Improving User Involvement Through Live Collaborative Creation
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Creating an artifact, such as writing a book, developing software, or performing a piece of music, is often limited to those with domain-specific experience or training. As a consequence, effectively involving non-expert end users in such creative processes is challenging. This work explores how computational systems can facilitate collaboration, communication, and participation in the context of involving users in the process of creating artifacts while mitigating the challenges inherent to such processes. In particular, the interactive systems presented in this work support live collaboration, in which artifact users participate in the collaborative process of creating the artifact with creators. In the systems that I have explored, the level of immediate and continuous visibility of the creative process to users constitutes liveness in applications such as programming, writing, music performance, and UI design. Liveness help preserve our natural expressivity, support real-time communication, and facilitate participation in the creative process. Live collaboration is beneficial for users and creators alike: making the process of creation visible encourages users to engage in the process and to better understand the final artifact. Additionally, creators can receive immediate feedback in a continuous closed loop with users. Through these interactive systems, non-expert participants can collaborate to create such artifacts as GUI prototypes, software, and musical performances. However, live collaboration in which users participate in creating an artifact poses challenges of scaffolding a collaborative environment in limited time and allowing non-expert users to be part of the creation process, which may require domain expertise. This dissertation explores three topics: (1) the challenges inherent to collaborative creation in live settings, and computational tools that address them; (2) methods for reducing the barrier of entry to live collaboration; and (3) approaches to preserve liveness in the creative process, affording creators more expressivity in making artifacts and users access to information only available in real-time process.