University of the Arts London
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Rococo Project

posted on 2020-07-14, 13:44 authored by Stephen Scrivener
The long term aim of the ROCOCO (Remote Cooperation and COmmunication) project is the identification of the communication requirements of remotely sited designers working on a shared problem. The result will be a set of system design requirements which will facilitate the design of usable CSCW systems of the future. A basic premise of the research is that an increased understanding of the communication channel usage of designers working proximally is a prerequisite to the introduction of technologically based communication systems. Hence, the first phase of the ROCOCO project involved a study of face-to-face working. This study investigated pairs of designers engaged in predefined tasks regarded as being characteristic of the early stages of design. In these proximal studies, the designers sat opposite each other across a table. On the table between them was a pad of Al plain white paper on which they could both draw using their own pens. Six one-hour design sessions were performed in this environment. Each session was video- and audio recorded for later analysis. Observations and analysis lo have led to the formulation of hypotheses about the communication requirements of the setting studied. In the ROCOCO project the communication requirements of group design are being investigated in conditions where, typically, communication is impoverished. These experimental conditions are achieved by manipulating an electronic workspace and communication environment called the ROCOCO Station. The environment provides pairs of geographically separated designers with an eye-to-eye video-link, a high-quality audio-link and a shared drawing surface known as the ROCOCO Sketchpad. The ROCOCO Station When using the ROCOCO Station in a remote design session, each designer sits at their own terminal. The shared drawing surface is displayed on a large computer workstation screen in front of each of them. All interaction with it is via a digitizer and stylus. To one side of each computer workstation is a ‘VideoTunnel’ video-link containing a video monitor and camera. A head-and-shoulders image of the remote partner is displayed on the monitor. The VideoTunnel arrangement, developed by Smith et al.“, uses half-silvered glass and mirrors to allow eye contact to be made over the video-link. The designers wear lightweight headsets in order to communicate verbally. Our initial results have shown that working with the ROCOCO Station is very similar to working face-to-face. In the second phase of the ROCOCO project, four different configurations of the ROCOCO Station were being investigated. Three of these remove certain communication channels from use in a design session. One in separate rooms of the same building, the other during a long distance design session between Loughborough and Adelaide. The datAset currently available is of the four different configurations around a single design brief: Your client, a well known toy manufacturer, has come to an arrangement with a major Building Society in an attempt to get children to save more money. They have jointly decided that they will provide any investing family with a free money box. They have come to your design team for ideas for the design of this money box and are particularly interested in exploiting the movement or noise associated with coins. They do not want mere animal shapes, cartoon characters etc. They have not ruled out simple electronics if you think this is advantageous. You are asked to consider this area together with the implicit problems and to develop a response to it. You only have 55 minutes of time available for this exercise and the ‘client’ would like to see a fairly detailed proposal from your team by the deadline. You may find it necessary to consider the influence of materials, production, marketing or technologicaldetails in your development. Subjects were filmed separately and results were combined into split screen video tapes in order for the viewer to see the actions of the subjects simultaneously.


Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, Science and Engineering Research Council