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Team interactions in digitally mediated design meetings

Ofori-Darko, J. (2021) Team interactions in digitally mediated design meetings. PhD thesis, University of Reading

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To link to this item DOI: 10.48683/1926.00105673


The increasing demand for richer interactions in the design team and the reliance on digital media to facilitate their emergence tend to introduce a lot of dynamics into the exchanges that unfold in face-to-face design meetings. However, current knowledge on dynamics of exchanges in the design team appears to be insufficient to help enrich understanding of the nature of interactions in design meetings enabled by technologies in the digital space, although essential to inform planning of collaborative design tasks. The aim of this PhD is to better understand team interactions that unfold within the fluid digitally mediated design review meeting process; exploring the verbal and non-verbal actions that unfold and their effect on information representation and display medium during a face-to-face design meeting in an architectural practice. This aim was addressed through the following interconnected set of objectives: 1. Explore forms of information representations and display medium mobilised, and how specific features of the media are implicated to mediate the verbal and nonverbal actions of the design team during the meeting session; 2. Examine nature of verbal and non-verbal actions that unfold and their effect on use of information representations and display medium during the meeting session; 3. Explore the interplay that exists between different types of interactions in the design team. This exploration was supported by the development of a conceptual framework that draws on concepts and techniques of mediated interaction approach (MIA) and use of technology in practice. To provide depth of insight and understanding, the research adopts a predominantly qualitative video-based approach with video recording and participant observation forming the primary techniques for gathering relevant data on verbal and non-verbal actions and activities V of the team members during design meetings mediated by digital media in an architectural design office in UK. A total of five design meeting sessions stretching over ten hours of rich interactions in a single case architectural firm were captured as relevant data to inform the study. The study uses a coding scheme informed by concepts of the conceptual model; and principles of Interaction Analysis (IA) approach to analyse the ways design teams interact to communicate the design and perform collaborative task in meeting sessions. The analysis provides narratives of themes relating to team interactions occurring in the digital space: features of media, purpose of use of media, verbal and non-verbal actions in relation to information representation and display medium, and interplay between the types of interactions. The findings reveal in general, evidence of distinction between the medium and the representation of information in relation to how they mediate emergence and accomplishment of specific types of actions during the meeting session. The information representation, through key features such as, photo realism, walkthrough, and navigable informed types of actions undertaken by the team, whereas the display medium, with varying display size, interface and interactive features affected how participants experienced and interacted with the design. It was realised that verbal actions of the design team are mainly an iterative process of sharing understanding and addition of value to existing design decisions through descriptive, explanative and evaluative tasks enriched with gestural, viewing, navigation, annotation and on-screen manipulative actions across different forms of representations and display medium. The non-verbal actions of the team mainly involve information addition, searching and familiarisation of different aspects of design information, through fluid transition of viewing, navigation, annotation and gestural tasks interspersed with varying types of verbal actions across different display medium. The quest to richly engage with the evolving design and develop its content informed the design team to fluidly mobilise mobile devices, customise their experiences and enact different uses of the display medium VI and information representation as well as user driven-tasks, however were accomplished in distinct ways, including group, sub-group and individual activities. Further, the instances of participants’ verbal and non-verbal actions are all intricately connected and do not lend themselves to a clean separation in the team’s interactions around the design information. The research makes several implications, firstly to developers of digital technologies of the need to incorporate mechanisms into their new generation devices for smooth transfer and access to private and shared information with enhanced manipulative controls for better experience and interaction of design information; secondly architectural designers to allow flexibility in their design review meetings to accommodate individual and sub-group breakaways, and deploy digital technologies with enhanced features to support all the userdriven tasks during the meeting session; thirdly, that future researchers need to expand conceptualisation of interactions mediated by digital media to include individual and sub-group activities for in-depth details about nature of the interactions that unfold in the design review meeting session. Overall the thesis conclude that digitally-enabled interactions in the design meeting is a fluid a process involving intricately interconnected verbal and non-verbal actions, hence successful transition between different types of actions, tasks and media assemblage are key to richer interaction during the design review session in the architectural design practice.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Supervisor:Nikolic, D. and Harty, C.
Thesis/Report Department:School of the Built Environment
Identification Number/DOI:
Divisions:Science > School of the Built Environment
ID Code:105673
Date on Title Page:February 2020


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