Comparison of Data Visualization on Different Collaborative Workspaces

Yifei Wang (2023 Spring)

Introduction

With the rise of remote work and distributed teams, the need for effective virtual workspaces has become more pressing than ever. This research aims to explore and evaluate the collaborative working experience and data visualization capabilities of various PC and VR products, including Google Workspace, Horizon Workrooms, Horizon Worlds, and more, comparing their effectiveness in supporting teamwork, communication, and visualization of complex data. By collecting user feedback through surveys and in-class activities, we aim to provide insights into the strengths and weaknesses of each platform and identify potential areas for improvement. Additionally, we discuss the future of VR workspaces and their potential to transform collaboration and visualization across various industries.

User Feedback Collection

Feedback from users was gathered through two methods: a survey questionnaire distributed randomly among VR product user communities and an in-class activity. The in-class activity allowed for synchronized tasks and more comprehensive feedback, while the questionnaires were concise and straightforward. The in-class activity yielded 15 valid responses for Google Workspace, and 10 each for Horizon Workrooms and Horizon Worlds. The external survey resulted in 15 valid responses for both Horizon Workrooms and Horizon Worlds.

Assigned Task

In the in-class activity, participants were divided into three groups and asked to use different virtual workspace products to visualize the same data set. The task design details can be found on this page. Participants recorded the time taken to collaboratively complete the tasks, comparing the efficiency of different products.

Google Workspace

Horizon Workrooms

Horizon Worlds

For Google Workspace, people spend on average 39 seconds to complete the task. For Horizon Workrooms, people spend on average 764 seconds to complete the task. For Horizon Worlds, people spend on average 960 seconds to complete the task. 

Mental Difficulty

Both in-class activity and external survey participants were asked to rate how mentally difficult to use the products. 

(1 = Very Difficult, 10 = Not Difficult)

Google Workspace

Horizon Workrooms

Horizon Worlds

On average, Google Workspace = 8.47, Horizon Workrooms = 5.48, Horizon Worlds = 5.28.

Physical Difficulty

Both in-class activity and external survey participants were asked to rate how physically difficult to use the products. 

(1 = Very Difficult, 10 = Not Difficult)

Google Workspace

Horizon Workrooms

Horizon Worlds

On average, Google Workspace = 9.07, Horizon Workrooms = 5.12, Horizon Worlds = 4.24.

Collaboration Effectiveness

Both in-class activity and external survey participants were asked to rate how effective was it to collaborate with others

(1 = Not Effective, 10 = Very Effective)

Google Workspace

Horizon Workrooms

Horizon Worlds

On average, Google Workspace = 8.2, Horizon Workrooms = 6.36, Horizon Worlds = 6.04.

Visualization Flexibility

Both in-class activity and external survey participants were asked to rate how flexible were the visualization options

(1 = Not Flexible, 10 = Very Flexible)

Google Workspace

Horizon Workrooms

Horizon Worlds

On average, Google Workspace = 7, Horizon Workrooms = 5.52, Horizon Worlds = 4.16.

 Overall Satisfaction

Both in-class activity and external survey participants were asked to rate how satisfied with the overall experience

(1 = Not Satisfied, 10 = Very Satisfied)

Google Workspace

Horizon Workrooms

Horizon Worlds

On average, Google Workspace = 7.87, Horizon Workrooms = 5.44, Horizon Worlds =5.12.

Features Rating

Both in-class activity and external survey participants were asked to rate the following features separately: Interface Design, Interactive Controls, Visual Clarity & Quality, and Communication

(1 = Poor, 5 = Excellent)

Google Workspace

Horizon Workrooms

Horizon Worlds

On average (Interface Design, Interactive Controls, Visual Clarity & Quality, Communication):

Google Workspace = (3.87, 3.47, 4, 4), Horizon Workrooms = (3.12, 2.8, 3.28, 3.72), Horizon Worlds = (3.36, 3.24, 3.24, 3.56).

Most Effective Data Visualization

In-class activity participants were asked to choose the product that provides the most effective data visualization.

90% of participants chose Google Workspace.

10% of participants chose Horizon Workrooms.

0% of participants chose Horizon Worlds.

Most Effective Collaboration

In-class activity participants were asked to choose the product that provides the most effective collaboration.

40% of participants chose Google Workspace.

40% of participants chose Horizon Workrooms.

20% of participants chose Horizon Worlds.

Final Evaluation

Based on the collected data and considering the evaluation metrics provided, the final evaluation of Google Workspace, Horizon Workrooms, and Horizon Worlds is as follows:

Google Workspace outperforms the other platforms in terms of task completion time, with users taking an average of 39 seconds. In contrast, Horizon Workrooms and Horizon Worlds require significantly more time at 764 and 960 seconds, respectively. Furthermore, the higher mental difficulty ratings for Horizon Workrooms and Horizon Worlds suggest that users may face a steeper learning curve when adapting to these platforms.

Google Workspace is rated the highest in collaboration effectiveness (8.2), followed by Horizon Workrooms (6.36) and Horizon Worlds (6.04). This indicates that users find it easier to collaborate and communicate with team members on Google Workspace. Additionally, Google Workspace offers better communication tools and features, as evidenced by its higher communication feature rating (4) compared to Horizon Workrooms (3.72) and Horizon Worlds (3.56).

While Google Workspace receives the highest score for visualization flexibility (7), it is not significantly ahead of Horizon Workrooms (5.52) and Horizon Worlds (4.16). This suggests that there may be room for improvement in terms of visualization tool variety, customizability, and scalability across all platforms.

Google Workspace leads in terms of interface design and interactive controls, with ratings of 3.87 and 3.47, respectively. Horizon Workrooms and Horizon Worlds trail behind with lower scores for both categories. This demonstrates that users find Google Workspace's interface and navigation more user-friendly and intuitive.

Google Workspace excels in visual clarity and quality (4), as well as mental (8.47) and physical (9.07) ease of use, resulting in the highest overall satisfaction score (7.87). Horizon Workrooms and Horizon Worlds lag in these areas, with lower ratings for visual clarity, mental and physical difficulty, and overall satisfaction.

In conclusion, Google Workspace emerges as the superior virtual workspace product based on the evaluation metrics. It outperforms Horizon Workrooms and Horizon Worlds in time efficiency, collaboration ease, interaction design, and overall user experience. However, there is potential for improvement in visualization capabilities across all platforms.

Google Workspace

Horizon Workrooms

Horizon Worlds

Conclusion

Based on the research objective of exploring and evaluating the collaborative working experience and data visualization capabilities of various VR products, including Sinespace, Prospect, Spatial, Meta Horizon, and FrameVR, our findings demonstrate that Google Workspace is the most effective virtual workspace in terms of supporting teamwork, communication, and visualization of complex data. However, it is important to consider a few key points.

First, VR workspaces are still in their nascent stage and are rapidly updating and improving. As new features are introduced and existing ones are refined, the performance of these products may change. This study provides a snapshot of the current state of these virtual workspaces, and future evaluations may yield different results.

Second, some data visualization tasks can be performed effectively only within VR products, and this research did not cover them due to the inherent challenges in comparing such experiences. Consequently, the full potential of VR workspaces in terms of data visualization has not been completely assessed in this study. Further research focusing specifically on these unique VR capabilities could provide additional insights.

Lastly, the potential of VR workspace experiences is immense, particularly in terms of collaboration and data visualization capacities. While this study found that Google Workspace outperforms other platforms in efficiency, the true potential of VR workspaces may lie in their ability to provide immersive, interactive, and spatially engaging experiences that foster collaboration and facilitate the visualization of complex data in ways that traditional workspaces cannot.

In conclusion, the findings of this study suggest that Google Workspace is currently the most effective virtual workspace for collaboration, communication, and data visualization. However, as VR workspaces continue to evolve, their potential for transforming collaborative experiences and data visualization capabilities is vast and warrants further exploration.

Future of VR Workspaces

As virtual reality technology continues to advance and mature, the future of VR workspaces looks promising. The following are some aspects we can expect to see in the coming years as these platforms evolve:

As VR technology improves, we can expect the visual quality and overall user experience of VR workspaces to become more realistic and immersive. Users will likely feel a stronger sense of presence in the virtual environment, making collaboration and communication more natural and effective.

As developers gain a better understanding of user needs and behaviors in VR workspaces, we can expect to see more sophisticated and intuitive collaboration tools. These may include advanced spatial audio, seamless integration with existing communication tools, real-time file sharing, and more natural interactions through gestures and body language.

As VR workspaces mature, they will likely offer more customization options to suit individual and team needs. Users may be able to create tailored workspaces with specific tools, layouts, and environments, making their virtual experiences more engaging and personalized.

The future of VR workspaces will likely involve increased integration with other technologies, such as augmented reality (AR), artificial intelligence (AI), and the Internet of Things (IoT). This could enable enhanced data visualization, real-time analytics, and the ability to merge virtual and physical environments for seamless collaboration.

As VR hardware becomes more affordable and accessible, an increasing number of users will be able to participate in VR workspaces. This could lead to greater adoption rates among businesses and organizations, making virtual collaboration more widespread and commonplace.

As VR workspaces continue to evolve, they will likely find applications in a wider range of industries and use cases. From architecture and urban planning to healthcare and education, the potential for VR workspaces to transform collaboration and visualization is vast and varied.

In conclusion, the future of VR workspaces is bright, with improvements in immersion, collaboration tools, customization, integration with other technologies, accessibility, and applications across various industries. As these platforms continue to evolve, they have the potential to revolutionize the way we collaborate, communicate, and visualize complex data, reshaping the landscape of teamwork and productivity.