The Designersí Outpost: A Tangible Interface for Collaborative Web Site Design

Katherine Everitt, Scott Klemmer, and Robert Lee1
(Professor James A. Landay)
(NSF) IIS-0084367

In our previous studies into web design [1], we found that pens, paper, walls, and tables were often used for explaining, developing, and communicating ideas during the early phases of design. These wall-scale paper-based design practices inspired The Designersí Outpost [2], a tangible user interface that combines the affordances of paper and large physical workspaces with the advantages of electronic media to support information design. With Outpost, users collaboratively author web site information architectures on an electronic whiteboard using physical media (post-it notes and images), structuring and annotating that information with electronic pens. This interaction is enabled by a touch-sensitive SMART board augmented with a rear-mounted video camera for capturing movement and a front-mounted high-resolution camera for capturing ink.

The electronic representation gives us three main advantages: the ability to support fluid transitions to other tools, such as DENIM [3], support for history [4], and remote collaboration [5].

We have recently developed a remote collaboration system [5] based on The Designersí Outpost. The system provides a distributed shared workspace that employs physical post-it notes as interaction primitives. We implement and evaluate two mechanisms for awareness: transient ink input for gestures and a blue shadow of the remote collaborator for presence.

Figure 1: Users collaborate remotely using physical artifacts. Notes that are digital on this board correspond to electronic notes in Figure 2.

Figure 2: Notes on this board are electronic versions of the physical notes in Figure 1.

M. W. Newman and J. A. Landay, "Sitemaps, Storyboards, and Specifications: A Sketch of Web Site Design Practice," Proc. Designing Interactive Systems, New York, NY, August 2000.
S. R. Klemmer, M. W. Newman, R. Farrell, M. Bilezikjian, and J. A. Landay, "The Designersí Outpost: A Tangible Interface for Collaborative Web Site Design," ACM Symp. User Interface Software and Technology, CHI Letters, Vol. 3, No. 2, 2001.
J. Lin, M. W. Newman, J. I. Hong, and J. A. Landay, "DENIM: Finding a Tighter Fit between Tools and Practice for Web Site Design," CHI Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI Letters, Vol. 2, No. 1, 2000.
S. R. Klemmer, M. Thomsen, E. Phelps-Goodman, and J. A. Landay, Where Do Web Sites Come From? Capturing and Interacting with Design History, UC Berkeley Computer Science Division, Report No. UCB/CSD 01/1157, October 2001.
K. M. Everitt, S. R. Klemmer, R. Lee, and J. A. Landay, "Two Worlds Apart: Bridging the Gap Between Physical and Virtual Media for Distributed Design Collaboration," CHI, 2003 (submitted). Also, UC Berkeley Computer Science Division Report No. UCB/CSD 02/1201, 2002.
1Undergraduate (EECS)

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