Please note: This PhD defence will be given online.
Hemant Surale, PhD candidate
David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science
Raskin defines a mode as a distinct setting within an interface where the same user input will produce results different to those it would produce in other settings. Most Interfaces have multiple modes in which input is mapped to different actions, and, mode-switching is simply the transition from one mode to another. In touch interfaces, the current mode can change how a single touch is interpreted: for example, it could draw a line, pan the canvas, select a shape, or enter a command. In Virtual Reality (VR), a hand gesture-based 3D modelling application may have different modes for object creation, selection, and transformation.
Depending on the mode, the movement of the hand is interpreted differently. However, one of the crucial factors determining the effectiveness of an interface is user productivity. The mode-switching time of different input techniques, either in a touch interface or in a mid-air interface, affects user productivity. Moreover, when touch and mid-air interfaces like VR are combined, making informed decisions pertaining to the mode assignment gets even more complicated.
This thesis provides an empirical investigation to characterize the mode switching phenomenon in barehand touch-based and mid-air interfaces. It explores the potential of using these input spaces together for a productivity application in VR. And, it concludes with a step towards defining and evaluating the multi-faceted mode concept, its characteristics and its utility, when designing user interfaces more generally.
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