Small group design sessions were studied empirically to better understand collaborative work. Shared workspace activity — the listing, drawing and gesturing of the group — was studied in order to guide the design, development, and introduction of tools to support group work. An understanding of workspace activity needs to include the role of gestures, the use of the workspace to develop ideas, and the use of the workspace to help mediate interaction. The following observations of group workspace activity are reported:
• gestures, and the relationship of gestures to the workspace, convey important information
• the process of storing information can be problematic
• the process of expressing ideas conveys information beyond the resulting artifacts created
• listing, drawing, and gesturing activities fluently intermix
• orientation, amount of simultaneous access, and proximity to the workspace structure the use of the workspace
These observations are illustrated with examples from the video data.