Sound Support For Collaboration
W.W. Gaver

Oct 6, 1999


This is a very interesting paper, since it proposes to use the audio channel, which traditionally has been underestimated. However, some of the social issues of the employment could be troublesome. In particular I think of the use of sound to provide situational awareness of the work of others on the system. For once, the user at that time might want to focus on his/hers work and would not like to be disturbed. So, turning off the sound should be provided. However, if the other people using the system are confident that everyone is listening to whatever they do, then conflict could arise. Another thing to consider is if even if the user can turn off the sound from the others, should s/he be able to turn off the sound coming from his/hers actions? In other words, should the users be able to work "in secret" or should their actions always be reflected. In the real world, the sound of my steps usually is carried out. If I do not want someone to hear me coming, then I have to tiptoe. However, the fact is that I am able to do so.