A42. Fish, R., Kraut, R., Root, R. & Rice, R.E. (1993). Video as a technology for informal communication. Communications of the ACM, 36(1), 48-61.  Also: (1992). Evaluating video as a technology for informal communication.  In P. Bauersfeld, J. Bennett, & G. Lynch (Eds.), CHI'92: Human factors in computing systems (pp. 37-48). NY: ACM.


We have prototyped several video telephone systems over the past three years, one of which is now serving about 125 users on a daily basis. Our goal has been to devise new telecommunications applications to support collaboration among members of geographically distributed work groups and to use the insights derived from building these applications to identify communication capabilities that the applications require from a network infrastructure. The design process we use at Bellcore combines prototyping communication applications with behavioral and social science data collection and analyses. Our designs have often been motivated by theories of social interaction, and our evaluation techniques include both quantitative and qualitative methods to understand use of the systems and directions for change. To assess users’ need for telecommunications applications, we have conducted national surveys, telephone interviews, and field observations in diagnostic work settings. We prototyped, deployed, and evaluated three iterations of video telecommunications systems, trying to improve support for collaboration and the balance between privacy and accessibility.

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