A Case Study from a Small Graduate Program
Presenter: Laura A Palmer, Southern Polytechnic State University

Presentation description: This paper describes how a small academic program used social media marketing—specifically, a Facebook advertising campaign and a Facebook page—to attract prospective students. From the results obtained, the design and deployment of Facebook as part of a strategic departmental communication and marketing plan requires more study. While advertisements brought users to the page, the conversations and engagement typically expected in a social network site did not materialize. In the end, the online advertising and promotion resulted in no new student applications to the graduate program.

Presentation 2: Sharing Time: Engaging Students as Co-Designers in the Creation of an Online Knowledge Sharing Application
Presenter: Michael Gilbert, University of Washington

Presentation description: This paper introduces the peer-supported design process undertaken in the creation of a novel online knowledge sharing application called the Haystack Exchange. Along with seven undergrad and graduate students involved in a course research group, the authors of this paper presented a fully functional online prototype of an application designed to connect those seeking knowledge work with those willing to do that work, creating an outlet for knowledge workers to share and contribute effort. Students were engaged as active co-designers in the system, examining existing applications online offering similar services, discussing relevant research in building online communities, and ultimately re-designing the system to make it context-appropriate for different deployment scenarios. This paper reports on the details of this unique design process, discussing its merits, implications, and the prototypes that resulted. The paper concludes with a discussion of the peer design process as an instructional approach that promotes student engagement.

Presentation 3: Communication Patterns for a Public Digital Backchannel
Presenter: Honglu Du

Presentation description: Digital backchannels have become an increasingly important field of study for researchers investigating educational technologies. We designed and deployed one such backchannel integrated with a public display – ClassCommons – in a 15-week field study that took place in a university classroom. We extracted and analyzed the communication patterns that emerged in the use of Class-Commons. In this paper, we use these data to address the following research questions: how do students appropriate public digital backchannels in classrooms, what communication patterns are typical in classroom digital public backchannels, how if at all do students’ participation in the digital public backchannels evolve over an extended period of time and what are the characteristics of the messages that get more responses from other students?

Keynote Address: Meta-Design and Cultures of Participation: Transformative Frameworks for the Design of Communication
Keynote Speaker: Gerhard Fischer, 2012 Rigo Award Winner

Dr. Fischer's research is focused on new conceptual frameworks and new media for learning, working, and collaborating; human-computer interaction; design; domain oriented design environments; distributed cognition; universal design (assistive technologies); and socio-technical environments.

His recent work has focused on social creativity, meta-design, and cultures of participation.

Session III: Social Tools for Supporting Work II
Time: 2:00-3:30
Venue: Orcas Room

Presentation 1: Collaborative Systems: Characteristics and Features
Presenter: Carlos Costa, University Institute of Lisbon

Presentation description: This work identifies some of the most significant advantages of collaboration systems as well as key features of these systems. This study identifies the most preferred systems, as well as factors that influence its acceptance. In order to identify the main dimensions influencing collaborative system acceptance was used the TAM Model (Technology Acceptance Model). Then it was conducted an empirical study: collaboration systems were analysed, a blog systems was evaluated using TAM and blog systems group of users were identified.

Presentation 2: Instant Annotation: Early Design Experiences in Supporting Cross-Cultural Group Chat
Presenter: Na Li, Pennsylvania State University

Presentation description: Cross-cultural group chat is an important option for supporting communication in both industry and education settings. However, studies of such interactions have reported persistent communication problems that appear to be due to mismatches in non-native and native speakers’ language proficiency. With this problem in mind, we have been exploring a conceptual design called Instant Annotation. Our design concept supports a kind of
threading in chat using annotation, thus offering paracommunication support in cross-cultural group chat. As part of this design investigation, we studied native and non-native speakers in a group chat activity, shared the new design concept, and interviewed users to gather their feedback about the Instant Annotation concept. The results pointed to three different design use cases and led us to envision four general design features that we will explore in our ongoing work. We discuss the cross-cultural communication problem, findings from the interview study, the current design and future directions.

Presentation 3: The Rat City Rollergirls and the Potential of Social Networking Sites to Support Work
Presenter: Toni Ferro, University of Washington

Presentation description: Increasingly, researchers and organizations are interested in the potential for social networking sites to support the day-to-day tasks of workers. This study examines the way the Rat City Rollergirls (RCRG), a roller derby team, communicates using social media to support the business of their organization. While the RCRG is a volunteer organization, their use of social media to support their day-to-day business demonstrates the potential of social networking sites to support organizational work in ways beyond marketing and customer communication and exposes design considerations for implementing social networking sites.

Session IV: Design Methodologies
Time: 3:45-5:00
Venue: Orcas Room

Presentation 1: Designing and Evaluating the Mobile Experience Through Iterative Field Studies
Presenters: Robert Racadio and Emma Rose, Anthro-Tech

Presentation description: This experience report describes using iterative field studies to design and evaluate the mobile experience of soundtransit.org. One study aimed to evaluate the design of paper prototypes early in the design process and another study was conducted to test the implementation of an interactive prototype. In this report, we share our experience to provide readers with lessons that can be applied to conducting their own mobile field studies. Finally, we describe some of the broader impacts that have resulted from this work.

Presentation 2: Adapting Grounded Theory to Construct a Taxonomy of Affect in Collaborative Online Chat
Presenters: Taylor Jackson Scott, University of Washington

Presentation description: Distributed collaborative teams increasingly rely on online tools for interaction and communication in both social and task-oriented goals. Measuring and modeling these interactions along different dimensions can help understand, and better design for, distributed collaboration. Affect is one such dimension that can play a crucial role in the dynamics, creativity, and productivity of distributed groups. We contribute an adaptation of the grounded theory methodology as a flexible and extensible means for constructing a taxonomy of affect in text-based online communication. Such a taxonomy can serve as an analytic lens for the continued investigation of the role of affect in creative collaborative endeavors as mediated by communication technology. We describe our modified grounded theory approach and then validate our method by constructing a taxonomy with data from chat logs collected during a longitudinal study of a multi-cultural distributed scientific collaboration.

Presentation 3: Short-Term Methodology for Long-Term Usability
Presenters: David Novick, University of Texas El Paso

Presentation description: Approaches to understanding usability of computer interfaces over the long term typically rely on longitudinal studies, which are limited in scope to the period of the experiment. In this study, we explore whether a non-longitudinal, cross-sectional approach can reliably detect useful differences in usability between novices and experts. Our approach takes a “snapshot” of usability problems and behaviors across a heterogeneous sample of users, ranging from novice to expert. Our analysis suggests that a cross-sectional methodology can distinguish between less experienced and more experienced users with respect to the kinds of applications that cause frustration, frequency of use of help, and whether the problem was solved. Our analysis also suggests that the method is poor at distinguishing causes of frustration and the overall distribution of types of solutions tried. The data also suggest that three months of use of an application is the most useful point at which to distinguish less-experienced from more experienced users.

I met Sarah and Jen in the lobby at 6:00, and we walked down to the pier to board the conference dinner cruise on the Argosy.

We took some pictures of the setting sun from the deck before we set sail.

Sun setting over the sound with the ferris wheel in shadow

The boat was really rocking during this time, presumably from the ferries coming and going nearby.

While waiting to set sail, at 7:00, appetizers were served, and there was a glass of champagne as part of the place settings.

Just after departing, the buffet line was opened and we got right to it. It was a pretty good spread, and I had a small tenderloin medallion, which wasn't my favorite, actually, and some chicken stuffed with cheese and perhaps a sun-dried tomato, which was my favorite.

They also had a fish offering, which I passed on.

After dinner, Toni joined our table and the games began. She gave me the scoop on which guys were gay, which is always helpful.

We each had one drink ticket to use at the bar on board, and after that, it was a cash bar. I actually only had two drinks, both free, because Toni had an extra ticket that she gave me.

I had also had "one" drink on the walk down to the pier. I put "one" in quotation marks, because it was actually one of my cans of Diet Coke from my room, of which I broke off the tab, and then spent much longer than I'd wanted to forcing ice savings into the whole in the can, trying desperately not to re-cut the thumb on my left hand or make a new cut on the thumb of my right hand.

Once I got enough ice into the empty can, I put enough bourbon in it to make it a "half-and-half," and then poured Diet Coke from a new can into it. It's not easy saving money on drinks, and desperately trying to finish as much of a half-gallon of bourbon in a week.

But I digress…

We had some beautiful views of Seattle by night during this cruise and there was a jazz band entertaining us along the way.

At various times, Toni called various friends of hers over to visit with us for a few. More than once, a raucous enough outburst happened in our corner table that the rest of the group turned around to look our way.

All in all, a very fun time, and we (myself, Toni, Sarah, and Jen) all decided to walk back to the hotel, which was about a 15-minute uphill (both ways walk (in the snow), but quite manageable and some exercise after a big meal, to boot.