Direct Intentions: The Effects of Input Devices on Collaboration around a Tabletop Display

Authors: 

Tara Whalen
Vicki Ha
Kori M. Inkpen
Regan L. Mandryk
Stacey D. Scott
Mark S. Hancock

Author Addresses: 

Tara Whalen (whalen@cs.dal.ca)
Faculty of Computer Science,
Dalhousie University Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

Vicki Ha (vha@cs.dal.ca)
Faculty of Computer Science,
Dalhousie University Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

Kori M. Inkpen (inkpen@cs.dal.ca)
Faculty of Computer Science,
Dalhousie University Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

Regan L. Mandryk (rlmandry@cs.sfu.ca)
School of Computing Science,
Simon Fraser University Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada.

Stacey D. Scott (sdscott@cpsc.ucalgary.ca)
Department of Computer Science
University of Calgary Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Mark S. Hancock
Department of Computer Science (msh@cpsc.ucalgary.ca)
University of Calgary Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Abstract: 

This paper explores users' interpersonal interactions during collaboration around a tabletop display, in order to better understand the affordances offered by this medium. We investigate participants' collaborative interactions, particularly related to the type of input device provided. Stylus, mouse, and touch-based interactions were provided to allow multiple people to simultaneously interact with tabletop systems in a series of studies, and we observed how the choice of direct or indirect input device affected collaboration. In this paper we discuss how direct and indirect input affect gestures, natural interactions, ergonomics, territoriality, and awareness of both intention and action. The findings from our studies are presented, along with the advantages, drawbacks, and special considerations of each input type in the context of a tabletop setting. These results are valuable for those who deploy and design tabletop systems, by providing them with guidelines for appropriate choice of input device.

Tech Report Number: 
CS-2004-17
Report Date: 
September 28, 2004
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