DocuViz

DocuViz is a visualization of the revision history in Google Docs.  Colors represent people, the size of the block represents the amount and placement of their contributions, with major additions noted by the opening whitespaces, and deletions as closing whitespaes.  One can also detect whether the edits of a particular section were done by the original author (in black) or another author (like the green entries in the blue section.  We have analyzed over 100 documents looking for new patterns of collaborative writing.  Of interest are the sessions where several people are typing at the same time.  We expected these sessions to have people filling in various separate sections.  While they do exhibit that pattern, they also show sessions where they are all on top of each other, working out the wording or set of ideas.
In addition, now that we can write simultaneously, we are looking at the new ways of working because of that ability.  For example, some people have written software documentation by bringing the key experts into a room, providing them with an outline, and having them all “bang on” the document for an extended set of time.  While the document at that point is not coherent, it is often complete enough for a technical editor to clean it up to make a good document, enough for other developers to read and understand in order to use or modify the software.  We are collecting examples like this of the new ways of getting things done–where meetings involve getting the work done, not just talking about it.
Publications of the Project: 
  • Yin, S., Wang, D., Olson, J. S., Vu, V., 7 Warschauer, M. (2017) Synchronous writing in the classroom: Undergraduates' collaborative practices and their impact on text quality, quantity, and style. Proceedings of the Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work, CSCW '17.
  • Voida, A., Olson, J. S., & Olson G. M. (2013) Turbulence in the Clouds: Challenges of cloud-based information work. Proceedings of the Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems.
  • Haines, J. K., Olson, J. S., & Olson, G. M. (2013) Here or there? How configuration of transnational teams impacts social capital. Proceedings of Interact 2013.
  • Bietz, M. J., Abrams, S., Cooper, D., Stevens, K. R., Puga, F., Patel, D., Olson, G. M., & Olson, J. S. (2012) Improving the odds through the Collaboration Success Wizard. Translational Behavioral Medicine, 2(4), 480-486.
  • Olson, J. S. & Kellogg, W. A. (Eds.) Ways of Knowing in HCI. Springer Publishing.
  • Olson, G. M., & Olson, J. S. (2015) Converging on theory from four sides. In D. Sonnenwald (Ed.) Theory Development in Information Science: Reflecting on the Process. University of Texas Press.
  • Wang, D., Olson, J. S., Zhang, J., Nguyen, T., & Olson, G.M. (2015) DocuViz: Visualizing collaborative writing. Proceedings of the 33rd Annual ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. 1854-1874.
  • Wang, D., Olson, J. S., Zhang, J., Nguyen, T., & Olson, G. M. (2015) How students collaboratively write using Google Docs. iConference Proceedings.
  • Olson, J. S. & Olson. G. M. (2014) How to make distance work work. ACM Interactions. March-April. 29i35
  • Olson, J. S., & Olson, G. M. (2014) Working Together Apart: Collaboration Over the Internet. Morgan Claypool Publishers.
  • Shih, P. C. and Olson, G. M. Using Visualization to Support Idea Generation in Context. ACM Creativity and Cognition 2009 Conference Workshop: Creativity and Cognition in Engineering Design (C&C '09).
  • Shih, P. C., Nguyen, D. H., Hirano, S. H., Redmiles, D. F., and Hayes, G. R. GroupMind: Supporting Brainstorming through a Collaborative Mind-mapping Tool. In Proceedings of the 2009 International ACM Conference on Supporting Group Work (GROUP '09).
  • Bos, N.D., Buyuktur, A., Olson, J.S., Olson G.M. & Voida, A. (2010). Shared identity helps partially distributed teams, but distance still matters. In Proc. Group 2010. New York: ACM Press.
  • Voida, A., Harmon, M.E. & Al-Ani, B. (2011). Homebrew databases: Complexities of everyday information management in nonprofit organizations. To appear in Proceedings of the ACM SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 2011). Vancouver, BC, May 7-12. New York: ACM Press. [CHI Best Paper Award Nominee]
  • Shih, P. C., Venolia, G., and Olson, G. M. Brainstorming Under Constraints - Why Software Developers Brainstorm in Groups. To Appear in British HCI 2011 (BCS-HCI '11).

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