UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

A collaborative planning support system for a multi-touch tabletop : the effect of number of touch inputs on collaboration and output quality Fernquist, Jennifer Ellen


This thesis describes the design and evaluation of a collaborative urban planning support system for an interactive multi-touch tabletop display. The system facilitates the design of spatial patterns of proposed development in a co-located collaborative manner. We worked closely with faculty in the School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture at the University of British Columbia and employed an iterative, user-centered development process to create a tabletop system to support landscape architect's primary urban planning steps. The prototype system is designed for use by urban planners, stakeholders, or private citizens: users with a variety of backgrounds and expertise. The collaborative urban planning support system was designed for use on a multi-touch tabletop following lessons learned about considerations for planning support systems, tabletop applications, and encouraging collaboration. The system contains a limited yet adequate set of functions for arranging various building types on a development site map. It has an intuitive and highly interactive interface and uses input data that comes directly from the elementsLAB team. A primary focus of the pattern creation application is ensuring equity of collaboration among users. Urban planners believe that it is important that all members of a group contribute equally to produce a neighbourhood that meets predefined quantitative and qualitative targets. We conducted a controlled experiment that investigated how varying the number of simultaneous touch inputs in the application affects collaboration and output quality. We tested hypotheses that users would (i) collaborate more, (ii) produce higher quality output, and (iii) complete their task faster with a multi-touch application than with a single-touch application. We also tested the hypothesis that (iv) multi-touch interactions with application elements will be preferred over traditional single-touch interactions. The number of touches accepted did not affect the amount of collaboration, output quality, or time. However, participants perceived the multi-touch tasks to be faster and to produce neighbourhood patterns of higher quality. Participants seemed to be more cognitively absorbed in the multi-touch tasks and they significantly preferred the multi-touch application over the single-touch application. In addition, all multi-touch interactions were significantly preferred over single-touch interactions.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International