COGNITIVE ASPECTS OF COLLABORATION IN 3D VIRTUAL ENVIRONMENTS
Keywords: 3D visualization, decision making, human-machine interaction, MUVE, presence, situation awareness virtual collaboration, virtual environments
Abstract. Human-computer interaction has entered the 3D era. The most important models representing spatial information — maps — are transferred into 3D versions regarding the specific content to be displayed. Virtual worlds (VW) become promising area of interest because of possibility to dynamically modify content and multi-user cooperation when solving tasks regardless to physical presence. They can be used for sharing and elaborating information via virtual images or avatars. Attractiveness of VWs is emphasized also by possibility to measure operators’ actions and complex strategies. Collaboration in 3D environments is the crucial issue in many areas where the visualizations are important for the group cooperation. Within the specific 3D user interface the operators' ability to manipulate the displayed content is explored regarding such phenomena as situation awareness, cognitive workload and human error. For such purpose, the VWs offer a great number of tools for measuring the operators’ responses as recording virtual movement or spots of interest in the visual field. Study focuses on the methodological issues of measuring the usability of 3D VWs and comparing them with the existing principles of 2D maps. We explore operators’ strategies to reach and interpret information regarding the specific type of visualization and different level of immersion.