Due to the contact restrictions introduced to contain the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, online meetings replaced in-person meetings. Depending on an employee’s location, a variety of devices may be used, including desktop PCs, notebooks and tablets. Given the advantages such as flexibility and cost/time savings, one can expect that virtual meetings will continue to replace face-to-face meetings, at least in part, in the future.
From the observations made and experience gained of the numerous virtual meetings that have been held, rough ideas have taken shape about how such forms of communication should be organised. However, no studies have yet supplied scientifically robust insights into the best ways of managing the strains involved and helping participants maintain their attention, depending on the format chosen (e.g. number of participants, amount of interaction, type of equipment, participants’ locations, breaks, online v. hybrid formats). Thus, this project aims to determine the extent of cognitive load and stress induced by different web meeting formats compared to face-to-face meetings in order to derive design criteria for the use of web conferencing systems.
To this end, a qualitative analysis (literature research, workshop with focus groups) will identify important contexts and parameters for the use of web conferencing systems, as well as their perceived opportunities and risks in practice. Based on this, several laboratory studies will examine stress and strain during virtual meetings compared to face-to-face meetings. Further laboratory studies will extend the scope of the analysis to meeting formats that utilise virtual reality. The results will then serve to develop design guidelines.
Unit 2.3 "Human Factors, Ergonomics"
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