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Community Bar: Designing for Informal Awareness and Casual Interaction

» MSc Thesis: Community Bar: Designing for Informal Awareness and Casual Interaction

Grego McEwan, University of Calgary
This thesis is the culmination of several years work on the Community Bar, a system supporting casual interaction within the Commons.

Abstract.
The Community Bar (CB) is groupware supporting informal awareness and casual interaction for small social groups of people with a common purpose. CB’s design supports how communities of ad-hoc and long-standing groups are built and sustained: by maintaining awareness of one another and being able to casually transition into interaction. I begin this thesis by deriving design guidelines for awareness and interaction, primarily based on a comprehensive sociological theory. I then describe how CB was implemented according to the guidelines. I also describe the architectural design that supports awareness and interaction within a distributed group, including an extensible plugin architecture allowing customisation of CB’s functionality. Finally, along with some colleagues, I conducted an in-depth field study of CB. We used results from this study to reflect upon the matches and mis-matches that occurred between the theoretical usage behaviour predicted by the design principles versus the actual usage behaviours observed in the deployed implementation.
For more information

McEwan, G. Community Bar: Designing for Informal Awareness and Casual Interaction. MSc Thesis, Department of Computer Science, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada T2N 1N4. September, 2006. Supervisor: Saul Greenberg

Contact Name saul.greenberg@ucalgary.ca

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Filed under: academic, thesis

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