Improving visibility of remote gestures in distributed tabletop collaboration
Collaborative distributed tabletop activities involving real objects are complicated by invisibility factors introduced into the workspace. In this paper, we propose a technique called "remote lag" to alleviate the problems caused by the invisibility of remote gestures. The technique provides people with instant playback of remote gestures to recover from the missed context of coordination. To examine the effects of the proposed technique, we studied four-person groups who engaged in two mentoring tasks using physical objects with and without remote lags. Our results show that remote lags effectively alleviated the invisibility problems, resulting in fewer questions/confirmations and redundant instructions during collaboration. The technique also decreased the overall workload of workers as well as the temporal demands for both helpers and workers.