Exploring Card-Based Sense-Making Activities with Large Multi-touch Display

Large-scale multi-touch displays provide highly interactive spaces for small group activities. These devices feature the ability to detect concurrent touch inputs, which enable multiple co-located collaborators to manipulate virtual spaces in myriad ways. This project explores the patterns of collaborative sense making activities with large multi-touch display. We conducted two studies with two collaborative tasks - a design task and a card-sorting task.

The first study is an exploratory observation on how a small co-located team use digital cards to perform an ideation task. 10 pairs or triads of students from design courses use the tool to brainstorm design ideas. We explored the space use, time arrangement, collaboration style and gestural actions of their collaboration. Our findings suggest that the two types of interactions present different patterns in both temporal and spatial dimensions. Sequential interaction is the major interaction technique, while the simultaneous interaction is actively used for information exploration and manipulating objects in personal space. Observation of semantic actions suggests that some behaviors are preferably performed in turns, while others are used more in simultaneous manner. The relationship between the two interaction types with regard to different collaboration factors is explored. We share lessons learned from the study and suggest design implications for multi-user touch interfaces.

The second study is an formal laboratory study on how visual notifications support collaboration. From the knowledge learnt from the first study we think visual cues like a notification may coordinate shared task and influence awareness when perform parallel work. Notifications in recent studies show promise in enhancing awareness of the actions of co-located collaborators, but lacking is critical knowledge to guide the evaluation of the benefits and costs of collaborative activities. This study identifies a framework for notifications in a multi-user multi-touch context. The framework is explored for a card-sorting task performed by two people (a participant and a script-ed confederate) on a shared tabletop display. Notifications highlight actions performed by each participant to understand changes in social, action, and activity awareness.


Shuo Niu, D. Scott McCrickard, and Steve Harrison. "Investigating Notifications and Awareness for Multi-user Multi-touch Tabletop Displays." In Human-Computer Interaction - INTERACT 2017 (To be published)

Shuo Niu, D. Scott McCrickard, and Steve Harrison. "An Observational Study of Simultaneous and Sequential Interactions in Co-located Collaboration." In Human-Computer Interaction - INTERACT 2017 (To be published)

Shuo Niu, D. Scott McCrickard, and Sophia M. Nguyen. "Learning with interactive tabletop displays." In Frontiers in Education Conference (FIE), 2016 IEEE, pp. 1-9. IEEE, 2016.

McCrickard, D. Scott, Troy D. Abel, Angela Scarpa, Yao Wang, and Shuo Niu. "Collaborative design for young children with autism: Design tools and a user study." In Collaboration Technologies and Systems (CTS), 2015 International Conference on, pp. 175-182. IEEE, 2015.