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Designing Non-traditional Interfaces for Educational Applications in South Africa

This is the deck of slides of a paper presentation at IFIP INteract 2013. Here's the abstract (Full paper can be purchased from Springer),
As a specialised design consultancy for interactive learning environments and tools, Formula D interactive has gained valuable project experience in designing nontraditional interfaces for digital educational content and tools in the culturally diverse context of South Africa. The aim of this paper is to share the company’s experience in the field using prominent examples of their recent work, related research and user testing in order to discuss the merit of large-scale interactive surfaces, gesture-based and tangible interfaces in culturally diverse contexts. The company’s work includes interactive displays for science centres and museums as well as digital learning tools for classroom environments.

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Designing Non-traditional Interfaces for Educational Applications in South Africa

  1. 1. IFIP INTERACT 2013 Lessons Learned from Designing Non-traditional Interfaces for Educational Applications in South Africa Michael Wolf CEO & Interaction Designer at Formula D interactive, Cape Town
  2. 2. Playfield Go to youtube.com for this video
  3. 3. Multi-user touch wall FROG WALL MULTI-USER EXPERIENCE Go to youtube.com for this video
  4. 4. In 2008, visitors did not identify the large screen as an interactive surface. The multitouch “pinch” gesture was only used after iPhone became popular. Users mostly did not understand that the content windows could be moved around. Once the screen was in use by at least one user, other visitors frequently joined in. ‘OBSERVATIONS & LESSONS LEARNED
  5. 5. Assumptions Context and size of the display was in conflict with the conceptual model of touch screens and desktop computers at the time. This resulted in certain GUI elements common to desktop applications not being identified. Distinction from traditional UI’s could have led to users embracing the multi-user functionality naturally. ‘OBSERVATIONS & LESSONS LEARNED
  6. 6. CAPE TOWN TOURISM INTERACTIVE WALL Go to youtube.com for this video
  7. 7. Differentiation between intentional and non- intentional interaction. Digital “Real estate” : Spatial “etiquette” is maintained when multiple users interact in large interactive environments. ‘OBSERVATIONS & LESSONS LEARNED
  8. 8. Multi-user touch wall POINT SCREEN FOR THE CENTRE FOR PUBLIC SERVICE INNOVATION Go to youtube.com for this video
  9. 9. Multi-user touch wall POINT SCREEN FOR CPSI
  10. 10. ‘POINTING INTERACTION CHALLENGES GUI EXPERIMENTS Bad performance with standard GUI menus (e.g. web browser)
  11. 11. Ergonomics ‘POINTING INTERACTION CHALLENGES GUI EXPERIMENTS Better hit results with larger (tile) surfaces
  12. 12. ‘POINTING INTERACTION CHALLENGES FINAL SOLUTION Support for circular hand movement to support wrist ergonomics
  13. 13. ‘POINTING INTERACTION CHALLENGES TRIGGER METHODS #01 ROLL-OVER #02 SELECT BUTTON
  14. 14. ‘OBSERVATIONS & LESSONS LEARNED Today, it still seems “unnatural” to users of various cultures and backgrounds to interact with a screen by pointing at it. It needs instruction. Pointing gesture interfaces require specific ergonomic considerations and interaction design. The trigger problem: Multimodal solution?
  15. 15. ‘VIRTUAL CHEMISTRY LAB TABLE TANGIBLE INTERACTION Go to youtube.com for this video
  16. 16. ‘USER TESTING AT GIRLS’ SCHOOL Today, it still seems “unnatural” to users to interact with a screen by pointing at it. Pointing gestures GUI approach. The trigger problem. Multimodal solution? Go to youtube.com for this video
  17. 17. ‘LESSONS LEARNED The observations confirmed that: The interface was easily understood without instructions by majority of the users. Most users were able to memorise the experiment details The tool invites collaboration since the tangible interface objects can easily be shared and jointly operated. Users liked that they could “see what they are doing” through the strong representation of the active state in the interface (objects/ingredients on the table).
  18. 18. ‘FUTURE DEVELOPMENT DESKTOP UNIT & CMSC
  19. 19. CONCLUSION Successful use of non-traditional UIs in educational environments is strongly linked to user’s concepts and experience with traditional UIs. Combining traditional UI elements with non- traditional elements can help to introduce innovation. Non-traditional UIs have significant advantages in educational settings, when supporting multi- user experiences and co-located collaboration. Non-traditional UIs have the potential to be more accessible for users with limited exposure to traditional UIs.
  20. 20. BY THE WAY LEARNLAB.CO.ZA
  21. 21. Thank you. Michael Wolf CEO & Interaction Designer at Formula D interactive, Cape Town @michael_w_wolf

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