Large Wall Displays

Summary:
In this article, the authors describe a “body-centric model” of human-computer interaction which can be used for very large wall displays. Drawing from existing theory for reality-based and whole-body interfaces, the authors applied various principles and techniques from research in cognitive psychology as well as from sociology. These techniques were integrated into an interactive map browsing and editing application for a very large (5m×3m) wall display.

A strong point about the article is that it describes everything in detail and provides background information where ever needed. Also, pictures are provided as visual aid to better explain or emphasize certain portions of the paper. On the other hand, the authors do on occasion use terms that could be unfamiliar to an average reader (for example, “proprioception”).

A particularly interesting part of the paper was the one that talked about combining the different interaction spaces, i.e., the personal space, the peripersonal space, and the extrapersonal space. This section of the paper claims that, in the real world the brain is “naturally able to bind personal and peripersonal space. This allows us to efficiently reach out and grasp an object in our immediate vicinity. However, in interactive computer systems it is also desirable to bind extrapersonal and personal spaces, because these systems support interaction beyond physical reach using laser pointers or other devices.” The article also highlights four design principles in relation to this:
• Where a large display system supports interaction at a distance, the interaction should be mediated through a representation that binds personal and extrapersonal space.
• Leverage the sense of proprioception by allowing some operations to be performed in the user’s personal space without reliance on visual feedback.
• Interaction techniques should respect user models of private space, and when possible take advantage of them.
• Where possible allow users to make direct use of body cues such as facial expression and posture in order to help manage coordination.

The authors also do well to evaluate their system highlighting both the positives and the areas that require improvement thorough the feedback of six users. When I first looked at that figure, I felt like they definitely needed a bigger sample size. But I soon realized that the authors had acknowledged the fact that a full evaluation would require more controlled experiments and that this was just a casual way to get a sense of what users thought about their system.