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Published Contribution to a Conference Proceeding:

Author(s) :


Churchill, E. F., & Bly, S.

Date of Publication :



Article Title :


It's all in the words: supporting work activities with lightweight tools

Editor(s) :


Hayne, S. C.

Editor Role :



Title of the Conference :


GROUP'99. Proceedings of the International ACM SIGGROUP Conference on Supporting Group Work. 14-17 Nov. 1999; Phoenix, AZ

Page(s) :



Place of Publication :


New York

Publisher Name :



Abstract :


The development of tools to support synchronous communications between non-collocated colleagues has received considerable attention in recent years. Much of the work has focused on increasing a sense of co-presence between interlocutors by supporting aspects of face-to-face conversations that go beyond mere words (e.g., gaze, postural shifts). In this regard, a design goal for many environments is the provision of as much media-richness as possible to support non-collocated communication. We present results from our most recent interviews studying the use of a text-based virtual environment to support work collaborations. We describe how such an environment, though lacking almost all the visual and auditory cues known to be important in face-to-face conversation, has played an important role in day-to-day communication. We offer a set of characteristics we feel are important to the success of this text-only tool and discuss issues emerging from its long-term use.

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