Most research on Attentive User Interfaces (AUI) is directed towards single-user activity and assumes that as the needs for information rise so do the costs of not paying attention and being interrupted. Therefore, instead of assuming the user is always focused on the task, AUI allow users to negotiate their degree of attention to the task, and at the same time manage the information flows taking into consideration the attention status.

However, the study of attention in the multi-user collaborative context is largely an unexplored research area. While current research trends in Computer Supported Collaborative Work (CSCW) aim at conveying more, but not necessarily better, information about the group, we suggest a route that explicitly recognizes the limitations of the human information-processing capacity.

Research Goals

The main objective of this project is to study how technology may positively influence group attention in the collaborative context. This will be accomplished by researching the following questions:

  • How collaborating individuals divide their attention between the group and the individual tasks?
  • How can technology positively influence the attention to the group?
  • Which computer devices improve group attention?
  • What are the guidelines to incorporate such devices in future CSCW systems?
  • What are the expected performance improvements?

Answers to these questions will be supplied to the research community via:

  • A theoretical framework for group attention;
  • A collection of attentive devices that can be integrated in CSCW systems and tools;
  • Results from laboratory experiments with attentive devices;
  • A group performance model based on attention;
  • A collection of best practices for designing attentive CSCW.

Team Members


  • Pedro Alexandre de Mourão Antunes (Principal investigator)
  • Luís Manuel Pinto da Rocha Afonso Carriço
  • António Manuel Silva Ferreira
  • Cláudio Miguel dos Santos Sapateiro


  • Manuel João Caneira Monteiro da Fonseca
  • Ricardo Jorge Jota Costa
  • Andreia Valada Artífice
  • Jorge Figueiredo Fernandes



  • António Ferreira, Pedro Antunes, Valeria Herskovic (to appear). Improving group attention: An experiment with synchronous brainstorming. Group Decision and Negotiation.


  • António Ferreira, Pedro Antunes, José A. Pino (March 2009). Evaluating shared workspace performance using human information processing models. Information Research, 14(1).


  • Cláudio Sapateiro, Pedro Antunes, Gustavo Zurita, Nelson Baloian, Rodrigo Vogt (October 2008). Supporting crisis management processes by wirelessly interconnected tablet-PCs. ICEBE'08: Proceedings of fifth IEEE international conference on e-Business engineering (pp. 87–93), Xi'an, China.
  • António Ferreira, Valeria Herskovic, Pedro Antunes (September 2008). Attention-based management of information flows in synchronous electronic brainstorming. CRIWG'08: Proceedings of the fourteenth international workshop on Groupware (pp. 1–16), Omaha, USA.
  • Pedro Antunes, Rogerio Bandeira, Luís Carriço, Gustavo Zurita, Nelson Baloian, Rodrigo Vogt (September 2008). Risk Assessment in Healthcare Collaborative Settings: A Case Study Using Shell. CRIWG'08: Proceedings of the fourteenth international workshop on Groupware (pp. 65–73), Omaha, USA.
  • Cláudio Sapateiro, Pedro Antunes, Gustavo Zurita, Rodrigo Vogt, Nelson Baloian (September 2008). Evaluating a mobile emergency response system. CRIWG'08: Proceedings of the fourteenth international workshop on Groupware (pp. 121–134), Omaha, USA.
  • António Ferreira, Pedro Antunes (July 2008). An attentive groupware device to mitigate information overload. DSV-IS'08: Proceedings of the fifteenth international workshop on Design, specification, and verification of interactive systems (pp. 29–42), Kingston, Canada.
  • Gustavo Zurita, Pedro Antunes, Nelson Baloian, Felipe Baytelman, Antonio Farias (July 2008). Visually-driven decision making using handheld devices. CDM'08: Proceedings of the Collaborative decision making conference (pp. 257–269), Toulouse, France.
  • António Ferreira, Pedro Antunes (June 2008). Tackling information overload in electronic brainstorming. GDN'08: Proceedings of the ninth meeting on Group decision and negotiation (pp. 83–89), Coimbra, Portugal.
  • Cláudio Sapateiro, Pedro Antunes, Gustavo Zurita, Rodrigo Vogt, Patricio Infante, Nelson Baloian (June 2008). Assisting teams in emergent work activities. GDN'08: Proceedings of the ninth meeting on Group decision and negotiation (extended abstracts), Coimbra, Portugal.


  • António Ferreira, Pedro Antunes (June 2007). On the need for a framework for attentive groupware systems. SociUM'07: Proceedings of the first workshop on Adaptation and personalisation in social systems (pp. 5–14), Corfu, Greece.
  • António Ferreira, Pedro Antunes (March 2007). A technique for evaluating shared workspaces efficiency. CSCW in design III (pp. 82–91). Berlin, Germany: Springer.


  • Pedro Antunes, António Ferreira, José A. Pino (September 2006). Analyzing shared workspaces design with human-performance models. CRIWG'06: Proceedings of the twelfth international workshop on Groupware (pp. 62–77), Medina del Campo, Spain.
  • António Ferreira, Pedro Antunes (May 2006). Quantitative evaluation of workspace collaboration. CSCWiD'06: Proceedings of the tenth international conference on Computer supported cooperative work in design (pp. 1065–1070), Nanjing, China.

Time Line

This project began on November 2007 and will end on July 2010.


This project is supported by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology, through project PTDC/EIA/67589/2006 and the Multiannual Funding Programme.