“When it gets more difficult, use both hands”

“…Exploring Bimanual Curve Manipulation”

by Russell Owen, Gordon Kurtenbach, George Fitzmaurice, Thomas Baudel, Bill Buxton (2005)

  1. Investigated “…relationship between bimanual (two-handed) manipulation and the cognitive aspects of task integration, divided attention and the epistemic action.”
  2. “We provide evidence that the bimanual technique has better performance than the unimanual technique and, as the task becomes more cognitively demanding, the bimanual technique exhibits even greater performance benefits.”
  3. Advantages of two-handed input:
    1. time-motion: reduced time-motion allow users to perform tasks faster, reduce task switching.
    2. existing skills: everyday two-handed actions as metaphors for computer interactions.
    3. expressiveness: ability to quickly manipulate, perceive, and evaluate the transformed data. Increases iteration speed and range in exploring solution space.
  4. When a user is working on a complicated task, two-handed input may further complicate the task (coordinating actions of both hands).
  5. “In our research we have concluded that in order for two-handed input to be effective it must be designed carefully.”
  6. Switching Costs“: when multiple sources of information, we make choices about what to attend to and when.
  7. Chunking tasks” so user perceives operations of two hands as an integrated single activity (minimizes switching costs).
  8. The difference in 1-handed and 2-handed techniques may consist of 1-handed time motion costs and 2-handed cognitive benefits.
  9. “We hypothesize that the cognitive benefits of the two handed technique can be attributed to epistemic action.”
    1. Epistemic Action: performed to uncover information that is hidden or hard to compute mentally. (Using fingers when counting, moving a chess piece to assess the move)
    2. Pragmatic Action: to bring the user closer to the goal by physical manipulation. (A particular goal cannot be accomplished in any way without this particular physical action.)
  10. Design Principles for Effective Two-Handed Input:
    1. task should be visually integrated (not allow divided visual attention between activities of 2 hands)
    2. task should be conceptually integrated (conceptualize operations of 2 hands as one action)
    3. task should employ integrated device spaces

My thoughts:

  • The extensive testing they did for their hypotheses, and the way they structured each hypothesis, makes me think about how I should structure my thesis and subsequent testing. I have not thought about testing too much at this point.
  • Intrigued by #9. Which type of action is used in the TRKBRD? Which type of action do I prefer to concentrate on? I’m afraid that just on this small topic alone, I could dig myself into a very deep hole of more research.
    • Actually, the TRKBRD is neither at this point. But if 2-handed gestures were possible with the device…
  • Inspiration from #10.
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