Reflecting on the authors’ computational and cognitive studies of collaborative design, this paper characterizes recent research and applications of collaborative technologies for building design. The specific technologies considered are those that allow synchronous collaboration while planning, creating, and editing 3D models, including virtual worlds, augmented reality (AR) tabletop systems, and tangible user interfaces (TUIs). Based on the technical capabilities and potential of the technologies described in the first part, the second part of the paper considers the implications of these technologies on collaborative design based on an overview of the results of two cognitive studies conducted by the authors. Two studies, using protocol analysis, are described as the basis for characterizing the designers’ cognitive actions, communication and interaction in different collaborative design situations. The first study investigated collaborative design in a virtual world to better understand the changes in design behavior when the designers are physically remote but virtually collocated as avatars in a 3D model of their design solution. The second study measured the effects of tangible user interfaces (TUIs) with AR on a tabletop system on designers’ cognitive activities and design process in co-located collaboration. The paper concludes by discussing the implications of the results of these studies on the future design of collaborative technologies for designers.
9th International Conference on Construction Applications of Virtual Reality (CONVR 2009). CONVR 2009: Proceedings of the 9th International Conference on Construction Applications of Virtual Reality (Sydney 5-6 November, 2009) p. 9-18