- John C. Tang, Gina Venolia, and Kori M. Inkpen, Meerkat and Periscope: I Stream, You Stream, Apps Stream for Live Streams, ACM – Association for Computing Machinery, 7 May 2016.
We conducted a mixed methods study of the use of the Meerkat and Periscope apps for live streaming video and audio broadcasts from a mobile device. We crowdsourced a task to describe the content, setting, and other characteristics of 767 live streams. We also interviewed 20 frequent streamers to explore their motivations and experiences. Together, the data provide a snapshot of early live streaming use practices. We found a diverse range of activities broadcast, which interviewees said were used to build their personal brand. They described live streaming as providing an authentic, unedited view into their lives. They liked how the interaction with viewers shaped the content of their stream. We found some evidence for multiple live streams from the same event, which represent an opportunity for multiple perspectives on events of shared public interest.
- Carman Neustaedter, Gina Venolia, Jason Procyk, and Daniel Hawkins, To Beam or Not to Beam: A Study of Remote Telepresence Attendance at an Academic Conference, in Proceedings of the 19th ACM Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work & Social Computing, ACM, New York, NY, USA, February 2016.
Attending and presenting at conferences is a core part of academic and industrial research. Yet it can sometimes be challenging to attend conferences due to travel restrictions, time limitations, or accessibility challenges. To understand how people may be able to attend conferences remotely, we explored the use of commercial telepresence robots called Beams at Ubicomp/ISWC 2014. Seven people attended the conference remotely and used Beams to attend presentations, ask questions, and participate in break mingling activities. We collected data of their activities and conducted an online survey with the broader set of conference attendees. Results show that telepresence robots supported attendance at a basic level and even empowered those with accessibility challenges. However, issues related to identity, interaction, navigation, and privacy emerged. We present recommendations for future telepresence attendance at conferences focused on balancing these concerns with the benefits participants received.
- Gina Venolia, John C. Tang, and Kori Inkpen, SeeSaw: I See You Saw My Video Message (Best Paper Award), ACM – Association for Computing Machinery, 24 August 2015.
We developed a prototype called SeeSaw that explored using reaction video and auto reply to create an engaging video messaging experience. When viewing a video message, reaction video captures a video of the viewer’s reaction to share back with the message sender. After finishing viewing the video message, auto reply immediately begins recording the viewer’s response. A pilot study found that SeeSaw evoked conversational and authentic interactions, even though the messages were captured remotely and asynchronously. A follow-up comparative lab study found that reaction video encouraged a more conversational exchange, while both features together enhanced the authenticity of the experience. Although participants preferred the reaction video only condition, they perceived that the reaction video plus auto reply condition combined the conversationality of a video call with the flexibility of asynchronous messaging.
- Irene Rae, Bilge Mutlu, Gary M. Olson, Judith S. Olson, Leila Takayama, and Gina Venolia, Everyday Telepresence: Emerging Practices and Future Research Directions, in CHI 2015 Extended Abstracts, ACM – Association for Computing Machinery, 18 April 2015.
As network availability becomes ubiquitous, users are leveraging this access to establish their presence in remote locations through the use of commercially available telepresence technologies. With the increasing adoption of systems, new questions are emerging about how these technologies affect user interactions and relationships. Our goal for this workshop is to bring an interdisciplinary group of telepresence researchers together to trade perspectives, fostering new opportunities for collaboration and to facilitate discussion on how to advance the field.
- Irene Rae, Gina Venolia, John C. Tang, and David Molnar, A Framework for Understanding and Designing Telepresence, in Proc. CSCW 2015, ACM – Association for Computing Machinery, 14 March 2015.
As a field, telepresence has grown to include a wide range of systems, from multi-view videoconferencing units to humanlike androids. However, the diversity of systems and research makes it difficult to form a holistic understanding of where the field stands. We propose a framework consisting of seven design dimensions for understanding telepresence, iteratively developed from previous literature, a series of three surveys, the construction of two design probes, and a field study. These design dimensions uniquely categorize 17 telepresence scenarios. In this work, we explain our development process, describe our design dimensions— initiation, physical environment, mobility, vision, social environment, communication, and independence—as well as our scenarios, and demonstrate the use of our framework as a tool to (1) highlight opportunities for future work, (2) identify generalizable findings from research, and (3) facilitate communication in the telepresence community.
- john tang, sasa junuzovic, kori inkpen, and gina venolia, Techniques for Studying Actual Usage of Personal Communication Prototypes, Elsevier, January 2015.
Developing new prototypes for supporting personal communication raises many challenges in studying them in actual usage. Personal communication tools are often only used with specific people (i.e., close friends and relatives), and often rely on the context of the home or other locations of personal interest. Thus, these prototypes are not readily studied in the lab with strangers. We report on three methods we have employed to study how social communication prototypes are used out in the wild. One method was to embed ourselves along with a prototype into an intact social group. Another method was to observe the use of a prototype in shared activities happening outside the home whenever and wherever the activities occurred. The third method was to passively capture shared experiences that people do on their own time and analyze them at a later point. We reflect on our experiences and the opportunities and challenges that we have identified in this research area.
- Azadeh Forghani, Gina Venolia, and Kori Inkpen, Media2gether: Sharing Media during a Call, in ACM Group 2014, ACM, 11 November 2014.
Telephone calls and videoconferencing are ubiquitous parts of everyday life. As the content of the call may extend beyond just words, people share applications and media using techniques such as screen sharing and email attachments. Little is known about the prevalence of this behavior and the benefits it can provide. We conducted a survey and a lab study to examine media sharing during a video call and found that it can be useful as well as emotionally engaging. Participants indicated that they would be more likely to have more frequent and longer calls if media sharing were easy. Overall, this work demonstrates the importance of exploring communication media that augment and enrich our everyday activities.
- Meredith Ringel Morris, Kori Inkpen Quinn, and Gina Venolia, Remote Shopping Advice: Enhancing In-Store Shopping with Social Technologies, in Proceedings of CSCW 2014, ACM, February 2014.
Consumers shopping in “brick-and-mortar” (non-virtual) stores often use their mobile phones to consult with others about potential purchases. Via a survey (n = 200), we detail current practices in seeking remote shopping advice. We then consider how emerging social platforms, such as social networking sites and crowd labor markets, could offer rich next-generation remote shopping advice experiences. We conducted a field experiment in which shoppers shared photographs of potential purchases via MMS, Facebook, and Mechanical Turk. Paid crowdsourcing, in particular, proved surprisingly useful and influential as a means of augmenting in-store shopping. Based on our findings, we offer design suggestions for next-generation remote shopping advice systems.
- Gina Venolia, Tom Erickson, John Tang, Ben Mazza, and Susan C. Herring, Lifestyle Teleworkers Speak Out! , in CSCW 2014 Extended Abstracts, ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work, February 2014.
This panel brings together HCI researchers who are primarily remote workers, in order to discuss their technological solutions and social practices. We aim for an engaging, fun, and informative discussion appropriate for researchers interested in remote collaboration and computer-mediated communication.
- Anna Macaranas, Gina Venolia, Kori Inkpen, and John Tang, Sharing Experiences over Video: Watching Video Programs Together at a Distance, in Proc. INTERACT 2013, Springer, September 2013.
While video communication is becoming quite popular among remote friends and family, recent usage practices have been extending beyond just talking heads to remotely sharing an experience by doing an activity together. However, current video chat tools are aimed at sharing talking heads and need to be reconsidered to support remotely sharing activities. We explore a specific remote shared activity – watching video programs – through a three-phase study. We surveyed people’s interest in watching video together, studied how people currently watch together in their homes, and compared different conditions for watching together in the lab. Our work explored people’s current and desired practices, interactions, and technical implementations. We present our findings in themes that provide in-sights for designing systems that better support using video-mediated communication to share watching videos together over distance. We found that remotely watching video programs together while connected by video-mediated communication is engaging, fun, and fosters social bonds between the participants, and that these results are stronger with increased fidelity of the communication media.
- John C. Tang, Robert Xiao, Aaron Hoff, Gina Venolia, Patrick Therien, and Asta Roseway, HomeProxy: Exploring a Physical Proxy for Video Communication in the Home, in ACM Conference on Human Computer Interaction (CHI 2013), ACM Conference on Human Computer Interaction Paris, 2013, April 2013.
HomeProxy is a research prototype that explores supporting video communication in the home among distributed family members through a physical proxy. It leverages a physical artifact dedicated to representing remote family members to make it easier to share activities with them. HomeProxy combines a form factor designed for the home environment with a “no-touch” user experience and an interface that responsively transitions between recorded and live video messages. We designed and implemented a prototype and conducted a pilot study with eight pairs of users. Our study demonstrated the challenges of a no-touch interface and the promise of offering quick video messaging in the home.
- Kori Inkpen, Brett Taylor, Sasa Junuzovic, John C. Tang, and Gina Venolia, Experiences2Go: Sharing Kids' Activities Outside the Home with Remote Family Members (Best Paper Nomination), in CSCW 2013, ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work, February 2013.
Video communication is moving beyond face-to-face discussions on desktop computers to sharing experiences out in the real world. We explored how mobile video could enable distributed family members to share experiences wherever they occurred – kids’ sporting events, birthday parties, etc. We investigated how people used two technology probes to share activities outside the home: an iPad running Skype and our Experiences2Go prototype composed of a networked slate and a camcorder on a tripod. We observed their use in the field with nine families and explored the impact that their mobility, optical zoom, and multiple view features had on sharing the experience. We identified four sets of stakeholders in sharing experiences, the variety of sharing scenarios enabled, and reactions to the features that each probe offered, leading to design considerations for future mobile shared experience systems.
- Jed R. Brubaker, Gina Venolia, and John C. Tang, Focusing on Shared Experiences: Moving beyond the camera in video communication, in Proc. DIS 2012, ACM, June 2012.
Even with the investment of significant resources, video communication in professional settings has not gained mass appeal. This contrasts with the consumer space where, despite limited resources and low quality solutions, services such as Skype have seen widespread adoption. In this paper, we explore the behavior and attitudes of individuals who actively use video communication in both their personal and professional lives. We highlight similarities and differences across these two domains, with particular focus on the interpersonal relationships, spaces, and activities that each domain supports and enables. We conclude by discussing how our study leads to a new perspective that focuses on the shared experiences enabled by video communication.
- Jeremy T. Barksdale, Kori Inkpen, Mary Czerwinski, Aaron Hoff, Paul Johns, Asta Roseway, and Gina Venolia, Video Threads: Asynchronous Video Sharing for Temporally Distributed Teams, in CSCW 2012, ACM, February 2012.
Work teams are often geographically distributed, and in some cases, experience large time-zone differences with no overlap in working hours. We explored the use of asynchronous video in temporally distributed teams. We developed VideoThreads, which provides a novel thread-based visualization of video messages. Based on a deployment to four teams, we offer design recommendations and insights about the benefits of asynchronous video sharing.
- Jagoda Walny, Sheelagh Carpendale, Nathalie Henry Riche, Gina Venolia, and Phillip Fawcett, Visual Thinking In Action: Visualizations As Used On Whiteboards, in IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics, vol. 17, no. 12, pp. 2508-2517, IEEE, December 2011.
While it is still most common for information visualization researchers to develop new visualizations from a data-or taskdriven perspective, there is growing interest in understanding the types of visualizations people create by themselves for personal use. As part of this recent direction, we have studied a large collection of whiteboards in a research institution, where people make active use of combinations of words, diagrams and various types of visuals to help them further their thought processes. Our goal is to arrive at a better understanding of the nature of visuals that are created spontaneously during brainstorming, thinking, communicating, and general problem solving on whiteboards. We use the qualitative approaches of open coding, interviewing, and affinity diagramming to explore the use of recognizable and novel visuals, and the interplay between visualization and diagrammatic elements with words, numbers and labels. We discuss the potential implications of our findings on information visualization design.
- David Sirkin, Gina Venolia, John Tang, George Robertson, Taemie Kim, Kori Inkpen, Mara Sedlins, Bongshin Lee, and Mike Sinclair, Motion and Attention in a Kinetic Videoconferencing Proxy, in Interact 2011, Springer, 7 September 2011.
Compared to collocated interaction, videoconferencing disrupts the ability to use gaze and gestures to mediate interaction, direct reactions to specific people, and provide a sense of presence for the satellite (i.e., remote) participant. We developed a kinetic videoconferencing proxy with a swiveling display screen to indicate which direction that the satellite participant was looking. Our goal was to compare two alternative motion control conditions, in which the satellite participant directed the display screen’s motion either explicitly (aiming the direction of the display with a mouse) or implicitly (with the screen following the satellite participant’s head turns). We then explored the effectiveness of this prototype compared to a typical stationary video display in a lab study. We found that both motion conditions resulted in communication patterns that indicate higher engagement in conversation, more accurate responses to the satellite participant’s deictic questions (i.e., “What do you think?”), and higher user rankings. We also discovered tradeoffs in attention and clarity between explicit versus implicit control, a tension in how motion toward one person can exclude other people, and ways that swiveling motion provides attention awareness, even without direct eye contact.
- Patrick C. Shih, Gina Venolia, and Gary M. Olson, Brainstorming under constraints: why software developers brainstorm in groups, in Proceedings of the 25th BCS Conference on Human-Computer Interaction, British Computer Society, Swinton, UK, UK, 2011.
Group brainstorming is widely adopted as a design method in the domain of software development. However, existing brainstorming literature has consistently proven group brainstorming to be ineffective under the controlled laboratory settings. Yet, electronic brainstorming systems informed by the results of these prior laboratory studies have failed to gain adoption in the field because of the lack of support for group well-being and member support. Therefore, there is a need to better understand brainstorming in the field. In this work, we seek to understand why and how brainstorming is actually practiced, rather than how brainstorming practices deviate from formal brainstorming rules, by observing brainstorming meetings at Microsoft. The results of this work show that, contrary to the conventional brainstorming practices, software teams at Microsoft engage heavily in the constraint discovery process in their brainstorming meetings. We identified two types of constraints that occur in brainstorming meetings. Functional constraints are requirements and criteria that define the idea space, whereas practical constraints are limitations that prioritize the proposed solutions.
- Margaret M. Burnett, Scott D. Fleming, Shamsi T. Iqbal, Gina Venolia, Vidya Rajaram, Umer Farooq, Valentina Grigoreanu, and Mary Czerwinski, Gender differences and programming environments across programming populations., ACM ESEM , September 2010.
Although there has been significant research into gender regarding educational and workplace practices, there has been little investigation of gender differences pertaining to problem solving with programming tools and environments. As a result, there is little evidence as to what role gender plays in programming tools—and what little evidence there is has involved mainly novice and enduser programmers in academic studies. This paper therefore investigates how widespread such phenomena are in industrial programming situations, considering three disparate programming populations involving almost 3000 people and three different programming platforms in industry. To accomplish this, we analyzed four industry “legacy” studies from a gender perspective, triangulating results against each other and against a new fifth study, also in industry. We investigated gender differences in software feature usage and in tinkering/exploring software features. Furthermore, we examined how such differences tied to confidence. Our results showed significant gender differences in all three factors—across all populations and platforms.
- Robert DeLine, Gina Venolia, and Kael Rowan, Software Development with Code Maps, in Communications of the ACM, vol. 53, no. 8, pp. 48-54, Association for Computing Machinery, Inc., 4 July 2010.
Could those ubiquitous hand-drawn code diagrams become a thing of the past? (NOTE: Also appears in ACM Queue 8:7, Aug 2010.)
- Gina Venolia, John Tang, Ruy Cervantes, Sara Bly, George Robertson, Bongshin Lee, and Kori Inkpen, Embodied Social Proxy: Mediating Interpersonal Connection in Hub-and-Satellite Teams, in Proceedings of CHI 2010, Association for Computing Machinery, Inc., April 2010.
Current business conditions have given rise to distributed teams that are mostly collocated except for one remote member. These “hub-and-satellite” teams face the challenge of the satellite colleague being out-of-sight and out-of-mind. We developed a telepresence device, called an Embodied Social Proxy (ESP), which represents the satellite coworker 24x7. Beyond using ESPs in our own group, we deployed an ESP in four product teams within our company for six weeks. We studied how ESP was used through ethnographic observations, surveys, and usage log data. ESP not only increased the satellite worker’s ability to fully participate in meetings, it also increased the hub’s attention and affinity towards the satellite. The continuous physical presence of ESP in each team improved the interpersonal social connections between hub and satellite colleagues.
- Gina Venolia, John Tang, Ruy Cervantes, Sara Bly, George Robertson, Bongshin Lee, Kori Inkpen, and Steven Drucker, Embodied Social Proxy: Connecting Hub-and-Satellite Teams, in Proceedings of CSCW 2010, Microsoft Research, February 2010.
Current business conditions have given rise to a particular kind of distributed team that is mostly collocated except for one remote member. These “hub-and-satellite” teams face the challenge of leaving the satellite colleague out-of-sight and out-of-mind. We developed a telepresence device, called an Embodied Social Proxy (ESP), which represents the satellite worker in collaborations with hub colleagues. ESP serves as a consistent video conferencing terminal for the satellite that can be moved to wherever meetings occur. Our studies of teams using ESP in their daily work show that its continuous physical presence improved the interpersonal connections between hub and satellite colleagues.
- Gina Venolia, Five Attempts at Spatializing Code, Microsoft, 9 July 2009.
Our group has had a longstanding design intuition that a stable, spatial representation of code could benefit software developers. A code "map" could help a developer stay oriented in code, see relationships and other overlays, and provide a common artifact to anchor developers' conversations. We have done a series of tools and studies around the idea. I will describe these systems, highlighting our understanding of spatial code has evolved, and finish with a demo of Code Canvas, our latest prototype.
This was an invited talk at IBM Almaden's New Paradigms in Using Computers (NPUC) 2009 (www.almaden.ibm.com/cs/user/npuc2009/). The theme was The Future of Design and Software Development. Video of the talk is available at http://vimeo.com/5626991.
- Andrew Sutherland and Gina Venolia, Can Peer Code Reviews be Exploited for Later Information Needs?, in Proc. ICSE 2009, IEEE, May 2009.
Code reviews have proven to be an effective means of improving overall software quality. During the review, there is an exchange of knowledge between the code author and reviewer that concerns the code being reviewed. We performed a study that looked at the code review practices of software product teams at Microsoft. The study results indicated that code reviews are a point at which design rationale is explicitly stated, but that retention and recovery of this information is not well supported in the current environment. The results also indicated that code reviews in collocated development environments such as Microsoft use a mix of face-to-face and electronic communication.
- Jorge Aranda and Gina Venolia, The Secret Life of Bugs: Going Past the Errors and Omissions in Software Repositories, in Proc. ICSE 2009, IEEE, May 2009.
Every bug has a story behind it. The people that discover and resolve it need to coordinate, to get information from documents, tools, or other people, and to navigate through issues of accountability, ownership, and organizational structure. This paper reports on a field study of coordination activities around bug fixing that used a combination of case study research and a survey of software professionals. Results show that the histories of even simple bugs are strongly dependent on social, organizational, and technical knowledge that cannot be solely extracted through automation of electronic repositories, and that such automation provides incomplete and often erroneous accounts of coordination. The paper uses rich bug histories and survey results to identify common bug fixing coordination patterns and to provide implications for tool designers and researchers of coordination in software development.
- A.J. Bernheim Brush, Brian R. Meyers, James Scott, and Gina Venolia, Exploring Awareness Needs and Information Display Preferences Between Coworkers, in CHI 2009 Proceedings, Association for Computing Machinery, Inc., April 2009.
Technology makes it possible to share many different types of information with coworkers. We conducted a large-scale survey (N=549) to better understand current sharing among oworkers, how people stay aware of collocated and remote coworkers, and whether their willingness to share different types of awareness information changes based on the location in which the information is displayed. Contrary to our expectations, the display location did not greatly affect what respondents were willing to share. Our results also suggest considerations for researchers building situated displays, as respondents had concerns about unintended viewers and encouraging people to visit their personal space when they were not present.
- Guy Shani, Christopher Meek, Tim Paek, Bo Thiesson, and Gina Danielle Venolia, Searching large indexes on tiny devices: Optimizing binary search with character pinning, in Proc. IUI 2009, Association for Computing Machinery, Inc., February 2009.
The small physical size of mobile devices imposes dramatic restrictions on the user interface (UI). With the ever increasing capacity of these devices as well as access to large online stores it becomes increasingly important to help the user select a particular item efficiently. Thus, we propose binary search with character pinning, where users can constrain their search to match selected prefix characters while making simple binary decisions about the position of their intended item in the lexicographic order. The underlying index for our method is based on a ternary search tree that is optimal under certain user-oriented constraints. To better scale to larger indexes, we analyze several heuristics that rapidly construct good trees. A user study demonstrates that our method helps users conduct rapid searches, using less keystrokes, compared to other methods.
- Gary M. Olson, Judith S. Olson, and Gina Venolia, What Still Matters about Distance?, in Proceedings of HCIC 2009, February 2009.
At the tenth anniversary workshop of the Human-Computer Interaction Consortium the Olsons reflected on the past, present, and future of the role that geographical distance plays in the work of teams (subsequently published as Olson & Olson, 2000). A decade has passed, filled with research and technology development relevant to the issues raised in that paper. Indeed, the 555 Google Scholar citations of the “Distance Matters” paper are a good entry point to much of this research. Our current goal is to review where things stand with respect to these challenges after a decade of activity, reflecting on both the current situation but again looking at the prospects for the future of distributed team work.
- Thomas Finholt, James Herbsleb, Gary Olson, Judy Olson, Anita Sarma, Bhargav Sriprakash, Gina Venolia, and Patrick Wagstrom, CSCW Workshop: Supporting Distributed Team Work, 9 November 2008.
Geographically distributed teams and virtual organizations are commonplace today. However, coordination in such settings is problematic, especially for tasks that involve closely-coupled work. Despite extensive research in coordination in distributed teams, the common wisdom is that highly interdependent tasks benefit greatly from collocation. However, collocation may be impractical in corporations or open production systems (e.g., open-source software, Wikipedia). Evidence suggests that radical collocation, i.e. an open-plan team room, can further aid collaboration. We lack a detailed understanding of fine-grained task dependencies that occur in closely coupled work and the mechanisms by which radical collocation can moderate those effects. Consequently, there exist no alternatives to collocation to avoid coordination breakdowns when tasks are tightly linked. This workshop seeks to understand the barriers and solutions for closely-coupled work by fully- and partially-distributed teams and to chart solutions motivated by studies of collocation and radical collocation.
- Gina Venolia, Can We Make "Distance Matter" Less?, October 2008.
Geographically distributed teams are increasingly common, yet present several challenges when compared to collocated teams – or as Judy and Gary Olson famously observed, "distance matters." Our studies of collocated and distributed software development teams have revealed challenges in four key activities: communication in planned meetings, ad-hoc conversations, staying aware of teammates and their work, and building trust relationships between teammates. I will present observations of how collocated teammates do each of these activities, the special problems faced by remote teammates, and how remote teammates mitigate these challenges. I will identify several opportunities where new tools could make the remote experience more like – or even better than – the collocated experience, and go into detail on one potential design.
- Li-te Cheng, Cleidson de Souza, Yvonne Dittrich, Orit Hazzan, Frank Maurer, Michael John, Helen Sharp, Jonathan Sillito, Susan Sim, Janice Singer, Margaret-Anne Storey, Bjørnar Tessem, and Gina Venolia, Cooperative and human aspects of software engineering (CHASE 2008), in ICSE Companion '08: Companion of the 30th international conference on Software engineering, ACM, New York, NY, USA, May 2008.
- Dan Morris, Meredith Ringel Morris, and Gina Venolia, SearchBar: A Search-Centric Web History for Task Resumption and Information Re-finding, in CHI 2008 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, April 2008.
Current user interfaces for Web search, including browsers and search engine sites, typically treat search as a transient activity. However, people often conduct complex, multi-query investigations that may span long durations and may be interrupted by other tasks. In this paper, we first present the results of a survey of users' search habits, which show that many search tasks span long periods of time. We then introduce SearchBar, a system for proactively and persistently storing query histories, browsing histories, and users' notes and ratings in an interrelated fashion. SearchBar supports multi-session investigations by assisting with task context resumption and information re-finding. We describe a user study comparing use of SearchBar to status-quo tools such as browser histories, and discuss our findings, which show that users find SearchBar valuable for task reacquisition. Our study also reveals the strategies employed by users of status-quo tools for handling multi-query, multi-session search tasks.
- Gina Venolia, Backstory: A Search Tool for Software Developers Supporting Scalable Sensemaking, no. MSR-TR-2008-13, January 2008.
Software developers have many information needs which could be answered using the various repositories at their disposal, but they underutilize these knowledge resources for a variety of good reasons. Backstory is a search tool for software developers aimed at addressing those reasons, and so to improve knowledge flow among teammates. This paper presents as background the results of a survey of developers’ current search habits and desires for a new tool. A case study of root-cause analysis is also presented, which informs the design of Backstory and adds detail to an accepted model of sensemaking. The Backstory UI is described with respect to the needs identified in the survey and user study. Finally, the Backstory UI design suggests that a tool can support sensemaking in such a way that it’s not intimidating or distracting for simple investigations, yet has mechanisms that the user may employ incrementally as the complexity of an investigation increases – a characteristic referred to here as scalable sensemaking .
- Mauro Cherubini, Gina Venolia, and Rob DeLine, Building an Ecologically-valid, Large-scale Diagram to Help Developers Stay Oriented in Their Code, in VLHCC '07: Proceedings of the IEEE Symposium on Visual Languages and Human-Centric Computing, IEEE Computer Society, Washington, DC, USA, September 2007.
This paper presents the creation, deployment, and evaluation of a large-scale, spatially-stable, paper-based visualization of a software system. The visualization was created for a single team, who were involved systematically in its initial design and subsequent design iterations. The evaluation indicates that the visualization supported the "onboarding" scenario but otherwise failed to realize the research team's expectations. We present several lessons learned, and cautions to future research into largescale, spatially-stable visualizations of software systems.
- Mauro Cherubini, Gina Venolia, Rob DeLine, and Andrew J. Ko, Let's go to the whiteboard: how and why software developers use drawings, in CHI '07: Proceedings of the SIGCHI conference on Human factors in computing systems, Association for Computing Machinery, Inc., New York, NY, USA, May 2007.
Software developers are rooted in the written form of their code, yet they often draw diagrams representing their code. Unfortunately, we still know little about how and why they create these diagrams, and so there is little research to inform the design of visual tools to support developers' work. This paper presents findings from semi-structured interviews that have been validated with a structured survey. Results show that most of the diagrams had a transient nature because of the high cost of changing whiteboard sketches to electronic renderings. Diagrams that documented design decisions were often externalized in these temporary drawings and then subsequently lost. Current visualization tools and the software development practices that we observed do not solve these issues, but these results suggest several directions for future research.
- Andrew J. Ko, Robert DeLine, and Gina Venolia, Information Needs in Collocated Software Development Teams, in ICSE '07: Proceedings of the 29th international conference on Software Engineering, IEEE Computer Society, Washington, DC, USA, May 2007.
Previous research has documented the fragmented nature of software development work. To explain this in more detail, we analyzed software developers' day-to-day information needs. We observed seventeen developers at a large software company and transcribed their activities in 90-minute sessions. We analyzed these logs for the information that developers sought, the sources that they used, and the situations that prevented information from being acquired. We identified twenty-one information types and cataloged the outcome and source when each type of information was sought. The most frequently sought information included awareness about artifacts and coworkers. The most often deferred searches included knowledge about design and program behavior, such as why code was written a particular way, what a program was supposed to do, and the cause of a program state. Developers often had to defer tasks because the only source of knowledge was unavailable coworkers.
- Gina Venolia, Meredith Ringel Morris, and Dan Morris, Exploring and investigating: Supporting high-level search activities, no. MSR-TR-2007-05, January 2007.
Much work has been done to improve search as an isolated act, yet little has been done to understand search as it relates to higher-level patterns of behavior, or to develop user interfaces to support these patterns. In this paper, we analyze exploratory and investigative search processes that involve performing several related searches over a period of time. We then discuss requirements for interfaces to support these tasks, and describe three prototype systems.
- Li-Te Cheng, Anthony Cox, Rob DeLine, Cleidson de Souza, Kevin Schneider, Janice Singer, Margaret-Anne Storey, and Gina Venolia, Proceedings of Supporting the Social Side of Large-scale Software Development, a CSCW Workshop, Microsoft Research, November 2006.
- Robert DeLine, Mary Czerwinski, Brian Meyers, Gina Venolia, Steven Drucker, and George Robertson, Code Thumbnails: Using Spatial Memory to Navigate Source Code, in VLHCC '06: Proceedings of the Visual Languages and Human-Centric Computing, IEEE Computer Society, Washington, DC, USA, September 2006.
Modern development environments provide many features for navigating source code, yet recent studies show the developers still spend a tremendous amount of time just navigating. Since existing navigation features rely heavily on memorizing symbol names, we present a new design, called Code Thumbnails, intended to allow a developer to navigate source code by forming a spatial memory of it. To aid intra-file navigation, we add a thumbnail image of the file to the scrollbar, which makes any part of the file one click away. To aid interfile navigation, we provide a desktop of file thumbnail images, which make any part of any file one click away. We did a formative evaluation of the design with eleven experienced developers and present the results.
- Gina Danielle Venolia, Textual Allusions to Artifacts in Software-related Repositories, no. MSR-TR-2006-73, May 2006.
Much of what is written about a software project is soon forgotten. Software repositories are full of valuable information about the project: Bug descriptions, check-in messages, email and newsgroup archives, specifications, design documents, product documentation, and product support logs contain a wealth of information that can potentially help software developers resolve crucial questions about the history, rationale, and future plans for source code. For a variety of reasons, developers rarely turn to these resources when trying to answer these questions. We are building a suite of tools to reduce the barriers to accessing these resources: browse, full-text search, artifact-based search, and implicit search. All these tools depend on an index that represents software-related artifacts and, crucially, the relationships among them. The quality of each tool is directly related to the quality and quantity of the relationships in the index. This paper discusses an extensible architecture for representing and provisioning artifacts and relationships among them. The artifacts and relationships form a typed graph. The graph is provisioned from structured data sources, structured files, and textual allusions to artifacts. Allusions are shown to contribute a significant portion of the relationships represented in the graph and to be at least partly responsible for causing the graph to be a scale-free network, cutting across the data source boundaries and increasing the “small world-ness” of the graph.
- Thomas D. LaToza, Gina Venolia, and Robert DeLine, Maintaining mental models: a study of developer work habits, in ICSE '06: Proceedings of the 28th international conference on Software engineering, ACM, New York, NY, USA, May 2006.
To understand developers' typical tools, activities, and practices and their satisfaction with each, we conducted two surveys and eleven interviews. We found that many problems arose because developers were forced to invest great effort recovering implicit knowledge by exploring code and interrupting teammates and this knowledge was only saved in their memory. Contrary to expectations that email and IM prevent expensive task switches caused by face-to-face interruptions, we found that face-to-face communication enjoys many advantages. Contrary to expectations that documentation makes understanding design rationale easy, we found that current design documents are inadequate. Contrary to expectations that code duplication involves the copy and paste of code snippets, developers reported several types of duplication. We use data to characterize these and other problems and draw implications for the design of tools for their solution.
- Gina Danielle Venolia, Combining node-and-link graph rendering with a timeline for sensemaking in software development repositories, no. MSR-TR-2006-75, April 2006.
This paper describes an index over communication artifacts related to software development, and proposes a system for visualizing and browsing that combines aspects of a node-and-link graph rendering with a lifespan timeline, to support sensemaking in root-cause analysis of software development failures.
- Gina Venolia, Textual allusions to artifacts in software-related repositories, in MSR '06: Proceedings of the 2006 international workshop on Mining software repositories, Association for Computing Machinery, Inc., New York, NY, USA, 2006.
Much of what is written about a software project is soon forgotten. Software repositories are full of valuable information about the project: Bug descriptions, check-in messages, email and newsgroup archives, specifications, design documents, product documentation, and product support logs contain a wealth of information that can potentially help software developers resolve crucial questions about the history, rationale, and future plans for source code. For a variety of reasons, developers rarely turn to these resources when trying to answer these questions. We are building a full-text search that encompasses multiple repositories. To effectively implement full-text search in the absence of hyperlinks we propose detecting textual allusions to software artifacts in natural-language prose. Allusions are shown to contribute a significant portion of the relationships represented in the graph.
- Gina D. Venolia, Robert DeLine, and Thomas LaToza, Software Development at Microsoft Observed, no. MSR-TR-2005-140, October 2005.
To understand Microsoft developers’ typical tools and work habits and their level of satisfaction with these, we performed two surveys and eleven interviews with developers across all business divisions. This report provides a summary of the resulting data. From the set of potential problems we gave them, the top three that Microsoft developers agree they have are: understanding the rationale behind a piece of code (66%); having to switch tasks often because of requests from teammates or managers (62%); and being aware of changes to code elsewhere that impact their own code (61%). The most notable take-away from the data is that developers go to great lengths to create and maintain rich mental models of code and don’t rely on external representations. The mental nature of these models requires frequent, disruptive, face-to-face meetings to keep individuals’ models in sync, which greatly slow the rate at which a newcomer to a team can become productive. These interruptions also burden more senior development team members, as they have to recover what they were doing in the code following the interruption from team members.
- Gina Venolia, Bridges Between Silos: A Microsoft Research Project, January 2005.
Enterprise data is locked away in silos. As a result people spend too much time looking for information – or they spend too little and make decisions based on incomplete information. The simplest remedy is to pull all the silos into a common full-text search index, but doing so realizes only part of the opportunity. The rest lies in automatically finding and representing the relationships among the objects in the index. Relationships take many forms, ranging from schematized references to allusions in text. All these relationships can be recorded in the index, thus combining structured, semi-structured, and unstructured relationships together in a normalized representation, forming bridges between data silos. The result is a graph, which makes it possible to make queries like “find all x’s related to y.” For example the graph could be used to find all the people or discussions related to a particular method. The graph is stored in a SQL-based search index that also has a rich notion of time and history. The index is exposed to the user in three ways: a search portal, an implicit query sidebar, and object-based search commands in client applications. The index improves search in several ways, allowing for richer filtering, scoring, and search results presentation. These ideas can turn siloed data into working knowledge, making the enterprise work more efficiently.
- Gina D. Venolia and Carman Neustaedter, Understanding Sequence and Reply Relationships within Email Conversations: A Mixed-Model Visualization, no. MSR-TR-2002-102, January 2003.
It has been proposed that email clients could be improved if they presented messages grouped into conversations. An email conversation is the tree of related messages that arises from the use of the reply operation. We propose two models of conversation. The first model characterizes a conversation as a chronological sequence of messages; the second as a tree based on the reply relationship. We show how existing email clients and prior research projects implicitly support each model to a greater or lesser degree depending on their design, but none fully supports both models simultaneously. We present a mixed-model visualization that simultaneously presents sequence and reply relationships among the messages of a conversation, making both visible at a glance. We describe the integration of the visualization into a working prototype email client. A user study indicates that the system meets our usability goals and verifies that the visualization fully conveys both types of relationships within the messages of an email conversation.
- Laura Dabbish, Gina Venolia, and JJ Cadiz, Marked for deletion: an analysis of email data, in CHI '03: CHI '03 extended abstracts on Human factors in computing systems, ACM, New York, NY, USA, 2003.
What characteristics of an email message make it more likely to be discarded? Statistical analyses of a set of deleted and non-deleted messages revealed several factors that were important in predicting the fate of a message. After controlling for the owner of the particular message, four factors turned out to be most important: history of communication with the sender (messages sent to and messages received from), intra-organizational vs. external sender, and size of the recipient group.
- Gina Danielle Venolia and Carman Neustaedter, Understanding sequence and reply relationships within email conversations: a mixed-model visualization, in CHI '03: Proceedings of the SIGCHI conference on Human factors in computing systems, ACM, New York, NY, USA, 2003.
It has been proposed that email clients could be improved if they presented messages grouped into conversations. An email conversation is the tree of related messages that arises from the use of the reply operation. We propose two models of conversation. The first model characterizes a conversation as a chronological sequence of messages; the second as a tree based on the reply relationship. We show how existing email clients and prior research projects implicitly support each model to a greater or lesser degree depending on their design, but none fully supports both models simultaneously. We present a mixed-model visualization that simultaneously presents sequence and reply relationships among the messages of a conversation, making both visible at a glance. We describe the integration of the visualization into a working prototype email client. A usability study indicates that the system meets our usability goals and verifies that the visualization fully conveys both types of relationships within the messages of an email conversation.
- JJ Cadiz, Gina D. Venolia, Gavin Jancke, and Anoop Gupta, Designing and Deploying an Information Awareness Interface, no. MSR-TR-2002-87, August 2002.
The concept of awareness has received increasing attention over the past several CSCW conferences. Although many awareness interfaces have been designed and studied, most have been limited deployments of research prototypes. In this paper we describe Sideshow, a peripheral awareness interface that was rapidly adopted by thousands of people in our company. Sideshow provides regularly updated peripheral awareness of a broad range of information from virtually any accessible web site or database. We discuss Sideshow’s design and the experience of refining and redesigning the interface based on feedback from a rapidly expanding user community.
- Joshua Goodman, Gina Venolia, Keith Steury, and Chauncey Parker, Language modeling for soft keyboards, in Eighteenth National Conference on Artificial Intelligence, American Association for Artificial Intelligence, Menlo Park, CA, USA, 2002.
Language models predict the probability of letter sequences. Soft keyboards are images of keyboards on a touch screen for input on Personal Digital Assistants. When a soft keyboard user hits a key near the boundary of a key position, the language model and key press model are combined to select the most probable key sequence. This leads to an overall error rate reduction by a factor of 1.67 to 1.87.
- Joshua Goodman, Gina Venolia, Keith Steury, and Chauncey Parker, Language modeling for soft keyboards, in IUI '02: Proceedings of the 7th International Conference on Intelligent User Interfaces, ACM, New York, NY, USA, 2002.
Language models predict the probability of letter sequences. Soft keyboards are images of keyboards on a touch screen for input on Personal Digital Assistants. When a soft keyboard user hits a key near the boundary of a key position, the language model and key press model are combined to select the most probable key sequence. This leads to an overall error rate reduction by a factor of 1.67 to 1.87. An extended version of this paper  is available.
- J. J. Cadiz, Gina Venolia, Gavin Jancke, and Anoop Gupta, Designing and deploying an information awareness interface, in CSCW '02: Proceedings of the 2002 ACM conference on Computer supported cooperative work, ACM, New York, NY, USA, 2002.
The concept of awareness has received increasing attention over the past several CSCW conferences. Although many awareness interfaces have been designed and studied, most have been limited deployments of research prototypes. In this paper we describe Sideshow, a peripheral awareness interface that was rapidly adopted by thousands of people in our company. Sideshow provides regularly updated peripheral awareness of a broad range of information from virtually any accessible web site or database. We discuss Sideshow's design and the experience of refining and redesigning the interface based on feedback from a rapidly expanding user community.
- Gina D. Venolia, Joshua Goodman, Keith Steury, and Chauncey Parker, Language Modeling for Soft Keyboards, no. MSR-TR-2001-118, November 2001.
Language models predict the probability of letter sequences. Soft keyboards are images of keyboards on a touch screen for input on Personal Digital Assistants. When a soft keyboard user hits a key near the boundary of a key position, the language model and key press model are combined to select the most probable key sequence. This leads to an overall error rate reduction by a factor of 1.67 to 1.87.
- JJ Cadiz, Anoop Gupta, Gavin Jancke, and Gina Danielle Venolia, Sideshow: Providing Peripheral Awareness of Important Information, no. MSR-TR-2001-83, September 2001.
A fundamental issue with user interfaces is how to help users stay aware of information without being overly intrusive or distracting. In this paper we describe Sideshow, a peripheral awareness interface designed to help users stay aware of people and information. We present data from a field trial of Sideshow where several hundred employees within our company used Sideshow over a seven-month period of time. The data indicate that Sideshow’s design accomplishes the goal of providing awareness of important information without being overly distracting.
- JJ Cadiz, Laura Dabbish, Anoop Gupta, and Gina D. Venolia, Supporting Email Workflow, no. MSR-TR-2001-88, September 2001.
As more people use e-mail at home or on the job, more people have come to experience the pain of e-mail that Denning first wrote about 20 years ago . In this paper, we present data from a field study in our own company to add to the existing body of research about how people use e-mail. We then use these data and prior literature to outline a framework of the five main activities that we believe people use e-mail for. In particular, we focus on two activities that we believe have been under-studied: attending to the flow of messages they arrive, and doing “triage” on a body of new messages. In addition, we outline potential design directions for improving the e-mail experience, with a focus on e-mail clients that group messages and their replies together into threads. We present a prototype of such an interface as well as results from a lab study of the prototype.
- Xuedong Huang, Alex Acero, C. Chelba, Li Deng, Jasha Droppo, D. Duchene, J. Goodman, Hsiao-Wuen Hon, D. Jacoby, L. Jiang, R. Loynd, Milind Mahajan, P. Mau, S. Meredith, S. Mughal, S. Neto, M. Plumpe, K. Stery, G. Venolia, Kuansan Wang, and Ye-Yi Wang, MIPAD: A Multimodal Interactive Prototype, in International Conference on Acoustics, Speech, and Signal Processing, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc., Salt Lake City, Utah, USA, 2001.
Dr. Who is a Microsoft’s research project aiming at creating a speech-centric multimodal interaction framework, which serves as the foundation for the .NET natural user interface. MiPad is the application prototype that demonstrates compelling user advantages for ireless Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) devices, MiPad fully integrates continuous speech recognition (CSR) and spoken la nguage understanding (SLU) to enable users to accomplish many common tasks using a multimodal interface and wireless technologies. It tries to solve the problem of pecking with tiny styluses or typing on minuscule keyboards in today’s PDAs. Unlike a cellular phone, MiPad avoids speech-only interaction. It incorporates a built-in microphone that activates whenever a field is selected. As a user taps the screen or uses a built-in roller to navigate, the tapping action narrows the number of possible instructions for spoken understanding. MiPad currently runs on a Windows CE Pocket PC with a Windows 2000 machine where speech recognition is performed. The Dr Who CSR ngine uses a unified CFG and n -gram language model. The Dr Who SLU engine is based on a robust char t parser and a plan-based dialog manager. This paper discusses MiPad’s design, implementation work in progress, and preliminary user study in comparison to the existing pen-based PDA interface.
- Gavin Jancke, Gina Danielle Venolia, Jonathan Grudin, J. J. Cadiz, and Anoop Gupta, Linking public spaces: technical and social issues, in CHI '01: Proceedings of the SIGCHI conference on Human factors in computing systems, ACM, New York, NY, USA, 2001.
Three public spaces frequency used by members of a single organization who are distributed across different floors of two buildings were linked by constantly-running video and audio connections. We discuss the design of the system, including issues in providing low-latency, full-duplex audio-video connectivity, ways to increase possibilities for interaction while addressing privacy concerns, and the introduction of the system to the community. We report on responses to the system and lessions learned, including unexpected issues, such as creative decorations of the spaces and assertions by a vocal minority of employees about the private nature of “public space.”
- JJ Cadiz, Jonathan Grudin, Anoop Gupta, Gavin Jancke, and Gina Danielle Venolia, Linking Public Spaces: Technical and Social Issues, no. MSR-TR-2000-93, September 2000.
Three public spaces frequently used by members of a single organization who are distributed across different floors of two buildings were linked by constantly-running video and audio connections. We discuss the design of the system, including issues in providing low-latency full-duplex audio-video connectivity, ways to increase possibilities for interaction while addressing privacy concerns, and the introduction of the system to the community. We report on responses to the system and lessons learned, including unexpected issues, such as creative decorations of the spaces and assertions by a vocal minority of employees about the private nature of “public space.”
- Gina Venolia and Forrest Neiberg, T-cube: a fast, self-disclosing pen-based alphabet, in CHI '94: Proceedings of the SIGCHI conference on Human factors in computing systems, ACM, New York, NY, USA, 1994.
- Gina Venolia, Facile 3D direct manipulation, in INTERCHI '93: Proceedings of the INTERCHI '93 conference on Human factors in computing systems, IOS Press, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, The Netherlands, 1993.
- Gina Venolia and Lance Williams, Virtual Integral Holography, in Proc. SPIE Electronic Imaging 1990, 1 August 1990.
A range of stereoscopic display technologies exist which are no more intrusive, to the user, than a pair of spectacles. Combining such a display system with sensors for the position and orientation of the user's point-of-view results in a greatly enhanced depiction of three-dimensional data. As the point of view changes, the stereo display channels are updated in real time. The face of a monitor or display screen becomes a window on a three-dimensional scene. Motion parallax naturally conveys the placement and relative depth of objects in the field of view. Most of the advantages of "head-mounted display" technology are achieved with a less cumbersome system. To derive the full benefits of stereo combined with motion parallax, both stereo channels must be updated in real time. This may limit the size and complexity of data bases which can be viewed on processors of modest resources, and restrict the use of additional three-dimensional cues, such as texture mapping, depth cueing, and hidden surface elimination. Effective use of "full 3D" may still be undertaken in a non-interactive mode. Integral composite holograms have often been advanced as a powerful 3D visualization tool. Such a hologram is typically produced from a film recording of an object on a turntable, or a computer animation of an object rotating about one axis. The individual frames of film are multiplexed, in a composite hologram, in such a way as to be indexed by viewing angle. The composite may be produced as a cylinder transparency, which provides a stereo view of the object as if enclosed within the cylinder, which can be viewed from any angle. No vertical parallax is usually provided (this would require increasing the dimensionality of the multiplexing scheme), but the three dimensional image is highly resolved and easy to view and interpret. Even a modest processor can duplicate the effect of such a precomputed display, provided sufficient memory and bus bandwidth. This paper describes the components of a stereo display system with user point-of-view tracking for interactive 3D, and a digital realization of integral composite display which we term virtual integral holography. The primary drawbacks of holographic display - film processing turnaround time, and the difficulties of displaying scenes in full color -are obviated, and motion parallax cues provide easy 3D interpretation even for users who cannot see in stereo.