10.0589 design of space

WILLARD MCCARTY (willard.mccarty@kcl.ac.uk)
Tue, 14 Jan 1997 22:24:37 +0000 (GMT)

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 10, No. 589.
Center for Electronic Texts in the Humanities (Princeton/Rutgers)
Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
Information at http://www.princeton.edu/~mccarty/humanist/

[1] From: Francois Lachance <lachance@chass.utoronto.ca> (25)
Subject: Multi HCI


The design of space intrigues me because of its import for the
interactions made possible and also hindered in the built environment.
I recently sat in on a computer applications workshop and I was struck
by the layout of the room. A language lab had been equipped with
terminials all lined in up in rows. My own subjective opinion rated
the quality of the interaction in this milieu as low. My comparator
was the memory of settings where the terminals were placed against the
walls allowing participants to form a semi-circle to face the larger
screen for instruction. I have also sat in lecture halls equipped with
e-presentation devices but, of course, without terminals at each place
in the audience. I believe the transformed language lab given its poor
site lines blocked contact between participants and workshop leader as
well as between particpants themselves. I observed less interaction
between participants than I did in spaces where the hands-on portion
of a workshop was clearly demarcated by an actual turning of the body
from the lecture or instruction session.

I would like to dub this the "horseshore hypothesis". I suspect
there may exist some literature on human-computer interaction in
multi-user and multi machine settings. I am sure there are anecdotes
to swap.

You yourself have introduced many different audiences to computers in
many different settings. Any insight as to the most propitious
physical setting.