Territory-Based Interaction Techniques for Tabletop Collaboration Stacey D.
Territory-Based Interaction Techniques for Tabletop Collaboration
Stacey D. Scott
For humans, territoriality is not an instinct or drive, but rather a complex strategy to affect, influence, and control access to people, things, and relationships.
Robert Sack, Human Territoriality, 1986, p. 216.
Tabletop Games Study
Territory-Based Tabletop Workspaces
Setting: 3 game tables were setup for 5 hours in a casual, drop-in university area
Participants: 18 university students participated (10 minutes to several hours)
Workspace Based on Seating Positions
Task: Play tabletop games, as many or as few as desired. (i.e., Jigsaw Puzzle,
Pictionary, Tangram, LEGO construction, and Word Puzzles)
Data collection & analysis: Field notes were recorded of tabletop interactions.
Initial analysis showed the use of several territories during game play. To further
explore the use of territories, interactions in each territory were synthesized by
creating an Affinity Diagram (Holtzblatt & Jones, 1995) to cluster related activities.
Tabletop Territories in Casual Interaction
Used to perform main activities of individual
tasks. During group tasks, used to temporarily
disengage from group interaction to perform
Area on table comprising center of table and
space between personal spaces. Sub-group
territories can exist between specific individuals.
Participants: 8 university students (in groups of 2-3 people).
Tasks: (1) Furniture layout on a table using paper-based media (~45 mins)
(2) Design of a furniture layout computer-aided design application for a
digital tabletop display (~30mins + 60mins)
Data collection & analysis: Tabletop interactions were videotaped. Detailed
video analysis is on-going. Transcripts of the video data include such details as:
initiator of each tabletop action
directional zone of tabletop action (e.g., N, S, etc. see below)
radial zone of tabletop action (e.g., Center, Table Edge see below)
directional zone of the seating position of participants in each session
Floor Plan Edge
Territory-Based Interaction Techniques
Floor Plan Edge
Seating Position Influences Tabletop Territories
On the table in front of him, B
draws out the tans on a piece
of paper towel to solve the
tangram the group is working
D: Lets try another one.
B: Oh, come on
On the table edge, they switch
the tangram key to a new
tans with the
Thanks to the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), Albertas
Informatics Circle of Research Excellence (iCORE), and Alberta Ingenuity Fund for financial support.
B: You had it the
Pointing to the
pen. He starts
the paper towel
D: What about the small
University of Calgary
Breakdown of One Pairs
In the middle of the table, B
and C are both arranging
tans. D is pointing and
suggesting moves but not
Used to hold reference items, tools, items not
currently in use, and non-task items (e.g. food).
Often temporary and/or mobile.
Areas on table on the periphery of personal and
group territories, often along the table edge.
Used to perform main group task activities.
Often used to give assistance on group task.
Area on table directly in front of each person.
Sample Transcript from Tangram Task
Easy adjustment of territory sizes
Easy re-positioning of territories
Easy adjustment of item orientation, regardless of location
Easy adjustment of any orientation associated with a territory
Easy override of automated actions
Group Use of Territories:
Personal, group, & storage territories in Pictionary
Individual Use of Territories:
Personal & storage territories in tangram task
Basic Requirements for Territory Workspaces
Setting: Usability laboratory at Dalhousie University.
Tabletop Layout & Design Study
Calgary, AB, Canada
form at each persons
position at the table:
directly in front
group territory towards
storage territories off to
Most tabletop interactions occur near each persons
seating position (see table to the left).
Western Zone (WSW, W, WNW)
The table center and areas between peoples personal
territories are used frequently by everyone at the table.
Eastern Zone (ESE, E, ENE)
People hesitate to interact in the table edge in front of
someone else; instead, people often ask for actions to
be performed in those areas by the nearby person.
Central Zone (Center)
Thanks also to my supervisors Dr. Sheelagh Carpendale and Dr. Kori Inkpen, to members of the
Interactions Lab for contributing ideas, and to Russell Kruger for his invaluable transcription tool.
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