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Page history last edited by n.schadewitz@... 15 years ago







Support the awareness of implicitly conveyed but important message contents with emotional value through visual communication means.


Cultural Context

Supports Collectivist Community Orientation, High Contextual Communication Orientation and Hierarchical Authority Orientation Cultures. Bridges Achievement and Ascription Orientation and Neutral and Affective Relation Orientation, Long and Short Time Orientation cultures.

This pattern was observed in collaboration between Hong Kong and Korea, Hong Kong and Taiwan, and Hong Kong and Austria.



Distributed students use STRUCTURED CHAT and SLOW THINKING to communicate design ideas and coordinate local activities in textual, written conversation.



In the collaboration of design learning teams, breakdowns in communication occurred based on difficulties in conveying the importance of upcoming deadlines in teamwork. Students tried to give more emotional value to design ideas in textual communication in English language. However, due to a low English language proficiency, conversations that were meant to clarify understandings and giving an emotional meaning to the proposed design ended up being long and tedious, releasing participants in dissatisfaction.



How can you support conveying mood and emotions in distributed intercultural communication?



Collectivist Community Orientation cultures seldom express their feelings and views explicitly in textual communication. Moreover, they have problems expressing the appropriate mood in English language. Although Achievement and Ascription Orientation cultures want to give the contents of a textual message more expressiveness, communicating in a second language is difficult. Hence, such cultures implicitly return to an unresolved issue throughout the entire collaboration. However, since direct and explicit communication of a problematic issue is considered impolite, indirect and cycling statements complicate the communication of an important position for these cultures. The collaborator has difficulties understanding the point of concern. Due to time constraints, this issue is dismissed but not resolved. Long Time Orientation cultures do not necessarily see this shift as final and take up the topic in another conversation. This is problematic for representatives of Short Time Orientation and Achievement Orientation, who thought the issue was forgotten. They get annoyed and become more direct in their communication, which is considered impolite by the collaborators.


Social Solution

Allow students to add visual expressiveness to their conversations.


Technological Solution

Offer a choice of visual communication means such as graphical icons or text formatting tools to support awareness of the mood and emotional values in a textually mediated statement. 



Collectivist Community Orientation, Affective Relation Orientation, and High Contextual Communication cultures have difficulties expressing emotions explicitly in textual computer-supported communication. Visual communication means implicitly conveying the mood of a textual statement. Furthermore, visual means may also reduce the explicitness of textual messages since it is considered impolite or even rude to assign a task or communicate a decision directly in Collectivist Community Orientation and High Contextual Communication cultures. Giving more expressiveness might not always avoid a breakdown but makes participants more aware of the importance of an issue, so that it is not easily dismissed or overlooked.


Resulting Context

Allowing users to synchronously draw their ideas using the pattern GRAFFITI WALL can also support textual synchronous conversation. Moreover, local design activities that are often carried out in parallel to online chat can be indicated indirectly in a chat conversation using the pattern LOCAL CO-ACTIVITY.


Related Work

Schuemmer (2004) proposed a related pattern, entitled DIGITAL EMOTIONS. Kayan et a. (2006) confirmed the cultural differences in the use of emoticons in instant messaging in North America and Asia. (Kayan, S., Fussell, S. R., and Setlock, L. D. 2006. Cultural differences in the use of instant messaging in Asia and North America. In Proceedings of the 2006 20th Anniversary Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work (Banff, Alberta, Canada, November 04 - 08, 2006). CSCW '06. ACM, New York, NY, 525-528.)


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