Expertise, collaboration and bandwidth

Alonso H. Vera, Thomas Kvan, Robert L. West, Man Kin Lai

Research output: Chapter in book / Conference proceedingConference article published in proceeding or bookAcademic researchpeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


This paper describes the results of a study evaluating the effects of computer mediation on collaboratively solving architectural design problems. Pairs of graduate design students were asked to work on a landscape architecture design problem via computer terminals. In one condition they were allowed to communicate with an electronic whiteboard and a chat-line while in the other, the chat-line was substituted with video-conferencing (real-time video and audio). The protocols were evaluated according to two models. First, they were coded according to the pattern of collaboration, distinguishing meta-planning, negotiation, evaluation, and individual work. No differences were found between the two groups when coded this way. The protocols were also coded in terms of the problem-solving content, distinguishing task-related exchanges, interface-related exchanges, low-level design exchanges, and high-level design exchanges. The results showed that in the bandwidth-limited chat-line condition, participants cut down task and interface-related as well as low-level design exchanges but attempted to maintain the same amount of high-level design exchanges. When the final designs were evaluated by professional architects, no differences were found between two conditions indicating that chat-line participants implicitly compensate for the narrower bandwidth interface.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationConference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Proceedings
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1998
Externally publishedYes
EventProceedings of the 1998 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI - Los Angeles, CA, United States
Duration: 18 Apr 199823 Apr 1998


ConferenceProceedings of the 1998 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityLos Angeles, CA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Computer Science
  • General Social Sciences


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