Human-Computer Interaction: Communication, Cooperation, and Application Design

By Hans-Jörg Bullinger; Jürgen Ziegler | Go to book overview

2 A Framework for Modelling Cooperation Support Systems
This paper reports on a framework for analysing and modelling cooperative systems developed in the project SPICE1. The Cooperation Modelling Framework is based on the experiences drawn from a range of analysis activities in the SPICE partner companies. The main requirements derived were:
flexible use of different analysis and modelling perspectives according to the specific cooperation task and context
integration of structured, unstructured and vague descriptions
abstraction mechanisms with the possibility of incremental refinement
level of detail of the models taylorable according to the stage and complexity of the design
reusable patterns for describing reoccuring cooperation structures

The framework developed from these requirements is based on three basic concepts: information (structured data, documents and unstructured content, task (activities and processes) and actor (people, organisational units, roles). These basic elements are arranged in a 3x3 matrix which allows for arbitrary combinations of these elements (Fig. 1). The diagonal cells refer to structural models composed of (primarily) one of the basic elements. The information-by- information cell contains models for structured and unstructured information, the task-by-task cell encompasses task types and task hierarchies, while the actor-by-actor cell describes types of organisational entities and their concrete instantiation in the organisation. The models in the diagonal can each contain a definition of different types (such as a class model for information or task types for the task cell), instances and their relations and (potentially) a dynamic model, such as a state model for an information object)

In the other cells of the matrix, the respective models combine two of the basic elements. The element in the column header is also the main determinant for the structure of the model: in the information-by-actor cell, for instance, the information structure is primary, the relations to persons or organisational units show whether an actor may access a certain piece of information or is notified about relevant changes information of that information.

____________________
1
SPICE was funded by the German research programme "Arbeit und Technik". The research partners were IAW ( Technical University of Aachen RWTH), IAT ( University of Stuttgart) and six industrial companies. Contributions from C. Schlick, S. Killich, D. Herbst, S. Wiedenmaier (all IAW), C.-U. Lott and A. Ulrich (IAT) are gratefully acknowledged.

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