Topic: task communication

topics > Group: communication

natural language

commitment as a system
communication errors between people
coordinated processes
electronic meetings
interrupting interpersonal communication
meaning by use
natural language as communication
people better than computers
problem solving
shared information for collaborative work
user interface design
using hypertext for cooperative work
voice and sound as a user interface


Task communication concerns the cooperative resolution of a task. It is different than social, educational, and non-verbal communication. Task communication tends to be short, contextual, and goal oriented.

High-risk tasks often develop highly evolved, esoteric forms of communication. For example, NASA flight controllers will listen to four voice loops while monitoring muliple displays and background discussions. Commodities traders use an elaborate system of signals. It appears chaotic to the outside observer.

The same qualities appear in daily task communication. People do not use proper grammer; they frequently make mistakes. Without the task, the conversation may not make sense. Verbal communication is particularly important for tasks. (cbb 6/06)

Subtopic: multitasking up

Quote: developers spent 75 minutes per day of unplanned interpersonal interaction, usually through email and in-person visits; most interactions were less than five minutes [»perrDE7_1994]

Subtopic: noise up

Quote: traders were continuously aware of each others activities; encouraged monitoring; noise was important [»jiroM5_2006]

Subtopic: voice loop up

Quote: NASA flight controllers use at least four voice loops to coordinate activity: from flight director, between air and ground, with support staff, and ad-hoc conferences [»wattJC_1996]
Quote: use multiple voice loops to monitor, identify, and solve problems; example of use [»wattJC_1996]
Quote: voice loops allows controllers to pick up relevant events without disrupting their own work or other work [»wattJC_1996]
Quote: computer support systems provide raw data; voice loops carry integrated, event-level information [»wattJC_1996]
Quote: on a voice loop, a controller responds to a directed message immediately, correctly, and precisely [»wattJC_1996]

Subtopic: paper up

Quote: paper tickets help coordinate the traders; finished deals, breaks in work flow, and volume [»jiroM5_2006]
Quote: British airspace controllers use flight progress strips arranged in racks; records all instructions to the pilot [»hughJA11_1992]

Subtopic: simultaneous communication up

Quote: ran Turing test separately, since too confusing to interview two patients simultaneously over two communication channels [»colbKM12_1981]
Quote: dealers could interleave multiple trades across trading floors; the meaning of a number depended on prior conversation; difficult for voice recognition [»jiroM5_2006]

Subtopic: searching vs. communication up

Quote: in cooperative task solving, most time in searching; little time in communication [»chapA3_1973]
Quote: searching for information largest category of activity for most modes of communication [»chapA4_1977]
Quote: about a third of time spent communicating during cooperative task solving [»chapA4_1977]

Subtopic: presentation up

Quote: never just present the data; start with the conclusion to which the data led [»colwRP_2006]

Subtopic: grammatical and semantic mistakes up

Quote: people often understand each other despite serious grammatical and semantic mistakes [»dreyHL_1979]
Quote: in voice communication during task solving, almost no grammatical, syntactical or semantic rules [»chapA3_1973]
Quote: excerpt from typed exchange during cooperative task solving [»chapA3_1975]
Quote: though most research done in immaculate prose, sentences not used in natural talking [»chapA3_1975]

Subtopic: abbreviated speach up

Quote: dealers can make deals every five seconds over the phone; propose prices and quantities using context, abbreviations, and jargon; through video analysis [»jiroM5_2006]
Quote: dealers could interleave multiple trades across trading floors; the meaning of a number depended on prior conversation; difficult for voice recognition [»jiroM5_2006]

Subtopic: user studies up

Quote: studied cooperative task solving by two-person teams, one source and one seeker [»chapA3_1975]
Quote: linguistic performance measures: number of messages, words per message, percentage of questions, total words, etc. [»chapA3_1975]
Quote: ethnography is the study of users in their own work environment; video helps capture tacit skills, tricks of the trade, and ways of communicating [»jiroM5_2006]
Quote: British airspace controllers use flight progress strips arranged in racks; records all instructions to the pilot [»hughJA11_1992]

Subtopic: no communication up

Quote: in iterated prisoner's dilemma with no communication, either people cooperated fully or did not at all [»jensC4_2000]
Quote: initially in the iterated prisoner's dilemma, subjects did not cooperate; communication lead to cooperation

Subtopic: verbal communication as primary up

Quote: direct interpersonal communications are the dominant means of interaction for these software developers; email was mainly used for broadcasting information [»perrDE7_1994]
Quote: most specifications require verbal reinforcement to resolve ambiguities and questions [»joneTC4_1979]
Quote: task solving about as quick for voice alone as for face-to-face communication [»chapA3_1975]
Quote: voice communication made a large difference in cooperative task solving [»chapA3_1975]
Quote: voice vs. typing: 8x messages, 5x words, 2x different words, 10x faster [»chapA3_1975, OK]
Quote: similarity between face-to-face communication and voice-only may explain success of telephone and failure of videophone [»chapA4_1977]
Quote: problem solution is twice as fast with a voice channel instead of a paper channel [»chapA4_1977]
Quote: voice communicators used 13x as many words and 4x as many unique words as are necessary [»chapA4_1977]
Quote: in iterated prisoner's dilemma, best cooperation with a speakerphone, then text-to-speech, then text, then none [»jensC4_2000]
Quote: in the voice conditions, strategic discussion lead to cooperation; primary topic for the iterated prisoner's dilemma [»jensC4_2000]
Quote: text-to-speech forced subjects to pay attention to the other player; may have lead to greater cooperation
Quote: a telephone link is useful for joint debugging from remote terminals

Subtopic: teaching up

Quote: a teacher must present definite, clear-cut tasks [»taylRW_1911, OK]

Subtopic: face-to-face communication up

Quote: with face-to-face communication much fewer messages to confirm that the seeker at the right part [»chapA4_1977]
Quote: face-to-face speakers used 14% more words and 23% more different words then voice only [»chapA4_1977]

Subtopic: video up

Quote: use video-taped lectures to convey design information; include Q&A; new hires quickly learn names, operations, and people [»colwRP_2006]
Quote: video helps non-native speakers explain a map route; does not help native speakers [»veinES5_1999]

Subtopic: auditory clues up

Quote: pairs of subjects ran the ARKola factory with two-way audio/video and with or without sound [»gaveWW4_1991]
Quote: auditory icons in a collaborative simulation increased the level of collaboration; e.g., noticing and solving problems [»gaveWW4_1991]
Quote: sounds helped collaborators monitor their processes while assisting their partner; also helped monitor remote processes [»gaveWW4_1991]
Quote: sounds allowed collaborators to refer to events they couldn't see

Subtopic: task-oriented UI up

Quote: task-oriented UI design defines windows for tasks; poor overview of data and limited task design [»laueS7_2001]

Related Topics up

Group: natural language   (16 topics, 539 quotes)
Group: organizations   (19 topics, 439 quotes)
Group: psychology   (9 topics, 307 quotes)

Topic: commitment as a system (22 items)
Topic: communication errors between people (4 items)
Topic: coordinated processes (8 items)
Topic: electronic meetings (24 items)
Topic: interrupting interpersonal communication (13 items)
Topic: meaning by use (58 items)
Topic: natural language as communication (34 items)
Topic: people better than computers (35 items)
Topic: problem solving (32 items)
Topic: shared information for collaborative work (36 items)
Topic: user interface design (36 items)
Topic: using hypertext for cooperative work (9 items)
Topic: voice and sound as a user interface
(26 items)

Updated barberCB 2/05
Copyright © 2002-2008 by C. Bradford Barber. All rights reserved.
Thesa is a trademark of C. Bradford Barber.