Gestures Speak Louder Than Emoticons
Gestures Speak Louder Than Emoticons: A Practical Implementation of Non-Verbal Communication Improvements on Text-Chat
Eldon Marks, Malcolm Williams
Instant messaging, also widely known as text chat, emerged shortly after the advent of the Internet. It is an attempt to support real-time communication between two or more individuals who are geographically dispersed. The separation of the participants and the plainness of the text dialogue they use to converse, cause instant messaging to be deficient in many essential elements of communication, such as facial expressions and body language. As a result, the chat experience is severely limited, and through these limitations users may become disoriented, misunderstood, or both. Previous researches have attempted to alleviate these limitations through the use of emoticons and expansive virtual 3-D environments with avatars. To date, none has adequately satisfied the expressiveness, usability requirements or expectations of the common end-user. Our research strategically combines many of the essential elements of face-to-face communication with the typed message of text chat by means of 2-D impersonations called agents. The resulting implementation conveys as much expression through the restricted medium of cyberspace, and thus, greatly advances from the restraints of simple emoticons, but also safely avoids the threshold of usability complexities encountered in virtual environments. User evaluations carried out reveal a high degree of satisfaction and low orders of disorientation and miscommunication.
Keywords: Computer-supported collaborative works, gesture, non-verbal communication, instant messaging, virtual environments, agent.
Prose from the Pros
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