Benjamin Lafreniere

I am a Human-Computer Interaction researcher with expertise in the areas of interactive help systems, the design of novel interaction mechanisms, and the usability of feature-rich software.

I earned my PhD at the University of Waterloo, where I developed the idea of task-centric user interfaces, in which high-level tasks and goals are used as the central organizing principle for a user interface.

My immediate background is in computer science, but I draw on a diverse set of skills, including user-centered design, rapid prototyping of interactive systems, qualitative methods, and large-scale data analysis.

For more information, including a list of recent publications, check out


Faster Command Selection on Touchscreen Watches
Lafreniere, B., Gutwin, C., Cockburn, A., Grossman, T. (2016), Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 2016), 4663-4674. <doi:10.1145/2858036.2858166>
Peak-End Effects on Player Experience in Casual Games
Gutwin, C., Rooke, C., Cockburn, A., Mandryk, R., Lafreniere, B. (2016), Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 2016), San Jose, USA. 5608-5619. Honourable Mention Award (top 5%).
HandMark Menus: Rapid Command Selection and Large Command Sets on Multi-Touch Displays
Uddin, M., Gutwin, C., Lafreniere, B. (2016), In Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI '2016), San Jose, CA, USA. 5836-5848. <doi:10.1145/2858036.2858211>
Testing the Rehearsal Hypothesis with Two FastTap Interfaces
Gutwin, C., Cockburn, A., Lafreniere, B. (2015), Proceedings of the Conference on Graphics Interface (GI 2015), ISBN 978-0-9947868-0-7. 223-231.


HandMark Menus: Use Hands as Landmarks in Large Touch Screens
HandMark Menus are rapid access techniques specially designed for large multi-touch surfaces. There are two versions of HandMark Menus, and both place commands in spatially stable spaces around and between the fingers of both hands, so with practice, users can learn locations of commands by taking advantage of the proprioceptive knowledge of their own hands and fingers.