Minsuk Chang

Ben Lafreniere
Chatham Labs (prev. Autodesk Research)
Juho Kim

George Fitzmaurice
Autodesk Research

Tovi Grossman
University of Toronto

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This paper introduces Workflow graphs, or W-graphs, which encode how the approaches taken by multiple users performing a fixed 3D design task converge and diverge from one another. The graph’s nodes represent equivalent intermediate task states across users, and directed edges represent how a user moved between these states, inferred from screen recording videos, command log data, and task content history. The result is a data structure that captures alternative methods for performing sub-tasks (e.g., modeling the legs of a chair) and alternative strategies of the overall task. As a case study, we describe and exemplify a computational pipeline for building W-graphs using screen recordings, command logs, and 3D model snapshots from an instrumented version of the Tinkercad 3D modeling application, and present graphs built for two sample tasks. We also illustrate how W-graphs can facilitate novel user interfaces with scenarios in workflow feedback, on-demand task guidance, and instructor dashboards.

Workflow Graphs Concept

In this research, we investigate how multiple demonstrations of a fixed task can be captured and represented in a workflow graph (W-graph) (Figure 1). The idea is to automatically discover the different means of accomplishing a goal from the interaction traces of multiple users, and to encode these in a graph representation. The graph thus represents diverse understanding of the task, opening up arange of possible applications.

W-graphs encode multiple demonstrations of a fixed task, based on commonalities in the workflows employed by users. Nodes represent semantically similar states across demonstrations. Edges represent alternative workflows for sub-tasks. The width of edges represents the number of distinct workflows between two states.

Figure 1

How to Build a Workflow Graph

To be updated

Possible Applications

To be updated


This work has contributed a conceptual approach for representing the different means by which a fixed goal can be achieved in feature rich software, based on recordings of user demonstrations, and has demonstrated a scalable pipeline for constructing such a representation for 3D modeling software. It has also presented a range of applications that could leverage this representation to support users in improving their skill sets over time. Overall, we see this work as a first step toward enabling a new generation of help and learning systems for feature-rich software, powered by data-driven models of tasks and workflows.

GI 2020 Paper

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GI 2020 presentation

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 author = {Chang, Minsuk and Lafreniere, Ben and Kim, Juho and Fitzmaurice, George and Grossman, Tovi},
 title = {Workflow Graphs: A Computational Model of Collective Task Strategies for 3D Design Software},
 booktitle = {Proceedings of Graphics Interface 2020},
 series = {GI 2020},
 year = {2020},
 isbn = {978-0-9947868-5-2},
 location = {University of Toronto},
 pages = {114 -- 124},
 numpages = {11},
 doi = {10.20380/GI2020.13},
 publisher = {Canadian Human-Computer Communications Society / Société canadienne du dialogue humain-machine},