|Abstract:||In today's workplace, there is a continual increase in the size and complexity of the problems that knowledge workers are challenged to solve. This often requires workers with different expertise to come together to collaboratively develop solutions. To facilitate these collaborations, workers often turn to the use of digital information tools (electronic documents, web applications, analysis packages, etc.). While these tools support individual tasks well, existing system frameworks do not provide adequate support for their use in collaborative contexts, limiting their effectiveness. Researchers in the CSCW and HCI communities have proposed the use of multiple display environments (MDEs) as one potential solution for improving collaboration that hinges on the use of digital information.
This dissertation contributes the design, implementation, and evaluation of a new interaction framework, called IMPROMPTU, which enables users to more effectively collaborate using MDEs. Central to the framework's effectiveness is its flexible application sharing services that enable simultaneous, multi-user sharing of unmodified off-the-shelf applications. The framework's novelty is further reinforced through its negotiated interaction model, providing users a natural and intuitive process for establishing and managing shared applications. We also demonstrate the value and impact of IMPROMPTU in one of the first field studies to investigate the use of MDEs in authentic task domains. The innovation in the framework stemmed from leveraging and integrating knowledge from fundamental theories of collaboration, understanding existing collaborative practices related to the use of MDEs, and applying principled HCI design techniques. The culmination of this work moves MDE research out of the laboratory and into the real-world, informing the design of future frameworks and improving how users collaborate while utilizing digital information tools.