Visual histories of decision processes for collaborative decision making

Date created: 
Computer-supported cooperative work
Group decision making
Visual histories
Decision rationale capture

Remembering, understanding and reconstructing past activities is a necessary part of any learning, sense-making or decision making process. It is also essential for any collaborative activity. This dissertation investigates the design and evaluation of systems to support decision remembering, understanding and reconstruction by groups and individuals. By conducting three qualitative case studies of small professional groups, we identify the critical activities where history functionality is needed most and specify problems in collaboration and technology use. We construct a framework of key issues, concepts and observations that can serve as a basis for the design of systems to support histories for decision making and decision reconstruction. A tool for visual history in collaborative decision making may benefit from having the following features: a minimal commitment way to create records of history; support for sharing of tacit knowledge; providing the context of information; reducing clutter and user need to switch attention among the tools and environments; providing access to multiple sources of record within a single environment; providing users with cues and reminders; allowing users to create their own structures within the system; and supporting user agreements and storytelling. We suggest and defend specific design responses to the above mentioned framework. We reified several of these design ideas in an interactive prototype (the VH Prototype). A qualitative user study of the VH Prototype validates, refines and prioritizes the suggested design framework and shows possible real-world scenarios for how each of the design principles can support decision recording, remembering, understanding and reconstruction.

Document type: 
This thesis may be printed or downloaded for non-commercial research and scholarly purposes. Copyright remains with the author.
Robert Woodbury
Lyn Bartram
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Interactive Arts and Technology
Thesis type: 
(Dissertation) Ph.D.