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advent of ultra-high resolution wall-size displays and their use for complex tasks require a more systematic

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ABSTRACT

The advent of ultra-high resolution wall-size displays and their use for complex tasks require a more systematic anal- ysis and deeper understanding of their advantages and draw- backs compared with desktop monitors. While previous work has mostly addressed search, visualization and sense-making tasks, we have designed an abstract classification task that involves explicit data manipulation. Based on our observa- tions of real uses of a wall display, this task represents a large category of applications.

Our main finding is a robust inter- action effect between display type and task difficulty: while the desktop can be faster than the wall for simple tasks, the wall gains a sizable advantage as the task becomes more dif- ficult. A follow-up study shows that other desktop techniques (overview+detail, lens) do not perform better than pan-and- zoom and are therefore slower than the wall for difficult tasks.

Author Keywords

Wall-size display; Classification task; Physical navigation; Pan-and-zoom; Lenses; Overview+detail

ACM Classification Keywords

H.5.2 [Information Interfaces and Presentation]: User Inter- faces - Graphical user interfaces

INTRODUCTION

Wall-size displays are becoming more common, [5, 24] rais- ing the question as to whether existing research findings on desktop-size displays still apply to this new environment. Re- visiting this question is even more essential as the technol- ogy evolves. Projection-based systems with low pixel den- sity (typically 30 dpi) can now be replaced by tiled displays with the same pixel density as desktop monitors, i.e. about 100 dpi. Overall resolution (number of pixels) is thus multi- plied by a factor of 10. This increased density, in turn, affords physical navigation. Users simply approach the screen to see detail and step back for an overview, similar to the pan-and- zoom navigation available on a desktop display. This raises the question as to the relative trade-offs between physical nav- igation with a wall-size display versus virtual navigation on a desktop.

Permission to make digital or hard copies of all or part of this work for personal or classroom use is granted without fee provided that copies are not made or distributed for profit or commercial advantage and that copies bear this notice and the full cita- tion on the first page. Copyrights for components of this work owned by others than ACM must be honored. Abstracting with credit is permitted. To copy otherwise, or re- publish, to post on servers or to redistribute to lists, requires prior specific permission and/or a fee. Request permissions from permissions@acm.org.

CHI 2014, April 26–May 1, 2014, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Copyright © 2014 ACM 978-1-4503-2473-1/14/04..$15.00.

http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/2556288.2557020

 

Most previous research has addressed search, visualization and sense-making tasks. However, our observations of actual users during prototyping and real-world tasks shows that they want to reorganize data displayed on the wall: users move items around and group them in a way that is meaningful to the task at hand. We are therefore interested in tasks that re- quire explicit data manipulation. Such tasks can be conducted on a desktop computer with multi-scale navigation techniques such as interactive overviews, but the need to manipulate data,

e.g. with pick-and-drop, increases the complexity of the in- teraction. We need to better understand the benefits and draw- backs of these differently sized displays in an interactive con- text to develop guidelines that better inform their design.

Our challenge is how to design an abstract task that opera- tionalizes the critical aspects of data manipulation in order to conduct controlled experiments that compare task perfor- mance for both wall-size and desktop displays. To increase internal validity, the task should reduce the cognitive load associated with the decision-making process and focus on actual data manipulation. To increase external validity, it should feature the same typical interactions found in real- world tasks. Finally, experimenters should be able to vary, in a controlled way, the difficulty of the task.

The rest of this paper provides a more detailed motivation for our work, including specific observations of users that high- lighted requirements and influenced the design of the abstract task. We review the related work and then describe our de- sign of an abstract classification task that matches the above requirements. We report the results of two controlled exper- iments that use this task to compare physical navigation on a wall-size display to three forms of virtual navigation on a desktop monitor. We conclude with a discussion of the main result, which found a robust interaction effect between dis- play type and task difficulty: Although the desktop is often faster for simple tasks, the wall-size display performs signifi- cantly better with increased task difficulty.

MOTIVATION

We conducted a series of participatory design workshops with users, mostly scientists, to observe how they interacted with their own data on our ultra-high resolution wall-size display, and we also used the wall for our own real-word tasks. We briefly describe four typical examples of use.

 

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