I recently came across this article on software interfaces and why a spatial approach can better convey human presence in virtual spaces.
Just learned about several more software tools that fit this genre of spatial software by creating shared digital workspaces that are superior to whiteboards and so good that even when designers meet in person and they prefer the digital to printing stuff out!
Just read about this software: https://blog.coscreen.co/the-coscreen-manifesto-introducing-deep-collaboration-for-engineering-team/
And this graph was if interest given the other tools mentioned in this thread.
Here’s a story about a virtual party setting:
I love how their virtual parties just intuitively make more sense than a giant zoom call.
Bramble looks really cool! I wish we could do church services in that kinda style (though we currently have randomly assigned coffee chat groups after the main Zoom service, which I think is really cool and almost better than in physical life where we always tend to talk to just the people we already know).
Regardless: We’ve been using a similar tool in some of the recent conferences (1000+ people) I attended. The tool is called gather.town ( https://gather.town ). It looks very similar, though it’s a bit difficult to use for non-tech people right now…
Without having read the article, the illustration is very spot-on. I realize in my small group we’re currently “stuck” in degree 4. Does anyone have experience going beyond that in a church setting? Since we don’t really need to share any fancy screen content, a simple shared whiteboard seems a natural thing to try…
I haven’t gotten a chance to really dig into these articles/ideas yet, but wanted to drop in and say they’re really interesting to me-- Matthias, have you ever played around with Google Jamboard? I just recently learned about it and it might function as a “shared whiteboard” space for a group. I’m sure there are more advanced solutions out there but is that the kind of thing you’re imagining?
Thanks for the hint, yeah definitely! I didn’t know about Jamboard, but it looks super easy to use. Need to think a bit more about in what situation this could be useful…
Matthias that concept of a shared whiteboard focused on Scripture is exactly what we’re prototyping!
We put some Scripture on it and it’s easy for multiple people to read together, put down stickies, and see the presence of other participants’ via their cursors:
You can also easily zoom in and out which we were using as a way to give a sense of “space” in Scripture. When you zoom out you can see the “shape” of the Bible:
I found it quite insightful to be able to see old and new testament like this and the lengths of books, where they are in the canon and connections between texts and then to be able to seamlessly zoom in for details on things that interest me.
That is really cool! Need help testing out your prototype?
Super cool Is this meant for a live interaction, or for an asynchronous use case?
Great question! We’re designing both use cases–live for a study/small group/sermon time. But with artifacts you can leave behind like stickies, which could be used/done asynchronously.
Adding to the toolbox!
I tried gather.town with my friend the other day, agree with you that it is not the easiest for non-tech people… At the same time, I love that they get users connected via video/audio once they are within proximity, and that they are able to interact with tools together (there was even a tetris block you could ‘interact’ with to compete with your friends)! If it is able to easily integrate other apps, sites and add-ons, there might be opportunity to even incorporate worship elements that would be useful in group setting too, though I am not too sure what that would be. Even a pixel bible that links us to the same verse on biblegateway would be cool and easily executable
Another similar example I stumbled upon but have not tried is branch (https://branch.gg), and a potential online spatial software that crosses video and user presence into whiteboards would be wonder (https://www.wonder.me) though this tool is still probably in the works, the trial rooms may require more than one user on it in order to explore what it can do. Nonetheless very exciting
One thing that came up when talking with @jonathansanford today was to support spatial audio was the need to have your “presence” in the space be separate from your cursor (similar to what we’re seeing in the examples above).
For someone who is trying to explain Scripture and what they are talking about, the cursor is useful as a pointer. But for presence in the space having a presence in the space that you control where it goes makes more sense.
Makes sense, I also felt that when you were showing me around. Maybe visualize it by showing people’s presence through a face or body, and then people can point to places with a laser pointer…?