Getting practical with interactive tabletop displays: Designing for dense data, “fat fingers,” diverse interactions, and face-to-face collaboration
Tabletop displays with touch-based input provide many powerful affordances for directly manipulating and collaborating around information visualizations. However, these devices also introduce several challenges for interaction designers, including discrepancies among the resolutions of the visualization, the tabletop’s display, and its sensing technologies; a need to support diverse types of interactions required by different visualization techniques; and the ability to support face-to-face collaboration. As a result, most interactive tabletop applications for working with information currently demonstrate limited functionality and do not approach the power or versatility of their desktop counterparts. We present a series of design considerations, informed by prior interaction design and focus+context visualization research, for ameliorating the challenges inherent in designing practical interaction techniques for tabletop information visualization applications. We then discuss two specific techniques, i-Loupe and iPodLoupe, which illustrate how different choices among these design considerations enable vastly different experiences in working with complex data on interactive surfaces.