Territory-Based Interaction Techniques for Tabletop Collaboration Stacey D.

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

Experimental Methodology
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)

Storage

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
Storage

Storage

P

pencil
sharpener
Game
Deck

S10

Loose
tans

Personal

Used to perform main activities of individual
tasks. During group tasks, used to temporarily
disengage from group interaction to perform
parallel activities.

Group Territories
Area on table comprising center of table and
space between personal spaces. Sub-group
territories can exist between specific individuals.

Storage

Storage

Three collaborators

Two collaborators

Spare
board
pencil
markers

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
NW

N

NNW

NNE

Table Edge
Floor Plan Edge
Midway
Center

NE

WNW

ENE

W

E
WSW

Territory-Based Interaction Techniques

Midway
Floor Plan Edge

ESE

SW

SSW

S

SSE

SE

Table Edge

Directional Zones

Territory-Boundary Interactions

Radial Zones

Seating Position Influences Tabletop Territories
Personal

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
on.

Personal

D: Lets try another one.
B: Oh, come on

Territory-Based Orientation

On the table edge, they switch
the tangram key to a new
silhouette.

first time.
tans with the
drawing on
again.

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.

Z

B: You had it the
Pointing to the
pen. He starts
the paper towel

(Cox &Greenberg,
2000)

Y

D: What about the small
triangle?

Group

H
G
F

A

B
C

E

D

Territory-Specific Menus

Magnification &
Distortion

(McGuffin &
Balakrishnan, 2002)

University of Calgary

Storage

Layout Task
Breakdown of One Pairs
Tabletop Interactions

Item Shuffling
S

In the middle of the table, B
and C are both arranging
tans. D is pointing and
suggesting moves but not
interacting.

Territory-Based Sizing

Territory-Specific Interactions

X

Used to hold reference items, tools, items not
currently in use, and non-task items (e.g. food).
Often temporary and/or mobile.

Extra
Paper

Storage

W

Areas on table on the periphery of personal and
group territories, often along the table edge.

P

V

Storage Territories

Used paper
Candy
wrappers

T
U

Used to perform main group task activities.
Often used to give assistance on group task.

Personal

Area on table directly in front of each person.

PP

Personal

Sample Transcript from Tangram Task

Storage

Personal Territories

P

Group

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

Group

Individual Use of Territories:
Personal & storage territories in tangram task

Sub-Group

P

timer

S11

S2

Group

timer

P

Personal

S14

P
D

Assembled
tans

One person

S13
bowl

Storage

Storage

Storage

Basic Requirements for Territory Workspaces

Personal
Tangram
key

Personal

Personal

Personal

Personal

Personal Group

Experimental Methodology
Setting: Usability laboratory at Dalhousie University.

Storage

Storage

Tabletop Layout & Design Study

32
1

32

1

3

21

Storage-Territory Search
Techniques

Calgary, AB, Canada

Total

person
@West

person
@East

Group

Storage

Territories consistently
form at each persons
position at the table:
personal territory
directly in front
group territory towards
the center
storage territories off to
the sides

Design Task

Most tabletop interactions occur near each persons
seating position (see table to the left).

Western Zone (WSW, W, WNW)
74
62
12

The table center and areas between peoples personal
territories are used frequently by everyone at the table.

Eastern Zone (ESE, E, ENE)
60
11
49

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)
18
9
9

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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