Task Dependent Group Coupling and Territorial Behavior on Large Tiled Displays


Large display environments are highly suitable for immersive analytics. They provide enough space for effective co-located collaboration and allow users to immerse themselves in the data. To provide the best setting—in terms of visualization and interaction—for the collaborative analysis of a real-world task, we have to understand the group dynamics during the work on large displays. Among other things, we have to study, what effects different task conditions will have on user behavior. In this paper, we investigated the effects of task conditions on group behavior regarding collaborative coupling and territoriality during co-located collaboration on a wall-sized display. For that, we designed two tasks: a task that resembles the information foraging loop and a task that resembles the connecting facts activity. Both tasks represent essential sub-processes of the sensemaking process in visual analytics and cause distinct space/display usage conditions. The information foraging activity requires the user to work with individual data elements to look into details. Here, the users predominantly occupy only a small portion of the display. In contrast, the connecting facts activity requires the user to work with the entire information space. Therefore, the user has to overview the entire display. We observed 12 groups for an average of 2 h each and gathered qualitative data and quantitative data in the form of surveys, field notes, video recordings, tracking data, and system logs. During data analysis, we focused specifically on participants’ collaborative coupling (in particular, collaboration tightness, coupling styles, user roles, and task subdivision strategies) and territorial behavior. Our results both confirm and extend findings from the previous tabletop and wall-sized display studies. We could detect that participants tended to subdivide the task to approach it, in their opinion, in a more effective way, in parallel. We describe the subdivision strategies for both task conditions. We also detected and described multiple user roles, as well as a new coupling style that does not fit in either category: loosely or tightly. Moreover, we could observe a territory type that has not been mentioned previously in research. In our opinion, this territory type can affect the collaboration process of groups with more than two collaborators negatively. Finally, we investigated critical display regions in terms of ergonomics. We could detect that users perceived some regions as less comfortable for long-time work. The findings can be valuable for groupware interface design and development of group behavior models for analytical reasoning and decision making.