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Project Fragmentation The Project Fragmentation Problem in Personal Information Management Bergman, et al CHI 2006 proceedings Fragmentation Information stored by format, rather than by purpose Documents files in folders E-mail in different folders Bookmarks in a separate hierarchy When you want all the information about a particular project or activity, what do you do? Research study Basic question: Do people tend to work on materials based on format (as supported by current systems) or by purpose (as the researchers assume.) Participants: 20 adults Mix of PC (most) and Mac (1) and combination experience Materials collected: Interviews, screenshots, questionnaires Research Questions How do personal computer users tend to talk about their information organization -- in terms of technological format or in terms of projects? To what extent do users work on projects involving information items of different formats How much overlap is there between the three folder hierarchies Do users tend to classify their information according to format or porjects To what extent does interface design affect the project fragmentation problem? What are users’ attitudes towards integration of the different hierarchies? Method Each subject was interviewed for about 90 minutes, giving the interviewer a tour of the subject’s computer system, explaining the organization. Screenshots were captured during the “tour” The interview was taped, transcribed, and analyzed. A questionnaire was administered after the interview. Results: How do users talk aobut information organization? Data: the interview transcript Two judges reviewed it, looking for references to project or format that were not results to direct questions from the interviewer. Only cases where the judges agreed were counted Results: On average, 70.52% (SD= 16.35) of the references were to projects, 28.26% (SD= 15.22) were to formats Conclusion: Users think of their information organization in terms of projects rather than formats Results: Projects involving multiple formats Data: Screen captures from the day before the interview (using history and recent documents files) Participants annotated each reference with the relevant project. Result: on average, 55.57% (SD = 32.61%) of items referred to a project which also had an item in a different format set. Conclusion: Users have information related to a particular project in more than one format. Result: Extent of overlap among the three types of format Data: Screen capture of the folder hierarchies. Overlap defined as folders of the different formats that refer to the same project Only root level folders examined Results: 19.79% of folders overlap (SD = 19.38) Conclusion: About one fifth of the folders corresponded to a folder of the same project information in another format Note the difference between this and the previous one -- overlap by project vs. overlap by information format Result: Do users classify by format or project? Data: Examination of the 968 folders found among the participants Result: Project folder names (M=79.94%, SD 11.91) significantly higher than the proportion of format folder names (M = 6.16, SD = 7.3) Conclusion: Users tend to classify their information according to project more than to formats I’m not sure what is meant by “format folder names” Result: Effect of interface design Data: Questionnaire Results: Users mix documents of different types in one folder, but rarely save emails and bookmarks in these document folders. Conclusion: Interface design guides location of information storage. Result: Attitudes toward integration of the hierarchies? Data: Questionnaire Result: Average answer was 3.74 (on a 5- point scale) Conclusion? Possible integration solutions Three approaches Integration through search Find items of multiple formats from one search Users seem to prefer navigation (see previous paper on that study) Integration through additional structure Shortcut to actual item stored in a separate structure. Single Hierarchy All project related items, of whatever format, stored together. Proposed single hierarchy solution All items of one project together, but separated by tabs QuickTime™ and a decompressor are needed to se e this picture. What do you think of this strategy?
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