Ban Al-Ani

University of California, Irvine, Irvine, California, United States

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Publications (47)3.69 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Gamification is the use of game elements in non-game context to engage and to motivate people to achieve goals. Its use is becoming very popular in software development organizations due to work being based upon human-centric and brain-intensive activity. This paper presents the topics of collaboration and gamification in the context of software engineering, and proposes a framework that identifies the most common collaboration issues that affect software development teams, and how to apply game elements to motivate a change on their behaviors.
    Full-text · Conference Paper · Nov 2015
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    Full-text · Conference Paper · Jan 2015

  • No preview · Conference Paper · Aug 2014
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    ABSTRACT: Trust is generally considered a key element of effective and productive distributed team collaborations. In this paper, we report the results of our investigation into the factors that engender trust in Global Systems Engineering (GSE) teams in five multinational organizations. We extend our previous work by conducting a new field study focused solely on factors that engender trust and identify the implications of these factors. Our work provides significant contributions to practitioners, researchers and tool developers. Managers working in study field sites have confirmed that our findings will be used to inform future team management strategies. Our results can also be used to structure and guide future research in this field, as it identifies gaps in existing literature. Finally, our findings can be used to inform the development of future tools that aim to support collaborative work in general and GSE teams specifically.
    No preview · Conference Paper · Aug 2013
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    ABSTRACT: We are proposing a SIG designed for Human-Computer Interaction for Development (HCI4D) Community. It is designed to foster further collaboration, dissemination of research results and findings from practitioners, as well as to promote discussion of how we can both learn from each other and from those we serve in underserved communities wherever they may be.
    No preview · Conference Paper · Apr 2013
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    ABSTRACT: Trust remains a challenge in globally distributed development teams. In order to investigate how trust plays out in this context, we conducted a qualitative study of 5 multi-national IT organizations. We interviewed 58 individuals across 10 countries and made two principal findings. First, study participants described trust in terms of their expectations of their colleagues. These expectations fell into one of three dimensions: that socially correct behavior will persist, that team members possess technical competency, and that individuals will demonstrate concern for others. Second, our study participants described trust as a dynamic process, with phases including formation, dissolution, adjustment and restoration. We provide new insights into these dimensions and phases of trust within distributed teams which extend existing literature. Our study also provides guidelines on effective practices within distributed teams in addition to providing implications for the extension of software engineering and collaboration tools.
    No preview · Conference Paper · Feb 2013
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    ABSTRACT: We present a workshop in which trust in virtual teams is the central theme. Trust is essential for effective and efficient collaborations to take place and is more challenging when people are unable to meet face-to-face. The workshop aims to generate discussions which address three key issues within this general theme: 1) the factors that engender and inhibit trust, 2) the structure of a trust framework, 3) and the requirements for software tools that support the development of trust during virtual collaborations.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2013
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    ABSTRACT: Context In Global Systems Engineering teams, researchers have found that trust can be transitive to some degree or imported (swift trust) under certain conditions. We argue that trust can be contagion and seeded by tools (spread from one individual to another through tools). Objective We sought to investigate the potential for using tools to support the development of trust in such teams and facilitate contagion trust. Specifically, we sought to investigate whether any existing tools support the development of trust in such teams and which information helps such development, whether the visualization of past collaborations would help developing trust, and what tools or features practitioners would wish for, if they had a magic wand. Method We interviewed 71 employees from five multinational organizations. We focused on gaining an understanding of the tools that are currently used to engender trust and the information needed to facilitate contagion, in which conditions visualizations of past collaborations are helpful, and what software tool features could help develop trust. Our analysis was guided by grounded theory. Results We found evidence that supports the theory of contagion trust and tools can be used to initiate the development of trust. These tools include software tools, office technologies, or organizational structures. Practitioners’ needs were functional (e.g. audio channel with remote colleagues) and/or non-functional (e.g. can be adopted in sites with poor infrastructure). Conclusion Our study illustrates that tools can be used to facilitate contagion trust and provides three main contributions. First, our exploration of how existing tools are used provides a guide to effective practices in such teams. Second, the descriptions of features that can facilitate contagion trust provide useful design implications for future tools. Third, the identification of the kind of information that facilitates contagion trust provides an understanding of practitioners’ underlying needs that can be used to develop collaboration tools.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2013 · Information and Software Technology
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    Full-text · Article · Jan 2013
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    ABSTRACT: We sought to understand the role that Web 2.0 technologies play in supporting the development of trust in globally distributed development teams. We found the use of Web 2.0 technologies to be minimal, with less than 25% of our participants reporting using them and many reporting the disadvantages of adopting them. In response, we sought to understand the factors that led to the use and non-use of these technologies in distributed development teams. We adopted a mix of qualitative and quantitative methods to analyze data collected from 61 interviewees representing all common roles in systems development. We discovered six factors that influenced the use and non-use of Web 2.0 technology. We present a proclivity model to frame our findings as well as our conclusions about the interrelationships between the results of our qualitative and quantitative analyses. We also present implications for the design of collaboration tools, which could lead to greater support and usage by distributed developers.
    No preview · Conference Paper · Aug 2012
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    ABSTRACT: In this paper we investigate the role blogs played within the context of the Egyptian revolution of early 2011 using blog data authored between 2004-2011. We conducted topic modeling analysis to gain a longitudinal view of the interaction of societal, personal and revolutionary blog topics over this period. Furthermore, a qualitative analysis of blog posts during the period that bracketed the political uprising revealed Egyptian bloggers' concerns. Reporting events and supplying commentary provided bloggers with a means to voice dissent against institutionalized power represented by the government-controlled media. In short, blogs reveal a counter-narrative to the government-supplied version of events in Egypt during the 18-day uprising. These narratives offer rich documentation of how blogs, and perhaps social media more generally, can be utilized by individuals operating under repressive conditions.
    Full-text · Conference Paper · May 2012
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    ABSTRACT: Disaster-related research in human-centered computing has typically focused on the shorter-term, emergency period of a disaster event, whereas effects of some crises are long-term, lasting years. Social media archived on the Internet provides researchers the opportunity to examine societal reactions to a disaster over time. In this paper we examine how blogs written during a protracted conflict might reflect a collective view of the event. The sheer amount of data originating from the Internet about a significant event poses a challenge to researchers; we employ topic modeling and pronoun analysis as methods to analyze such large-scale data. First, we discovered that blog war topics temporally tracked the actual, measurable violence in the society suggesting that blog content can be an indicator of the health or state of the affected population. We also found that people exhibited a collective identity when they blogged about war, as evidenced by a higher use of first-person plural pronouns compared to blogging on other topics. Blogging about daily life decreased as violence in the society increased; when violence waned, there was a resurgence of daily life topics, potentially illustrating how a society returns to normalcy.
    Full-text · Conference Paper · May 2012
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    Amy Voida · Ellie Harmon · Ban Al-Ani
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    ABSTRACT: We present the results of a qualitative study of the use of social computing technologies by volunteer coordinators at nonprofit organizations. The work of volunteer coordinators is bridge-building work—bringing together numerous public constituencies as well as constituencies within their organizations. One might expect this class of work to be well supported by social software, some of which has been found to enable bridging social capital. However, we find that, in many ways, this class of technology fails to adequately support volunteer coordinators' bridge-building work. We discuss a number of strategies for bridge-building via social computing technologies, numerous challenges faced by volunteer coordinators in their use of these technologies, and opportunities for designing social software to better support bridge-building between organizations and the public.
    Preview · Article · May 2012
  • Yi Wang · Erik Trainer · Ban Al-Ani · Sabrina Marczak
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    ABSTRACT: Collaboration tools support global software engineering (GSE) by providing relevant information and work context to developers, essentially seeking to provide a local context for developers working globally. Although many collaborative tools have been developed, we have insufficient knowledge of how they are used in practice. In this paper, we review the recent empirical studies on collaboration tools for GSE. Then we theorize a conceptual framework that aims to explain how the unique contextual dimensions of GSE (e.g. culture diversity and adaptation, etc.) influence practitioners' attitudes toward, and usage of, the tools. The conceptual framework will guide our future empirical studies, and it will be refined by the empirical evidence collected in these studies.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2012
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    ABSTRACT: Trust can be defined in terms of one party's expectations of another, and the former's willingness to be vulnerable based on those expectations. Surprise results from a failure to meet expectations, which can influence trust. We conducted an empirical study of surprises stemming from cultural differences in distributed teams and their influence on trust. Our study findings provide two primary contributions. First, we find that trust judgments in culturally diverse teams are made from accumulated experiences that involve a sequence of cultural surprise, attribution, formulation of new expectations, and the application of adaptations in new situations. Second, we document adaptations that individuals develop to avoid future surprises and which ultimately helped them to improve their sense of trust towards others. In general, our findings contribute to the existing body of work by providing evidence of how people attribute specific cultural surprises, the impact on their sense of trust and adaptations.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2012
  • B. Al-Ani · H. Wilensky · D. Redmiles · E. Simmons
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    ABSTRACT: Person-to-person knowledge sharing is considered a key aspect of any effective collaboration. Many studies have investigated what motivates team members to share knowledge, but few have explored the role trust plays in knowledge seeking and acceptance. We conducted an empirical field study to investigate trust in distributed teams and its influence on knowledge seeking and acceptance practices in a Fortune 500 organization. Our main objective in this study was to investigate what factors determine who will be sought when knowledge is needed, and what the criteria are for knowledge acceptance in person-to-person knowledge sharing. Study findings provide a substantial understanding of knowledge-seeking practices, knowledge-acceptance needs, and the role trust plays in these practices and needs. In this paper, we discuss these findings and their implications on future tool support.
    No preview · Conference Paper · Sep 2011
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    ABSTRACT: We investigated how trust among software developers would be affected by providing them with visualizations of collaborative traces. We define collaborative traces to be representations of the past and current activity of a group of developers manipulating software development artifacts. In this paper, we report two main findings. First, we report the results of our controlled experiment in which collaborative traces were visualized. Second, we present an overview of tools which aim to represent collaborative software engineering traces. Our experiment provides evidence that collaborative traces can support the development of several factors of trust identified in our field study. However, we also identified some shortcomings of our current visualizations, gaining insights into future improvements. From our review of tools that represent collaborative traces, we observed that such representations can drive the design of tools that aim to support trust. We also present a table of tools; the table can be used to guide discussion and the design of tools that promote trust in software development.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2011 · Proceedings - International Conference on Software Engineering
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    Amy Voida · Ellie Harmon · Ban Al-Ani
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    ABSTRACT: Many people manage a complex assortment of digital information in their lives. Volunteer coordinators at nonprofit organizations are no exception; they collectively manage information about millions of volunteers every year. Yet current information management systems are insufficient for their needs. In this paper, we present results of a qualitative study of the information management practices of volunteer coordinators. We identify the resource constraints and the diverse and fluid information needs, stakeholders, and work contexts that motivate their information management strategies. We characterize the assemblages of information systems that volunteer coordinators have created to satisfice their needs as 'homebrew databases.' Finally, we identify additional information management challenges that result from the use of these 'homebrew databases,' highlighting deficiencies in the appropriateness and usability of databases and information management systems, more generally.
    Preview · Conference Paper · Jan 2011
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    Bryan Semaan · Gloria Mark · Ban Al-Ani
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    ABSTRACT: This paper considers a subset of the technology-enabled communication that took place among citizen populations experiencing various disruptions, e.g. disaster and war. In the context of a disrupted environment, trust can erode where people no longer rely on institutions for support (i.e. the government), or where citizens do not trust other people. We argue that depending on what is taking place in the physical world, trust in people, information, and institutions can change – in this sense, trust is contextual. We then offer recommendations for designing new technologies for people who experience disruption, taking into account trust and context.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2010
  • Gloria Mark · Ban Al-Ani · Bryan Semaan
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    ABSTRACT: People depend on human infrastructure for a range of activities in their daily lives, such as work and socializing. In this paper we consider three different intertwined types of infrastructures of a society that may be affected in crisis situations: the physical, technological, and human infrastructures. We argue that when the human infrastructure is damaged, e.g. in a natural catastrophe or war, then people can switch reliance to the technological infrastructure to be resilient. We conducted an empirical study of 85 people who lived in war zones during the 2006 Israeli-Lebanon war and the ongoing Gulf war in Iraq. In this paper, we report how information technology is used by our informants in new ways in their attempt to maintain social relationships and continue working. Our informants also used technology to help navigate safe routes for travel and for psychological support. We discuss implications of our results for disaster research.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2010