Design guidelines for developing applications for multitouch workstations

April 12, 2010

Based on our experiment we recommend the following set of design guidelines for developing applications for multitouch workstations. Since our studies focus on multitarget selection, all of these guidelines are aimed at applications where target selection is the primary task.

  • A one finger direct-touch device delivers a large performance gain over a mouse-based device. For multitarget selection tasks even devices that detect only one point of touch contact can be effective.
  • Support for detecting two fingers will further improve performance, but support for detecting more than two fingers is unnecessary to improve multitarget selection performance.
  • Reserve same-hand multifinger usage for controlling multiple degrees of freedom or disambiguating gestures rather than for independent target selections.
  • Uniformly scaling up interfaces originally designed for desktop workstations for use with large display direct-touch devices is a viable strategy as long as targets are at least the size of a fingertip.

From: Kenrick Kin, Maneesh Agrawala, Tony DeRose ‘Determining the Benefits of Direct-Touch, Bimanual, and Multifinger Input on a Multitouch Workstation

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