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The Fundamental Issues of Pen-Based Interaction with Tablet Devices Open Access


Other title
unintended touch
human computer interaction
pen computing
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Annett, Michelle K
Supervisor and department
Bischof, Walter F (Computing Science)
Dietz, Paul (Microsoft Research)
Examining committee member and department
Hinckley, Ken (Microsoft Research)
Boulanger, Pierre (Computing Science)
Maraj, Brian (Physical Education & Recreation)
Department of Computing Science

Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
Although pens and paper are pervasive in the analog world, their digital counterparts, styli and tablets, have yet to achieve the same adoption or frequency of use. Digital styli should provide a natural, intuitive method to take notes, annotate, and sketch, but have yet to reach their full potential. There has been surprisingly little research focused on understanding why inking experiences differ so vastly between analog and digital media and amongst various styli themselves. To enrich our knowledge on the stylus experience, this thesis contributes a foundational understanding of the factors implicated in the varied experiences found within the stylus ecosystem today. The thesis first reports on an exploratory study utilizing traditional pen and paper and tablets and styli that observed quantitative and behavioural data, in addition to preferential opinions, to understand current inking experiences. The exploration uncovered the significant impact latency, unintended touch, and stylus accuracy have on the user experience, whilst also determining the increasing importance of stylus and device aesthetics and stroke beautification. The observed behavioural adaptations and quantitative measurements dictated the direction of the research presented herein. A systematic approach was then taken to gather a deeper understanding of device latency and stylus accuracy. A series of experiments garnered insight into latency and accuracy, examining the underlying elements that result in the lackluster experiences found today. The results underscored the importance of visual feedback, user expectations, and perceptual limitations on user performance and satisfaction. The proposed Latency Perception Model has provided a cohesive understanding of touch- and pen-based latency perception, and a solid foundation upon which future explorations of latency can occur. The thesis also presents an in-depth exploration of unintended touch. The data collection and analysis underscored the importance of stylus information and the use of additional data sources for solving unintended touch. The behavioral observations reemphasized the importance of designing devices and interfaces that support natural, fluid interaction and suggested hardware and software advancements necessary in the future. The commentary on the interaction - rejection dichotomy should be of great value to developers of unintended touch solutions along with designers of next-generation interaction techniques and styli. The thesis then concludes with a commentary on the areas of the stylus ecosystem that would benefit from increased attention and focus in the years to come and future technological advancements that could present interesting challenges in the future.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
Citation for previous publication
Annett, M., Gupta, A., and Bischof, W.F. (2014). Exploring and Understanding Unintended Touch during Direct Pen Interaction. Transactions on Computer Human Interaction, 21(5), to appear in the December 2014 Volume.Annett, M., Anderson, F., Bischof, W.F., and Gupta, A. (2014). The Pen is Mightier: Understanding Stylus Behavior While Inking on Tablets. In the Proceedings of Graphics Interface, 193 - 200.Annett, M., Ng, A., Dietz, P., Bischof, W.F., and Gupta, A. (2014). How Low Should We Go? Understanding the Perception of Latency While Inking. In the Proceedings of Graphics Interface, 167 - 174.Ng, A., Annett, M., Dietz, P., Bischof, W.F., and Gupta, A. (2014). In the Blink of an Eye: Investigating Latency Perception during Stylus Interaction. In the Proceedings of CHI, 1103 - 1112.

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