Exploring Extremely Usable Interfaces for Interactive Surfaces
An encouraging trend that can be observed is the wide adoption of interactive surfaces technology in both private and public sectors, such as interactive systems in banks, museums and restaurants. It is evident that such technology has brought forth both possibilities and challenges to our existing use of computing devices. When compared to the typical PC paradigm, interactive surfaces are much larger and support multiple inputs simultaneously, providing unprecedented opportunities for information presentation and collaboration. Two particular characteristics of interest are that a single user paradigm is not assumed, and users’ expertise can vary greatly. A fundamental question is then how the interfaces of such technology should be designed. Interfaces should reflect the technology’s intrinsic directness and expressiveness so users can take full advantage without the need of prior special training. This is a very important requirement especially when the expected users possess heterogeneous roles and backgrounds (e.g. interactive displays in a museum). Such interfaces can be achieved by leveraging the generic knowledge and experience of the users.
Within the context of the MACCH project, which is focused on the development of new surface computing technologies within a mobile emergences services command centre, we see the opportunity of applying our knowledge in surface computing where time-critical and collaborative decisions were made and delivered promptly. In addition, design guidelines and principles can be established through observing how the technology is being used in practice. All of these tie closely to the idea of designing surface interfaces that are easily understood and manipulated, posing as little cognitive load as possible in using the system.
The long term goal of the project is to investigate the feasibility and principles of extremely usable interfaces in various scenarios.
|Initial MACCH software interface|
- Waterloo Regional REACT (Waterloo, ON)
- Research in Motion (Waterloo, ON)