This work proposes conceptual frameworks for designing and structuring virtual environments and avatars so as to support rich, dynamic and scalable online social interaction.
- Collaborative Virtual Environments (Benford, Greenhalgh, Rodden & Pycock, Communications of the ACM, 2001) provides a brief introduction to and overview of CVEs.
- A Spatial Model of Interaction in Large Virtual Environments (Benford & Fahlen, Proceedings of ECSCW 1993) introduces spatial fields called aura, focus and nimbus as a way of managing awareness and hence mediating communication in collaborative environments. This set of concepts is intended to be relatively small and straightforward while being directly implementable in software, and yet also powerful enough to support diverse and potentially large-scale communication situations.
- MASSIVE: a collaborative virtual environment for teleconferencing (Greenhalgh & Benford, ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction, TOCHI, September 1995, Volume 2 Issue 3) presents an example implementation of the spatial model of interaction in the MASSIVE system.
- Crowded Collaborative Virtual Environments (Benford & Greenhalgh, Lloyd, Proceedings of CHI 1997) introduces an extension to the spatial model of interaction called third party objects that expresses the properties of dynamic groups of participants or objects, providing different membership policies, introducing various affects on awareness within the groups, and also providing a common aggregated view of their activity to those outside. The aim is to support greater scalability of collaborative virtual environments, ultimately leading to the introduction of large dynamic crowds of avatars.
- User Embodiment in Collaborative Virtual Environments (Benford, Bowers, Fahlen & Greenhalgh, Proceedings of CHI 1995) introduces a general framework for designing user embodiments (avatars) in collaborative virtual environments addressing the issues of conveying presence, location, identity, activity, availability, history of activity, viewpoint, actionpoint, gesture, facial expression, voluntary versus involuntary expression, degree of presence, reflecting capabilities, physical properties, active bodies, time and change, manipulating ones view of others, representation across multiple media, autonomous and distributed body parts, truthfulness and efficiency.
- Object-focused interaction in collaborative virtual environments (Hindmarsh, Fraser, Heath, Benford & Greenhalgh, ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction, TOCHI, Volume 7 Issue 4, December 2000) describes a series of naturalistic studies of participants carrying out a design task in a collaborative virtual environment that reveal problems arising from limited fields of view leading to proposals for extending and enhancing avatars.