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During the past several years we have been developing large, interactive display surfaces for collaboration uses in a variety of work settings. People in small work groups can easily create, annotate and share media with their partners. The Blueboard, developed at IBM Research, is a large display system for groups to use in exchanging information in a lightweight, informal collaborative way. It began as a large, ubiquitously placed display surface for walk-by use in a corporate setting and has evolved in response to task demands and user needs. At NASA, the MERboard is being designed to support surface operations for the upcoming Mars exploration rover missions. The MERboard extends the design to support the collaboration requirements for viewing, annotating, linking and distributing information for the science and engineering teams that will operate two rovers on the surface of Mars. Here we examine differing implementations of the same idea: a collaborative information tool that began from the same design goals, but which grew into somewhat different systems under the evolutionary pressures of the NASA and IBM task environments. Lessons about how media are designed, task requirements for collaborative use, information flow requirements and work practice drive the evolution of a system are illustrated.
Date of Conference: 5-8 Jan. 2004