People, Paper, and Computers

François Guimbretière,
University of Maryland Human-Computer Interaction Lab

Seminar on People, Computers, and Design
Stanford University December 5, 2003

For several decades, experts have predicted that the advent of more powerful and compact computers will result in the creation of paperless offices. Yet, the consumption of paper is on the rise and, with few exceptions, office work still relies heavily on paper. At the root of this apparent paradox is the tension between the set of affordances provided by printed and digital documents: on the one hand, printed documents are easy to navigate, annotate and provide large inexpensive high-resolution display surfaces. Their tangibility also makes them easy to navigate. On the other hand, digital documents are easy to edit, search and index. Their intangibility makes them inexpensive to store, duplicate and distribute.

The project on People, Paper and Computers explores how to design new human computer interfaces that will bridge the affordance gap between printed and digital documents. These interfaces will let users navigate and annotate digital documents with the ease and comfort of printed documents.

In this talk, we will present an overview of the project on People, Paper and Computers and report on the current status of several major components including the Paper Augmented Digital Document system.

François Guimbretière is an assistant professor at the University of Maryland Human-Computer Interaction Lab (HCIL). His current research interests include exploring how new technologies can be used to reduce the gap between the digital world and the paper world; designing and quantifying new command selection mechanisms such as FlowMenu and understanding how new interaction and rendering techniques could help people understand and compare very large trees such as phylogenies.


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