Pattern from Lyn Pemberton
Name: Let people overhear
A pattern from office design which could be used as input to the design
of a groupware system:
A current workplace design, e.g. in a control room of some sort,
allows co-workers to overhear each other's interactions, including telephone
conversations, and sometimes to act on what they overhear. Sometimes this
is trivial: the person on the telephone says "I'll just find a penů" and
person B hands one to them. Sometimes a rapid response is vital, as when
person B picks up from person A's urgent tone on the telephone that an
accident has occurred. This often means a quicker response to critical
incidents than if the person on the telephone had to explicitly relay the
information to his/her colleague.
As in the preceding pattern, there are moves to introduce a system of small
cubicles for workers. This would mean that this benign overhearing
was no longer possible.
Rethink the design and don't put people in boxes or out of eye contact
or in completely soundproof headphones.
An example pattern prepared for the Usability
Pattern Language Workshop at Interact