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FlowBlocks: A Multi-Touch UI for Crowd Interaction

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Published on Oct 30, 2012

Multi-touch technology lends itself to collaborative crowd interaction (CI). However, common tap-operated widgets are impractical for CI, since they are susceptible to accidental touches and interference from other users. We present a novel multi-touch interface called FlowBlocks in which every UI action is invoked through a small sequence of user actions: dragging parametric UI-Blocks, and dropping them over operational UI-Docks. The FlowBlocks approach is advantageous for CI because it a) makes accidental touches inconsequential; and b) introduces design parameters for mutual awareness, concurrent input, and conflict management. FlowBlocks was successfully used on the floor of a busy natural history museum. We present the complete design space and describe a year-long iterative design and evaluation process which employed the Rapid Iterative Test and Evaluation (RITE) method in a museum setting.

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