Social Activity Indicators: Interface Components for CSCW Systems

TitleSocial Activity Indicators: Interface Components for CSCW Systems
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication1995
AuthorsAckerman, MS, Starr, B
Conference NameProceedings of the 8th Annual ACM Symposium on User Interface and Software Technology (UIST'95)
Keywordsawareness, human-computer interfaces, information systems, social activity, social UX, user interfaces, visualization

Knowing what social activity is occurring within and through a Computer-Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW) system is often very useful. This is especially true for computer-mediated communication systems such as chat and other synchronous applications. People will attend to these systems more closely when they know that there is interesting activity on them. Interface mechanisms for indicating social activity, however, are often ad-hoc, if present at all. This paper argues for the importance of displaying social activity as well as proposes a generalized mechanism for doing so. This social activity indication mechanism is built upon a new CSCW toolkit, the Cafe ConstructionKit, and the Cafe ConstructionKit provides a number of important facilities for making construction of these indicators easy and straight-forward. Accordingly, this paper presents both the Cafe ConstructionKit as a CSCW toolkit as well as a mechanism for creating activity indicators.