How Visual Co-Presence and Joint Attention Shape Collaboration and Speaking
Computer-mediated collaboration is supported by a wide variety of applications and ad hoc interfaces that enable varying degrees of perceptual co-presence between collaborators. Auditory co-presence (especially the ability to converse by speaking aloud) has been shown to be especially important for coordinating activity in real time, for conveying emphasis, and for face-management. Visual co-presence, on the other hand, seems to vary widely in its importance for collaboration, depending on the task and on which elements of the visual context are shared between collaborators. Previous research has found that some elements of visual co-presence (e.g., the ability to see what the other person is working on) appear to be much more important to collaborative tasks and to grounding in communication than others (e.g., the ability to see the other person's face). We will present laboratory studies that attempt to tease apart the elements of visual co-presence that support achieving a joint focus of attention, and consider how joint attention shapes collaboration and conversation.