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Tangible User Interfaces for Peripheral Interaction and Team Coordination

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Gareth Williams.

Much research has been carried in the last ten years in the area of tangible user interfaces or TUIs – that is, interfaces that use physical objects to represent and control digital information. The ‘intuitive’ benefit of TUIs is that they can take advantage of our natural abilities and the space around us, but little work has been done on deconstructing and testing this belief in the real world.

In this talk I will present the system developed as part of my PhD: a tangible user interface to support coordination within project teams. It is designed to complement the existing workstation of each user, providing a platform for users to engage with one another through fast, frequent updates to information on the periphery of their workspace and attention.

The various features of this TUI are motivated by the desire to exploit or augment particular user abilities, and how these features provide users with interactional, cognitive and social benefits. These hypotheses are all open to evaluation, and I will conclude by outlining the fieldwork programme I have set up to test and refine these hypotheses. The generalisation of these findings should provide a grounded understanding of the way in which the usability of TUIs differs from other kinds of interface, when they should be used in preference to other kinds of interface, and how this usability can be designed for.

This talk is part of the Rainbow Interaction Seminars series.

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