Tools for online tutorials: comparing capture devices, tutorial representations, and access devices

Abstract

Tutorials are one of the most fundamental means of conveying knowledge. Ideally when the task involves physical or digital objects, tutorials not only describe each step with text or via audio narration but show it as well using photos or animation. In most cases, online tutorial authors capture media from handheld mobile devices to compose these documents, but increasingly they use wearable devices as well. In this work, we explore the full life-cycle of online tutorial creation and viewing using head-mounted capture and displays. We developed a media-capture tool for Google Glass that requires minimal attention to the capture device and instead allows the author to focus on creating the tutorial’s content rather than its capture. The capture tool is coupled with web-based authoring tools for creating annotatable videos and multimedia documents. In a study comparing standalone (camera on tripod) versus wearable capture (Google Glass) as well as two types of multimedia representation for authoring tutorials (video-based or document-based), we show that tutorial authors have a preference for wearable capture devices, especially when recording activities involving larger objects in non-desktop environments. Authors preferred document-based multimedia tutorials because they are more straightforward to compose and the step-based structure translates more directly to explaining a procedure. In addition, we explored using head-mounted displays (Google Glass) for accessing tutorials in comparison to lightweight computing devices such as tablets. Our study included tutorials recorded with the same capture methods as in our access study. We found that although authors preferred head-mounted capture, tutorial consumers preferred video recorded by a camera on tripod that provides a more stable image of the workspace. Head-mounted displays are good for glanceable information, however video demands more attention and our participants made more errors using Glass than when using a tablet, which was easier to ignore. Our findings point out several design implications for online tutorial authoring and access methods.