The Designers' Outpost: A Tangible Interface for Collaborative Web Site Design

Scott R Klemmer, Mark W Newman, Ryan Farrell, Mark Bilezikjian, James A Landay
UIST: ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology, 2001
In our previous studies into web design, we found that pens, paper, walls, and tables were often used for explaining, developing, and communicating ideas during the early phases of design. These wall-scale paper-based design practices inspired The Designers? Outpost, a tangible user interface that combines the affordances of paper and large physical workspaces with the advantages of electronic media to support information design. With Outpost, users collaboratively author web site information architectures on an electronic whiteboard using physical media (Post-it notes and images), structuring and annotating that information with electronic pens. This interaction is enabled by a touch-sensitive SMART Board augmented with a robust computer vision system, employing a rear-mounted video camera for capturing movement and a front-mounted high-resolution camera for capturing ink. We conducted a participatory design study with Ůfteen professional web designers. The study validated that Outpost supports information architecture work practice, and led to our adding support for ▀uid transitions to other tools.