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Communicative presence in videocommunications

: Bocker, M.; Muhlbach, L.

Human Factors and Ergonomics Society -HFES-, Santa Monica/Calif.:
Designing for diversity. Vol.1 : Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society 37th Annual Meeting, October 11 - 15, 1993, Seattle, Washington
Santa Monica: HFES, 1993
Human Factors and Ergonomics Society (Annual Meeting) <37, 1993, Seattle/Wash.>
Conference Paper
Fraunhofer HHI ()
human factors; teleconferencing; visual communication; videocommunications; communicative presence; mutual communicative signals; interlocutors; videoconferencing systems; non-verbal signals; eye-contact; flow of conversation; user satisfaction; willingness; view-per-person representation

This paper deals with factors affecting communicative presence in videocommunications. Communicative presence is defined as the capacity of a system to transfer mutual communicative signals of interlocutors. The experiment the paper reports on examined the effects of various features of videoconferencing systems in terms of several aspects, such as the conferees' feeling of being individually addressed by non-verbal signals (e.g. eye-contact), the flow of conversation, user satisfaction, and the willingness to use videoconferencing systems. One system feature that was systematically varied was the degree of vertical and horizontal eye-contact angles. In order to reduce the horizontal eye-contact angles for the two test subjects acting as conferees at one site of the experimental set-up, two different images (one per conferee) which were in accordance with the perspectives the conferees would have in a similar face-to-face meeting were displayed ("view-per-person" principle). Another feature that was examined was the spatial resolution of the displayed images. The results showed that large eye-contact angles as well as a low resolution decrease the feeling of communicative presence. Within the framework of the experiment, the hypothesis concerning the benefits of a view-per-person representation could not be verified.