Publication: Individual and Group Support in Tabletop Interaction Techniques

A wide range of interaction techniques have been proposed for digital table systems. These techniques can vary in several ways - for example, some can manipulate objects from afar, whereas others require direct touch; some visually connect the cursor to the position of the user, whereas others simply assign different colours to different users. The differences in the way that these techniques are designed can lead to different experiences for the people around the table - particularly in terms of the support that is provided for either a person's individual actions or the group's overall aims. This chapter explores this issue - the ways that the design of an interaction technique can affect individual and group processes - and provides a detailed discussion of the design tradeoffs seen in selecting interaction techniques for tables. To organize the design space, we identify three perspectives (that of the action, the individual, and the group) that highlight different aspects of an interaction technique's design, and six criteria (performance, power, awareness, coordination, use of space, and preference) that allow assessment of a technique's support for individual and group concerns. We discuss the ways that different designs affect the six criteria, using empirical evidence from our own and others' previous experiments. Through this analysis, we demonstrate that different design decisions can have a large impact on people's experience in a tabletop task, and that designers should assess individual and group needs before selecting interaction techniques for tabletop groupware systems.




Miguel Nacenta
University of St Andrews, University of Saskatchewan, University of Calgary
David Pinelle
College of Medicine, University of Saskatchewan
Carl Gutwin
University of Saskatchewan
Regan Mandryk
University of Saskatchewan


Nacenta, M.A., Pinelle, D., Gutwin, C., Mandryk, R.L. 2010. Individual and Group Support in Tabletop Interaction Techniques. In Tabletops - Horizontal Interactive Displays, London: Springer. DOI=10.1007/978-1-84996-113-4_13.


@inbook {481-individual-and-group-support,
author= {Miguel Nacenta and David Pinelle and Carl Gutwin and Regan Mandryk},
title= {Individual and Group Support in Tabletop Interaction Techniques},
booktitle= {Tabletops - Horizontal Interactive Displays},
year= {2010},
note= {London: Springer}