This project introduces a touch-based reading interface for tablets designed to support vocabulary acquisition, text comprehension, and reduction of reading anxiety. Touch interaction is leveraged to allow direct replacement of words with synonyms, easy access to word definitions and seamless dialogue with a personalized model of the reader’s vocabulary. We discuss how fluid interaction and direct manipulation coupled with natural language processing can help address the reading needs of audiences such as school-age children and English as Second Language learners.
In time-varying information visualizations, changes in data values over time are most often shown through animation, or through interaction with a time slider widget. We introduce a new direct manipulation technique for interacting with visual items in information visualizations to enable exploration of the time dimension. This interaction is guided by visual hint paths which indicate how a selected data item changes through the time dimension of a visualization. Using DimpVis, navigation through time is controlled by manipulating any data item along its hint path. All other items are updated to reflect the new time. We illustrate how DimpVis can be applied to time-varying scatter plots, bar charts, pie charts and heatmaps. Results from a comparative, task-oriented evaluation of DimpVis, the slider and static multiple images show that DimpVis for the scatterplot significantly outperformed multiple images, was quantitatively competitive with the slider and was subjectively preferred by participants.
We present TandemTable, a multi-touch tabletop system designed to break down communication barriers between partners, with a special focus on supporting those who are learning languages. The design was guided by a grounding study of a real-world tandem language learning (TLL) environment and refined with an exploratory study of an early prototype. TandemTable facilitates and supports conversations by suggesting topics of discussion and presenting partners with a variety of conversation-focused collaborative activities, which consist of shared digital topical content that is dynamically downloaded from the web. Through a formal study comparing TandemTable to the baseline TLL condition of no support, our system was shown to increase communication between learning partners, reduce social discomfort, and was the preferred way of engaging in TLL.
While multi-touch computing becomes more common, there comes a requirement for students to learn how to create software for multi-touch environments. Although there are many powerful toolkits that exist already, they require a strong programming background and thus become difficult to integrate into fast-paced human-computer interaction (HCI) courses or for non-CS students to use. Researchers at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) and the University of Waterloo (UW) have developed a toolkit with a simplified API called the Simple Multi-Touch Toolkit (SMT).
Based around the concept of touch-enabled zones, SMT is built as a library for the popular processing platform or as a standalone Java library. By integrating with Processing’s simplified syntax, SMT makes prototyping multi-touch applications fast and easy. SMT natively supports TUIO and works on Windows Touch but also provides a multi-touch simulator to support non-touch enabled environments. While SMT was designed to support students and used in undergraduate HCI courses at both UOIT and UW in experimenting with multi-touch input, SurfNet researchers have also used SMT to develop several applications.