The study of surface computer supported cooperative work and its design, efficiency, and challenges

Wu Yuin Hwang, Jia Han Su

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


In this study, a Surface Computer Supported Cooperative Work paradigm is proposed. Recently, multitouch technology has become widely available for human-computer interaction. We found it has great potential to facilitate more awareness of human-to-human interaction than personal computers (PCs) in colocated collaborative work. However, other studies and modern operating systems have rarely been concerned with colocated interactions in their user interface (UI) design. Therefore, one UI framework, which we have named Surface Application Framework (SAF), is proposed to support multitouch and multiuser applications on tabletop computers. To explore the effects of wide area SAFs on colocated collaboration, one application, capable of making English sentences, was developed based on an SAF. This application was used to conduct a user-centric study to investigate differences between surface computers and PCs. The results show that a surface computer performs better than a PC in creating awareness during collaborative work, but it requires more time due to its poor performance with drag-and-drop operations. Finally, this study summarizes a three-dimensional design approach to consider various trade-offs between awareness and manipulative performances. Additionally, some mechanisms are suggested to be employed to overcome the weakness of drag-and-drop operations with multitouch interfaces in a future study.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)177-198
Number of pages22
JournalInteractive Learning Environments
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2012


  • colocated collaboration
  • manipulation
  • multitouch
  • surface computer
  • tabletop interaction
  • workspace awareness


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