Notification for Shared Annotation of Digital Documents

A. J. Bernheim Brush, David Bargeron, Jonathan Grudin, Anoop Gupta


Notification and shared annotations go hand-in-hand. Notification of activity in a shared document system is known to support awareness and improve asynchronous collaboration, but few studies have examined user needs and explored design tradeoffs. We examined large-scale use of notifications in a commercial system and found it lacking. We designed and deployed enhancements to the system, then conducted a field study to gauge their effect. We found that providing more information in notification messages, supporting multiple communication channels through which notifications can be received, and allowing customization of notification messages are particularly important. Overall awareness of annotation activity on software specifications increased with our enhancements.


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