An Exploration of Mobile Collaborative Writing Interface Design
The Open Academic Environment (OAE) is a new platform that aims to support academic collaboration and academic networking. It allows students, researchers and faculty to create knowledge, collaborate and connect with the world.
Since authoring plays an essential part in academic activity, one of the most powerful tools OAE provides is the collaborative authoring. It enables students and faculty to create, share and collaboratively work on cloud based documents. The features provided include coworker managing, real-time collaborative text documentation, basic format editing and commenting.
The current OAE system is web based and it enables mobile accessibility through responsive web design. More and more students and research work with mobile devices these days. However the current mobile interface of for collaborative interfaces such as OAE has much room for improvement. The interface has not been optimized for mobile device usability and loses some of the essential features in both text editing and collaborative support when accessed through a mobile device. Even basic documentation may require the use of many different editing features. Collaboration support requires the availability of features that enable tracking of others’ activity and that support communication.
However mobile interface design for complex tasks has always been tricky work. The smaller screen and limited input methods of the mobile device make it difficult to fit in as many features as in desktop software or a full website. Therefore, it is important to identify user needs and understand user activities so that a designer can prioritize needed features and optimize their arrangements. Better support for mobile devices will enable participation in academic collaboration whenever and wherever a person might be. This paper presents research on user needs and user activities in mobile collaborative systems, and efforts to design an alternative interface for OAE system.
KeywordsMobile Collaborative editing Interface design
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