Multitouch interface

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This page is mainly a non-exhaustive review of the different papers about multi-touch interfaces.

1 About the multi-touch tables

1.1 Historicaly

Historically, the first digital tabletop was built by Wellner in 1993 (already!).


See the Digital Desk in action.

1.2 Functional multi-touch tables available

Two products are currently functional and available:

2 Studies

2.1 Usability studies

Lack of empirical studies. Most of them focused on usability questions :

  • Ryall (2004) : influence of the group size and table
    • The size of the table had no significant effect on the speed with which groups were able to assemble poems.
    • Larger groups were significantly faster at assembling poems than smaller groups
    • There was no significant interaction effect between table size and group size
    • Subjects’ agreement with certain statements about the task was affected by the size of the table, but never by the size of the group.
    • The number of example poem printouts given to the group did not significantly affect the group’s task time.
  • Peltonen (2008) : giant multi-touch screen in a mall. Different observations : used in a individual way, they notice it only when there are some other people, ...
    • people notice the wall when other persons are using it
    • more fun to use together than alone
    • but used in a individual way
  • Mansor (2008) : usability of a diamond touch in the kindergarten (wooden tree house). Some issues related to children are listed.
    • children useally put two hands on the table
    • difficult for them with one finger
    • suck their fingers
  • Ringel (2004) : four manipulation techniques (release, relocate, reorient, resize) for sharing documents.
    • relocate is faster than other techniques and have less errors, is more easy to use (according to the subjets)
  • Krueger (2004) : how do people reorient informations on the table? 37 pages about this influence and some design criterias
    • either to sit side by side, by manual orientation, with multiple copies, Person-based automatic orientation, Environment-based automatic orientation
    • xp : comparing normal table vs digital table (with mices) vs pc
    • orientation influences the comprehension, communication and cooperation during the task
  • Scott (2003) : what is the best tabletop for CSCW? very focused on HCI criteria
    • design guidelines (support interpersonal interaction, support fluid transitions between activities, support transitions between personal and group work, support transitions between tabletop collaboration and external work, support the use of physical objects, provide shared access to physical and digital objects, consider the appropriate arrangements of users, and support simultaneous user actions)
  • Widgor (2006) : how to place several displays together
  • Oppl (2009) : tabletop created for mindmap structures, with tangible token and above projector. Not really multitouch.
  • Scott (2004) : the effect of territoriality
    • three type of territories : personal, group, storage, which appears to help people organize and perform their tabletop activities
  • Nacenta (2007) : "We carried out an exploratory study to determine how several different types of interaction techniques (pantograph, telepointers, radar views, drag-and-drop, and laser beam) affected coordination and awareness in two tabletop tasks (a game and a storyboarding activity)."
  • Shen (2003) : presentation of the ubitable, for face-to-face collaboration

2.2 CSCL studies

The only studies related to learning or collaboration have been made by the group of Yvonne Rogers :

  • Harris (2009) : creating a classroom either with a single touch or multi touch table.
    • results : no differences in the frequency or equity of interactions BUT : in multitouch, they spoke more about the task and less about the turn taking management
  • Rick (2009) : good introduction on the learning benefits of a tabletop. Almost the same experiment as Harris
    • more touch in the multi condition, equity : no differences (!= children), discussion on the participation with children, the position influence where they touch the table
  • Rogers (2004) : influence of a vertical or horizontal display. Horizontal improves collaboration.
    • the participants commented how standing up all the time in front of the display was very unnatural and socially awkward, making the task difficult to accomplish.
  • Hornecker (2008) : multi mices vs multi touch.
    • hyp : being able to see another’s physical actions can enhance awareness, which in turn can support fluid interaction and coordination
    • results : higher level of awareness in the multitouch condition; interactions more fluid; interferences more quickly resolved
  • Rogers (2009) : can shareable interfaces facilitate more equitable participation in co-located group settings compared with single user displays?
    • No stats diff, but a more equitable participation from a qualitative point of view
  • Rick (2009) : shareable interfaces : exploration and creation (most promising area); better learning gain with multi-touch
  • Marshall (2008) : "Our findings show that a multi-touch surface increases physical interaction equity and perceptions of dominance, but does not affect levels of verbal participation. Dominant people still continue to talk the most, while quiet ones remain quiet."

2.3 Projects using a multi-touch table

The key feature used in these projects are often to foster cooperation or collaboration.

  • Stock & al. (2008) : a diamondtouch table used for improving conflict resolution between jews and arabs (pilot study)
    • key feature : "the possibility of expressing and negotiating disagreement, at any moment and in a tangible way. This is aimed at implementing the concepts of escalation and deescalation"
    • subjects were asked to build a joint narrative story using shocking pictures describing the conflit
    • Results (quali) : no change of attitude, but the "forced" cooperation seemed to push participants to be more open to other viewpoints.
  • Bauminger & al. (2007) : a diamondtouch table used for improving social communication between autistic children (pilot study)
    • "The results of the pilot study suggest that this technology appears to have a positive effect on improving the quality of social interaction as well as on decreasing the repetitive behaviors that are typical of autism". For that, the children have to cooperatively create a story using some "ladybugs". A-B-A design.

2.4 Other studies

Other various studies concerning tabletop :

  • Malone (1983) : some insights about how people organize their desk.
    • there are two units of organization, files and piles (same concepts as the programming idea)
    • there is an obvious finding functions on the desk, but also a reminding function (what do I need to do urgently?)

3 References

  • Gal, E., Bauminger, N., Goren-Bar, D., Pianesi, F., Stock, O., Zancanaro, M., et al. (2009). Enhancing social communication of children with high-functioning autism through a co-located interface. AI & Society, 24(1), 75-84. doi: 10.1007/s00146-009-0199-0.
  • Chuang, C. L. (2009). The Advantages and Disadvantages of Tabletop Computing Environment for Collaborative Learning.
  • Forlines, C., Wigdor, D., Shen, C., & Balakrishnan, R. (n.d.). Direct-Touch vs. Mice Input for Tabletop Displays. In Proc. Proc. CHI (Vol. 7, pp. 647–656).
  • Gross, T., Fetter, M., & Liebsch, S. (2008). The cuetable: cooperative and competitive multi-touch interaction on a tabletop. In CHI '08 extended abstracts on Human factors in computing systems (pp. 3465-3470). Florence, Italy: ACM. doi: 10.1145/1358628.1358875.
  • Harris, A., Rick, J., Bonnett, V., Yuill, N., Fleck, R., Marshall, P., et al. (2009). Around the table: Are multiple-touch surfaces better than single-touch for children's collaborative interactions. Proceedings of CSCL’09.
  • Hornecker, E., Marshall, P., Dalton, N. S., & Rogers, Y. (2008). Collaboration and interference: awareness with mice or touch input. In Proceedings of the ACM 2008 conference on Computer supported cooperative work (pp. 167–176).
  • Kruger, R., Carpendale, S., Scott, S. D., & Greenberg, S. (2004). Roles of orientation in tabletop collaboration: Comprehension, coordination and communication. Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW), 13(5), 501–537.
  • Malone, T. W. (1983). How do people organize their desks?: Implications for the design of office information systems. ACM Transactions on Information Systems (TOIS), 1(1), 99–112.
  • Mansor, E. I., De Angeli, A., & De Bruijn, O. (2008). Little fingers on the tabletop: A usability evaluation in the kindergarten. In 3rd IEEE International Workshop on Horizontal Interactive Human Computer Systems, 2008. TABLETOP 2008 (pp. 93–96).
  • Marshall, P., Hornecker, E., Morris, R., Dalton, N. S., & Rogers, Y. (2008). When the Fingers do the Talking: A Study of Group Participation with Varying Constraints to a Tabletop Interface. In 3rd IEEE International Workshop on Horizontal Interactive Human Computer Systems, 2008. TABLETOP 2008 (pp. 33–40).
  • Nacenta, M. A., Pinelle, D., Stuckel, D., & Gutwin, C. (2007). The effects of interaction technique on coordination in tabletop groupware. In Proceedings of Graphics interface 2007 (pp. 191–198).
  • Oppl, S., & Stary, C. (2009). Tabletop concept mapping. In Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference on Tangible and Embedded Interaction (pp. 275-282). Cambridge, United Kingdom: ACM. doi: 10.1145/1517664.1517721.
  • Peltonen, P., Kurvinen, E., Salovaara, A., Jacucci, G., Ilmonen, T., Evans, J., et al. (2008). It's Mine, Don't Touch!: interactions at a large multi-touch display in a city centre.
  • Rick, J., Harris, A., Marshall, P., Fleck, R., Yuill, N., & Rogers, Y. (2009). Children designing together on a multi-touch tabletop: an analysis of spatial orientation and user interactions. In Proceedings of the 8th International Conference on Interaction Design and Children (pp. 106–114).
  • Rick, J., Rogers, Y., Haig, C., & Yuill, N. (2009). Learning by doing with shareable interfaces. Children, Youth & Environments, 19(1).
  • Ringel, M., Ryall, K., Shen, C., Forlines, C., & Vernier, F. (2004). Release, relocate, reorient, resize: fluid techniques for document sharing on multi-user interactive tables. In Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (pp. 1441–1444).
  • Rogers, Y., Lim, Y., Hazlewood, W. R., & Marshall, P. (2009). Equal Opportunities: Do Shareable Interfaces Promote More Group Participation Than Single User Displays? Human-Computer Interaction, 24(1), 79–116.
  • Rogers, Y., & Lindley, S. (2004). Collaborating around vertical and horizontal large interactive displays: which way is best? Interacting with Computers, 16(6), 1133–1152.
  • Ryall, K., Forlines, C., Shen, C., & Morris, M. R. (2004). Exploring the effects of group size and table size on interactions with tabletop shared-display groupware. In Proceedings of the 2004 ACM conference on Computer supported cooperative work (pp. 284–293).
  • Scott, S. D., Grant, K. D., & Mandryk, R. L. (2003). System guidelines for co-located, collaborative work on a tabletop display. In ECSCW 2003: Proceedings of the Eighth European Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work, 14-18 September 2003, Helsinki, Finland (p. 159).
  • Scott, S. D., Sheelagh, M., Carpendale, T., & Inkpen, K. M. (2004). Territoriality in collaborative tabletop workspaces. In Proceedings of the 2004 ACM conference on Computer supported cooperative work (pp. 294–303).
  • Shen, C., Everitt, K., & Ryall, K. (2003). UbiTable: Impromptu face-to-face collaboration on horizontal interactive surfaces. Lecture notes in computer science, 281–288.
  • Stock, O., Zancanaro, M., Koren, C., Rocchi, C., Eisikovits, Z., Goren-bar, D., et al. (2008). A co-located interface for narration to support reconciliation in a conflict: initial results from Jewish and Palestinian youth. In Proceeding of the twenty-sixth annual SIGCHI conference on Human factors in computing systems (pp. 1583-1592). Florence, Italy: ACM. doi: 10.1145/1357054.1357302.
  • Toney, A., & Thomas, B. (n.d.). Applying Reach in Direct Manipulation Interfaces. Proc. OzCHI’06, 393–396.
  • Wellner, P. (1993). Interacting with Paper on the DigitalDesk. Communications of the ACM, 36(7), pp. 86-96.
  • Wigdor, D., Shen, C., Forlines, C., & Balakrishnan, R. (2006). Table-centric interactive spaces for real-time collaboration. In Proceedings of the working conference on Advanced visual interfaces (pp. 103–107).