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Volume 7 / Issue 9

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DOI:   10.3217/jucs-007-09-0826


More Than WORDs - Collaborative Tailoring of a Word Processor

Helge Kahler (University of Bonn, Germany Department of Computer Science III, Research Group HCI & CSCW, Germany)

Abstract: Tailorability (or adaptability) of software becomes more important with the increasing use of off-the-shelf-software. On the other hand, computers support the work of many groups which in turn have to tailor a commonly used software to support individual as well as group needs. This includes not only groupware, i. e., software that directly supports collaborative work, but also single user software. Research has shown that often adaptations to single user software are distributed among colleagues, thus leading to a systematization in a group's adaptations. Based on this observation an empirical field-study on the collaborative tailoring habits of users of a particular word processor was carried out. Based on these and literature research an add-on to this word processor was developed which provides a public and a private repository for adaptations as well as a mailing function for users to exchange adaptations. Some notification and annotation mechanisms are also provided. Results of two forms of evaluation indicate that users of different levels of qualification are able to handle the tool and consider it a relevant alternative to existing mailing mechanisms.

Keywords: CSCW, Groupware, Tailoring

Categories: H.1.2, H.4.3