Human Information Processing

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Readings

Optional

Reading Response

Andrew Fang - 2/21/2014 23:33:54

We are now getting to a point in which natural language processing is advanced enough that using voice as input for text entry is comparable to other forms. A huge advantage is that we can usually say what we want to say a lot faster than we can write or type it. The learning curve for using voice input is also less: the user does not have to learn how to write or have to be familiar with the layout of the keyboard, they simply need to be able to speak the language and the machine will do the work. The shortcomings is that language processing is still not exactly perfect. Due to many similar sounding words, accents, and mispronunciations, the user may intend to say one thing, but the system would output something else. Furthermore, there are many instances when vocal text input is not preferred, and a more silent form is desired.

The benefit of direct touch is that the tools we need (our fingers), will not get misplaced or lost, and we will have access to them at all times. For a direct touch form of input involving a on-screen QWERTY keyboard, the rate of word input can be rather fast; for those that are well practiced, input can be around 60 words per minute. Still, errors can be frequently made and even with autocorrect, we may sometimes fail to type in the correct words because our fingers are smaller than the size of the on-screen buttons. On the other hand, for a direct touch form of input by drawing out the words on screen, input can be slower due to the fact that we are not well-practiced in writing with our fingertips. Another shortcoming here is that the system must run text-recognition software in order to translate calligraphy into text input. Sometimes, due to poor penmanship, the text may be mistranslated.

We are trained from small to write by using stick-shaped instruments. This means that using a stylus may be easier for most familiar for users wanting to input text. The benefits of having a stylus is that if the system allows for it, the user may be able to configure the pen to perform various types of input, such as different brush strokes, different pen colors, and different modes (such as erasing, brush, pencil, etc.). However, as Hinckley says, "it is not a matter of if, but rather when, the user loses the stylus," which means that an alternative is needed when the stylus is misplaced. The system must also be configured to make sure that the hand does not interfere with the writing, because we often put our palm down on the surface on which we write. Furthermore, writing can be slow, clocking in at ~15 words per minute without text processing. If we add in the text processing, this method becomes even slower.

A touch screen interface may be preferred to a mouse/keyboard combination when a user needs to make free-form drawings. Being a direct-input, a touch screen allows the user to paint exactly what they want, exactly where they want it. A continuous dragging motion by the hand will form an shape of length exactly equal to the distance moved by the finger. This is often much easier to control than a keyboard-mouse interface where the length of a shape drawn is only proportional to the distance moved by the mouse.


Opal Kale - 2/22/2014 22:00:37

One shortcoming of vocal input is not being able to refer to spatial locations. In addition, it is not good for out of vocabulary recognition and is twice as slow as keyboard-mouse text entry.

There are a few shortcomings of direct touch. There are also line-of-sight issues with optical sensing techniques as there may be two or more points of contact, which introduces further complexities in the software and interaction design. Likewise, closely spaced contacts may merge into a single contact with direct touch (and in that sense, direct touch has low precision). There is also the "Midas Touch Problem,” where fingers could brush the screen, fingers can accidentally rest on the screen while holding device, causing problems. In addition, there is the "Chess Player's Syndrome” where the device senses touch when none occurred.


There are also a few shortcomings to using a stylus for text entry. One can lose a stylus easily, and it also does not stay put when the user releases it (like a mouse). There is also "Palm Rejection” which is where the palm triggers accidental inputs, fingers drag on screen while writing. Finally, one cannot start interacting immediately because it requires having a stylus on you, and it also has additional acquisition time (time needed to pick up the stylus).


The strengths of vocal input include requiring less body movement and allowing for interaction at a distance from the display. In addition, it succeeds for a limited vocabulary and is a good way to annotate (voice recordings)/

The strengths of direct touch include not require a mechanical intermediary, the user can start interacting immediately, and you cannot lose your finger (like you can lose a stylus).


The strengths of using a stylus for text entry include high precision. Also, the lever-arm that affords a tripod grip for precise control, and its tapered tip enables one to indicate small objects on the screen, which a skilled interaction designer can leverage these attributes to produce compelling user experiences.


An example of when touchscreen interface may be preferred to a mouse/keyboard combination is for the "pinch to zoom” because it gives better precision, and is faster, and more intuitive than using a mouse.


Christopher Echanique - 2/22/2014 22:59:58

Based on the assigned reading (pages 1-25), Hinckley makes no mention of voice as input for text entry. However, on page 27 he does briefly discuss some of the limitations of speech recognition as a general input, stating that it can be subject to high error rates as a result of complex grammar, poor quality of audio signal, or the user’s use of out-of-vocabulary words. For direct touch text entry, the main strength is its adequacy for mobile interactions as it can be easily integrated in the software of the device and does not require any external hardware. However, some shortcomings include the limitations on touchscreen key sizes that are dictated by the screen dimensions and the demand for visual attention from user to verify that the correct key was pressed, an issue that is not as prevalent in the use of mechanical keyboards. Hinckley also makes no assertions about the strengths and weaknesses of a stylus specifically in regards to text input. However, he does list some strengths for using this type of input in general applications, including precision control, ability to select small objects on the screen, and user familiarity with pens for drawing and handwriting. As for weaknesses, the use of a stylus adds additional acquisition time and users can easily lose the stylus as opposed to losing other types of input devices such as a finger or a full keyboard and mouse.

Users may prefer a touchscreen interface to a mouse/keyboard combination for applications that involve drawing or handwriting. The mechanical intermediary of the mouse/keyboard input device provides a disadvantage in this case because of the difficulty in drawing strokes with a mouse. A finger affords better control and the direct contact with the touchscreen interface provides more direct feedback for the user to make corrections as they draw and write.


Luke Song - 2/23/2014 0:00:10

Voice interaction can be very useful in the right circumstances. The input microphone can be used to extend the functionality of applications and spoken words provide a wide variety of distinct commands that the user can give quickly. However, errors are frequent in this form of interaction, especially with a more complex grammar and vocabulary, a lower-quality input device, or unrecognized words. In addition, speech input is often avoided when users are in public.

Stylus-based input benefits from the precision and speed of the device, and a wide variety of gestures that can be employed. Depending on the device, they can offer specialized functionality like buttons or front/back end differentiation. However, the stylus is a detached physical object, which means losable hardware that needs to be kept track of.

Direct touch input employs simplicity of interaction to appeal to users. The human hand is extremely versatile, and the touch interface can use a wide variety of different inputs, including multitouch gestures. There is quick initiation of the interaction for the user whenever it is required. On the other hand, touch interaction suffers from imprecise input, screen view obstruction, and easy interference from unintentional touches. In addition, keeping fingers "floating" above the screen to be readily accessible while simultaneously preventing accidental touches is fatiguing for the user.

There is a fundamental difference between touch and mouse interfaces. Using touch, tracking is done in absolute x and y values. With mice, on the other hand, all tracking is recorded by relative motion, differences in the x and y values. Both interactions support dragging of objects, but touch can have moments without touch information, while the mouse cursor will always be there, and represents an object that can be moved in and of itself. However, touchscreens benefit from the fact that they're direct interaction interfaces, while the mouse is indirect; the user doesn't interact directly with what is seen. So, it may be easier to look at photos using touch by dragging and zooming with the fingers, than with the mouse and keyboard, where such actions may be ambiguous and would require checking for the right mode to do so.


Michelle Nguyen - 2/23/2014 15:11:22

The first way that most people are taught to record words, whether it is to keep notes or to store a copy of their thoughts in a physical form, is through writing with a pen and paper. Therefore, using a stylus for text entry is a familiar way to perform text entry. Users can simply write with the stylus on their touch device as if it is a pen and paper. The point of the pen also allows good precision, which makes it easier for users to have clearer handwriting, as if they are actually writing with a pen or pencil. Unfortunately, compared to the keyboard and how well-versed the user may be with typing, the strokes the user must take to write out their words may make it slower to enter their text. Also, many users do not have good handwriting, and it may make it difficult for the device to read for text recognition. The Hinckley article states that text recognition is best for short phrases, such as short search terms, and does not perform well for longer passages. This is very inconvenient, since a con of the stylus is that the user must carry the stylus with them in order to use it. It also takes time for the user to hold and position the stylus before they begin to write. Since text recognition extends well to only short phrases, the extra time to use a stylus and have it in possession may not be worth it just to write a quick word or two. On the other hand, direct touch is convenient because the user does not need to bring anything with them. There is no possibility of losing or forgetting a stylus, the user can always use direct touch. However, the user has less control of their finger than with the stylus, especially since we are taught to write with a pen rather than our fingers. We also run into the "fat finger" problem, where we have less precision. Thus, the handwriting may not be as neat and may be even more difficult for the device to perform text recognition on. Another significant shortcoming of both direct touch and the stylus is that they both occlude the screen. The user will not be able to see all parts of the screen with their hand or stylus in the way. They also must keep looking at the screen to make sure they are writing in the right places or that their text is the way they want it to look, since direct touch and stylus require more feedback than the keyboard. Voice is convenient like direct touch in that the user does not need to bring anything with them. All they need to be able to do is to speak, which is a strength since it does not require any physical action of the user (such moving their hand to write). Voice will also not occlude the screen. However, voice recognition still has its limits, as does text recognition, and it does not work well for long passages either. Also, another shortcoming of voice recognition is that other people can hear the user speak. This may disrupt events such as meetings or lectures.

One of the biggest strengths of the touchscreen interface is that it allows for an absolute mode. For instance, once a user makes a touch on their screen, no matter where they had previously touched, their pointer goes immediately to that new position. In contrast, with a mouse, you would need to drag the mouse over to that new position from the old position. This makes it very difficult for activities such as drawing or sketching, since the next part of the drawing the person may want to work on may not be close to the area that the person was last drawing on. Thus, this allows the user to draw faster, as if they are really drawing on paper. It is also easier for the user to change the tools/modes in their drawing program. The user can just use their finger to press a button and continue drawing right where they left off. With a mouse, they must drag their mouse to the toolbar, then drag it back to where they were drawing before. To draw a picture with a touchscreen is also easier because the users can directly touch the area they want to draw. Meanwhile, with a mouse, they have less precision with where they want their strokes to be. By clicking and dragging the mouse, they can go a general direction, but it is harder for it to go in the exact area and pixel they want.


Charles Park - 2/23/2014 15:20:42

The voice has an advantage that the user never has to touch the screen and can be useful for situations as such when one may be driving, biking, or participating in an activity that ties the user’s hands. The voice, however, lacks accuracy and there is no tangible way to fix it. The stylus has an advantage of employing a mechanical intermediary. It provides a lever-arm that affords a tripod grip for precise control, and the tip enables one to indicate small objects on the screen. The stylus, however, requires time to take out, as well as an additional accessory that must always accompany the phone. An example when a touchscreen interface may be preferred over a mouse/keyboard combination would be when accuracy in the clicker is required, that is, an art program. It is unusually difficult to draw with a mouse and the keyboard is not “fluid” enough to capture a flowing motion.


Jay Kong - 2/23/2014 15:28:08

A stylus resembles a pen, the device we commonly use for text editing. The strength of a stylus as a text entry device is that it allows for familiar actions. To enter text, a user simply writes like he or she would. To erase text, the user can either draw a line through unwanted words or use the back of the stylus as an eraser. It's very easy for a user to use; however, it can also offer a frustrating experience. Compared to a keyboard, handwriting is much slower as it proceeds at about 15 words per minute. Using a stylus also means a user must rely on handwriting recognition technology, which is not perfect -- it's common to write something that the computer fails to recognize. Another issue is that the user might not be able to see the entire user interface when using a stylus, as the stylus and hand covers up part of the screen.

Direct touch based text input comes in the form of soft-keyboards. The strength of using direct touch is that it is extremely portable. With a touch-screen device, there's no need to carry external tools. Soft-keyboards also provide a sense of familiarity because it's the same as a real keyboard. However, many issues plague direct touch text input. First of all, the keyboard size is rarely optimal because the keyboard can only be as big as the touch screen. This limits the input speed of a soft-keyboard. Graphical keyboards also demand significant visual attention because the user must focus on the screen to press the correct key. To further this issue, the keyboard takes away display space of the actual document that's being used. Finally, a big weakness is that there lacks physical boundaries between keys on a soft-keyboard, which limits the user's ability to distinguish individual keys.

The strength of voice input is that it relies on the speaking mechanism, which is a basic skill many people have. Speaking into the device produces text, providing a means for hands-free text entry. Voice input is good for when your hands are busy. However, like stylus input, voice input relies on voice recognition technology that is far from perfect. Error rates in recognition increase as the complexity of the vocabulary and grammar grows. It also relies heavily on the microphone -- if a device has a bad microphone, it will affect the quality of speech input. In addition, voice input fails when a word that's not in the existing vocabulary is used. Finally, voice input provides no means for privacy. Everyone else around the user can hear what he or she is saying.

A touch screen is better than a mouse/keyboard combination when less precise motions are required. A mouse and keyboard gives a user very high precision, but a user is only able to perform few maneuver at once. A touch screen, while not as precise, provides a more multi-tasking way to interact with the user interface. For example, with the mouse, you can only perform one action as once, but with a touch screen, you can easily manipulate multiple elements at once. However, there's an instance where touch screens trumps the keyboard and mouse in offering precision: drawing. It's extremely difficult to draw with a mouse as we do not usually practice drawing with "indirect" tools. With a touch screen, we can use a stylus, a familiar and "direct" tool, to draw.


Brenton Dano - 2/23/2014 21:09:23

The strengths of voice for text entry is that it is very natural for the user to input. Like speaking to a friend, the user can speak to their phone and input text. The shortcomings are that voice recognition software is not perfect yet and it can't help people with strong accents or speech impediments. In addition, it is hard to use in noisy and crowded environments. Direct touch's strength is that the mapping between the way the user would operate in the physical world and the way they operate with the device is more direct. For example, when typing on the Android popup keyboard, the user gets to directly interact with it just like they would an old fashioned type writer. The disadvantages of direct input for text entry is the fat finger effect and there is no physical feedback or resistance when the user presses a key which is a different experience than typing on a keyboard. Using a stylus for text entry is quite intuitive for the user because it is just like using a pen. The pros are that it is similar to writing in a notebook except you write on your smart device. The shortcomings is that stylus can be lost, and you need to take time to unsheathe the stylus, and also the back of your hand could trigger the touch screen which thinks its the stylus and cause it to mess up your writing.

Touchscreen interfaces are better than a mouse and keyboard combo for applications that don't involve much typing and involve more swiping and dragging windows. For example, on the iPad the web browsing experience more closely mimics reading the newspaper for instance, and could be quicker than using a mouse and keyboard. It is also more relaxing for the user to use the handheld table like a book while having a mouse and keyboard out takes up space and is not as much use to a user on the go. This is why tablet devices are so popular and great for quick web browsing news sites at your favorite local coffee shop!


Gregory Quan - 2/23/2014 22:19:20

Voice input for text entry can be faster than other ways of providing text entry, because the input speed is theoretically only limited by the user’s speaking speed. However, there can be problems with voice input, such as deciding how to handle synonyms or special characters. It is not obvious how to input an ampersand with voice input - the device could interpret the input as the word instead of the symbol or vice versa. Also, processing voice input requires significantly more computational resources than other forms of input, and latency often results.

Direct touch for text entry allows for devices to have smaller form factors, since the physical keyboard does not always have to be present. In addition, direct touch interfaces allow for interactions that are not possible with traditional keyboards, such as the stroke-type gestures of Swype and SwiftKey. However, the graphical keyboard necessarily takes up a significant portion of the screen. Also, touch input devices usually require the user to look at the input area of the screen to ensure they are pressing the correct key, preventing them from fully focusing on the workspace.

Stylus/handwriting input for text entry has the advantage of being familiar to most people, even those who may not have used a keyboard before. Also, it allows for inputs that can be made with direct touch (such as Swype) since the stylus can substitute as a fingertip. However, using a stylus for text input can be prohibitively slow since the average handwriting speed is 15 words per minute, as compared to 60+ words per minute for experienced typists.

A touchscreen interface may be preferred to a mouse/keyboard combination when using any kind of drawing or painting application. Users have a lot of practice with pen-style input devices, and drawing with a stylus is a very familiar task and is usually easier to control for most users. Using a finger as input is also more direct and controllable than a mouse for drawing tasks, but it can sometimes be less accurate than a stylus-type input.


Myra Haqqi - 2/23/2014 22:45:07

The strengths of voice for text entry are that the user is used to speaking, and therefore speaking in order to input text is easy and familiar. Also, voice for text entry eliminates the need for any manual touch or tool for text entry input, making it hands-free and convenient for the user to enter text. Furthermore, an example of when voice for text entry may be useful is when the user is on-the-go traveling. For instance, if the user is driving a car and is unable to touch his device due to safety and legal reasons, then he can simply speak his text entry as input.

The shortcomings of voice for text entry are that voice recognition software is not optimal, and therefore the experience for the user is not perfect. Voice for text entry is prone to errors on the part of the device, which can be frustrating for the user. Also, if users have a large amount of text to enter, then speaking may take more time and will thus be less efficient.

The strengths of direct touch for text entry are that it has multiple possible points of contact. The user can use all of his fingers, parts of his hand, and virtually anything to provide input. This is useful in text entry because the user is not restricted to a single finger in order to write, and he can choose to enter text with whatever medium he desires. In addition, the precision involved with writing with one’s finger is not very low. Also, the user is not restricted to one hand; rather, the user can choose to use any hand in order to touch the screen for text entry. The user also possesses the ability to tap, hold, drag his finger, pinch, and do other multi-touch gestures that allow for easier and more varied manipulation and input entry. There is no intermediary because the user uses his bare hand, which he always has with him. A user can not lose his hand, and he does not need to take anything with him because his hand is always present. He also does not need to unsheathe his hand, as opposed to a stylus. There is also very low acquisition time required because there is no mechanical intermediary to acquire. This allows the user to efficiently enter text. The user has the option of handwriting for text entry, or touching keys on a touch-screen keypad for text entry. Another strength of direct touch for text entry is that there is no activation force needed, allowing the user to simply touch without the need to exert any pressure, which bolsters his ability to efficiently write for text entry.

For text entry via direct touch of a touch-screen keyboard, some shortcomings are that the size of the keys are dictated by the size of the screen, and therefore may not be optimal. Furthermore, the user must exert an additional effort to look at the keys when typing to ensure that he is typing the correct keys, which causes the user’s thought processes to be split and demands extra attention from the user. Also, if the cursor is moved and one accidentally touches letters that they did not intend to, then the user will likely not even realize that he accidentally typed erroneous characters. Also, there is no physical feedback, so the user will not feel whether touch the keypad registered properly for the indicated key. Also, a touch-screen keypad that appears on the screen takes a lot of space, which causes occlusion of potentially important aspects of the interface. It is also difficult for the user to ensure that they do not accidentally touch anything that they do not intend to input.

The shortcomings of direct touch for text entry are that the user’s finger has a large point of contact, so it leads to high occlusion, blocking important elements from the interface. The user is not able to see everything that their hands and fingers cover due to touch. The precision for writing with one’s finger is not optimal, and may therefore cause accuracy issues when the user attempts to write. It is difficult for the screen to register the intricate movements of one’s large finger, so the text entry may not be as precise. Another shortcoming is that, unlike the stylus which allows for buttons and additional features, the hand does not have any “buttons” or any form of input other than touch. Furthermore, there are many mistakes that can be caused by direct touch for text entry, such as when the user accidentally touches something that he did not intend to. This can lead to false text entry; for example, if the user accidentally brushes the screen with his finger, it may get registered as some text entry. Another example is when the user might place his finger(s) on the screen while holding the device, which will also cause false touch input.

The strengths of stylus for text entry are that the user can write with a single point of contact so that it is easy to define exactly what is touching the screen. Also, there is little occlusion, because the stylus is typically very small and blocks little of the interface from the user. Furthermore, a stylus has high precision. Holding a stylus resembles a pen, which most users are comfortable writing with. Holding the stylus affords precision and control when writing text, and therefore is very easy for the user. The stylus also allows the user to tap the screen, drag items in the interface, and draw paths that connect many points of contact. Another strength of the stylus is the ability to incorporate buttons and “erasers” on one end of the stylus. This gives the user the ability to perform different tasks using a single stylus.

The shortcomings of stylus for text entry are that the user only has one point of contact with the screen, which eliminates the ability of multi-touch input. However, this is not necessary for text entry, because a user typically only needs to write with a single point of contact at a time. Also, when the user holds the stylus, there may be some occlusion caused by the user’s hand, which blocks parts of the interface as the user manipulates the stylus on the screen. Also, the user is limited to his preferred hand, because it is difficult to properly manipulate a stylus using one’s non-dominant hand with accuracy. Also, the stylus eliminates the ability to be able to complete some multi-touch gestures, such as pinching and using multiple points of contact to perform various tasks. The mechanical intermediary involves the fact that the user must take time and effort in order to unsheathe the stylus for use. Also, users can forget or lose their stylus, resulting in the inability to complete tasks. Acquisition time for the first use is also very high because the user must unsheathe the pen before using it. A major shortcoming of the stylus is that there is a high probability that the user will touch the screen with things other than the stylus, such as their palm, fingers, or other parts of their hand and wrist. This causes accidental inputs which can making text entry difficult because as the user endeavors to write, his hand touching the screen may cause things to accidentally be “written.” There is also some activation force required of the user, which necessitates the user exert some pressure in order for the stylus touch to be registered.




An example of when a touchscreen interface may be preferred to a mouse/keyboard combination is for handwriting applications, because it is much more difficult for users to manipulate a mouse to handwrite precisely and efficiently as compared to touch, whether via their fingers or a stylus. This is because users have more experience, and are thus more familiar with, handwriting with their hands directly, and especially when using a tool that resembles a pen or pencil.

Another example of when a touchscreen interface may be preferred to a mouse/keyboard combination is for drawing and sketching applications, because it is harder to draw using a mouse than it is with touch for most people. This is because people are more familiar with drawing using their hands or a tool, rather than manipulating a mouse to control output that appears in a different place.

Another example is for applications intended for young children. Young children are more comfortable using their hands to manually perform tasks, and they can understand the feedback from direct touch devices as opposed to manipulating an interface with indirect devices that force them to try to understand how they are able to control a device from a different place than where the output is displayed.


Shana Hu - 2/23/2014 22:46:39

Hinckley argues that calling one form of input better than another fails to understand the varying needs of users in differing situations. Instead, designers should recognize and acknowledge that a form of input which is best for one situation will be worst for another. Voice input has its strengths in situations where the user cannot rely on manual input. Perhaps both their hands are busy driving or carrying items. Voice input, however, is often unreliable, fails to recognize users' accents, and may take longer to process and thus accomplish tasks than by clicking a button, per se. Direct touch is strong in situations where the user has free use of one's fingers and where the user can steadily manipulate signifiers on the screen. It provides a direct interaction unlike using a mouse or a stylus, but is a less appropriate tool if a user wants to manipulate fine details. In that case, a stylus is more apt and able to work on a smaller scale due to its small tip. It also allows users to draw or write using the same muscle interactions developed from years of writing with pencils and pens. Styluses are less ideal when the user wants to directly manipulate something quickly and easily (or if they don't want to deal with the possibility of losing their stylus).

A touchscreen interface may be preferred to a mouse/keyboard combination if a user wishes to enter Chinese. Because Chinese characters are not phonetically based off of a limited alphabet as English is, it is often complicated and inefficient to type out Chinese characters through first typing their pinyin and their tone number, then searching through pages of suggestions to find the corresponding character. It is much more natural for Chinese language speakers or even Chinese language learners to use a touch input screen to draw the character as they would on paper, and let the system recognize the character as the appropriate symbol to place into text.


Nicholas Dueber - 2/23/2014 22:50:51

Due to the fact that voice input is still very difficult to process, voice has increased error rates when the complexity of grammar increases. This is a shortcoming of voice input and recognition; however, an advantage of voice input is that it can handle short direct commands as long as their are limited amounts of potential operations to be handled. Another shortcoming of speech recognition is that it is extremely public. If you are in the presence of another person, then they know exactly what commands you are executing on your device. The reading mentioned that in previous studies, speech recognition is about half as fast as a keyboard text entry.

Direct touch the pros of this is that the user doesn't need a cursor, they are able to just point/tap what ever command they want executed. If using your finger, you will have this device anywhere. It is easily understood how to use and doesn't not take any explanation of how to use your finger. The down side of this, is that it may lose precision, It isn't as easy to edit it small fields. For the direct touch, you may using a touch screen keyboard, or you may be writing with your finger. The latter of the two is much less familiar to the average user as compared to speaking or using a stylus device.

A stylus, generally allows for greater increase in precision. People are often familiar with writing with a pen/pencil, and so they easily understand how to use a stylus. If you are dependent on a stylus, and you lose the stylus, or it breaks. you will not have anyway to add input, and this is generally less likely than you losing your voice or breaking all of your fingers.

A touchscreen interface is probably preferred for many electronic kiosks. This is the case because if you require limited input, then you don't need to give the user options on what textfield to edit, instead you can have them edit one at a time and then can quickly move them on. having a mouse/keyboard would make the time required to go through the steps that much longer because they have to interact with multiple tools instead of just the one (their finger giving input to a touch screen).

Using a stylus as input,


Ryan Yu - 2/23/2014 23:01:01

Stylus, direct touch, and voice all have their distinctive pros and cons when used as input methods for text entry. For one, stylus is advantageous for the user because it comes in a "pen" shape that is very recognizable. In this sense, a stylus is a "familiar tool to which users may bring highly developed skills for handwriting, sketching, and drawing." Since the user presumably has been familiar with traditional writing instruments his/her entire life, then transitioning to a stylus as an input device will have a very small learning curve, when regarded in comparison with other, more unrecognizable input methods. Having this mechanical intermediary provides the user with a sense of familiarity, which in turns allows them to adapt to further technologies with considerable ease. Using a stylus, however, also adds a certain amount of cumbersome-ness to the interaction between machine and human, as it literally an object that always has to be used in conjunction with the computer in order to facilitate input. With text-based input in specific, this could be a problem, as the computer's image/text recognition software has to be rather sophisticated to legibally make out what the user is writing. This adds another layer of detail and processing on top of what is supposed to be a very simple task, the input of text into a machine.

On the other hand, direct touch has advantages that because it does not require a mechanical intermediary. That is, the user does not physically have to take out a stylus; the user cannot lose the stylus because there is nothing to lose. Furthermore, as outlined in the article, "the user can start interacting immediately" with direct touch. "There is no additional acquisition time required to grasp or unsheathe a stylus." This becomes very, very important in mobile and on-the-go interactions, where, "interacting with the real world and other persons is the user's primary task, forcing users to wedge their interactions with a device into ever-narrowing fragments of time and attention." However, it is important to note that the tradeoff between familiarity and convenience (i.e. mechanical intermediary) doesn't have a "correct" side, so to speak. It is merely a trade off, and choosing which side to go with depends on a variety of factors, including but not limited to the specific task that the user is trying to accomplish. Thus, we can never really say with any definitiveness that one side is always preferable over the other. On the flip side, direct touch also adds a layer of ambiguity on top of the task that the user has to do, as touch on a surface can be interpreted in a variety of different ways. In this sense, touch-based input can transform what is supposed to be a very simple task into something very complicated, as it may involve some sort of moderately-complicated gesture.

Finally, voice input for text entry has its definitive pros and cons as well. On one hand, voice input is extremely convenient for the user -- the user has at least one hand (potentially both) free if they are using voice-based input. There is also little to no ambiguity in the manner in which a user is supposed to input data -- they merely have to touch some button that turns on voice detection, and speak into the microphone. On the other hand, the cons of using voice input can vary widely, based on the level of sophistication of the software that is detecting it, and the design of the interface that enables the user to start talking. If the voice-detection software isn't effective or accurate, then the software has to have some manner of allowing the user to edit specific words and sentences of the generated input. This could obviously lead to huge complications and could confuse the user. Furthermore, a layer of ambiguity is also introduced with voice input, as a user has to make sure that he/she knows when the software/device is actually *listening* to potential voice input -- potential complications and confusions could occur if there is no signal that informs the user of this.

A touchscreen interface may be preferable to a mouse/keyboard combinations in many situations, but most prevalently when the user is on the go. This precisely is why trackpads have been placed on every single laptop that has been in production in the last decade. Simply put, users do not have the luxury of space and cluttered devices in this day and age, because they are always looking to access their information while they are moving from place to place. Having a mouse/keyboard setup forces the user to have, at minimum, three things, his/her laptop, keyboard, and mouse, and potentially the cabling that is connects them. The natural progression of trackpads in laptops is that the computers *themselves* will have touchscreen interfaces. This is naturally why you see many new Windows computers being advertised as both a tablet and a laptop. These computers have touchscreen interfaces, which theoretically greatly reduce clutters, and thus reduces confusion on the part of the users. Overall, as the digital and technological age shifts more and more from the home to the road (i.e. mobile), people want to find a convenient way to take all of their technology with them -- touchscreen devices, at least for now, are the best way to achieve this.


Ziran Shang - 2/23/2014 23:05:07

Direct touch is good because there are no implements to lose, and there is no time needed to pick up a pen before the user can provide input. Either hand can be used with reasonable accuracy. However, with direct touch a lot of interactions are limited by screen space. For example, only a limited number of keys may be displayed on the virtual keyboard, causing the user to perform additional actions to access a wider range of keys. And with direct touch, the user's hand may cover part of the screen when using the device. It may be difficult to enter text accurately or to type quickly when using a virtual keyboard without tactile feedback.

A stylus, like a pen, is good because it is familiar and many people already have skills for writing and drawing with pens. The pen shape is easy to control, with a precise tip, and additional buttons can be added to the pen body. However, a stylus suffers from some of the same drawbacks as direct touch, since the user's writing hand can cover parts of the screen. Since most users rest their palms on the surface when writing, there is a higher likelihood of accidental input. Also, stylus use may be limited to the user's dominant hand, and depending on the user's writing abilities, may be slower or messier than other text entry methods.

Voice, like direct touch, is good because there are no additional devices to lose, assuming the microphone is built into the device. Voice control input does not block other elements on the screen since no physical handling of the device is needed. However, voice control can be inaccurate for text entry, depending on the user's accent, enunciation, and how well the application works. A user may have to speak slower and more carefully than usual, and mistakes require additional user input to fix. Words that sound the same but are spelled differently are especially problematic for voice input.

A touchscreen interface may be preferred to a mouse/keyboard combination when used in situations that do not require large amounts of text input. For example, it is often more natural to draw with a stylus on a touch screen that to draw with a mouse. Also, touch screens may be preferable in situations where physical space is limited, such as mobile devices or public information kiosks.


Ian Birnam - 2/23/2014 23:29:55

Voice: A disadvantage would be that feedback for text entry would only occur after you've finished speaking, so you wouldn't be able to quickly correct a mistake. It also makes the user less discrete, which may cause the user to feel embarrassed depending on the environment they're in. As an advantage, no direct input is required, which enables the user to hands-free text entry. This greatly assists users who multitask, or who are handicapped.

Direct Touch: A disadvantage would be the "fat finger" occlusion, which would make it difficult to do text entry if your finger was too big for the letter keys. You would also have to be weary of the Midas Touch Problem where your finger accidentally brushes or touches buttons or keys on screen. An advantage would be that you have 1-10 contact regions, and it may feel more comfortable for users to type with their fingers if the interface is similar to that of a keyboard; a tool for text entry which most are used to.

Stylus: A disadvantage would be that you only have 1 point of contact, so entering text would be much slower. You also now need the stylus, and have to constantly remember to bring it with you. An advantage would be precision, as the small point of the stylus removes the fat finger syndrome that direct touch can have.

A touchscreen interface may be preferred to a mouse/keyboard combination interface for a variety of reasons. A touchscreen generally affords multitouch, such as the DiamondTouch Table or most smartphone games. The interaction for these applications and objects would be significantly more complex if you only had a mouse and a keyboard. Also, it is much more intuitive for people to measure pressure by using a touchscreen and their finger than using a mouse or keyboard since they can directly sense the pressure. Context area sensing is another advantage that a touchscreen has, since the mouse is limited in terms of how much of an area it can sense at once, whereas a touchscreen can be much more flexible.


Emily Reinhold - 2/24/2014 0:09:50

Voice Strengths: don't need special tool; allows users to make user of their hands for other functionality; can potentially input text "remotely" (ie. don't need direct contact with device)

Voice Weaknesses: could be loud in environment, making voice audio incomprehensible; voice recognition could be interpreted incorrectly, and to verify accuracy, user would likely need to look at the screen making other strengths of voice recognition void;

Direct Touch Strengths: don't need special tool; users are familiar with the idea of a keyboard, and the mental model of a keyboard is easily transformed into the mental model of a touch-based keyboard; device acquisition time is relatively low to move fingers (likely thumbs) from letter to letter;

Direct Touch Weaknesses: user's hand/arm gets in way of his/her line of sight; fingers are often wider than button (letter) user is trying to press, making accuracy of typing difficult at times (not precise) - this is especially cumbersome when user wants to select a specific amount of text; user may accidentally brush fingers across virtual keyboard, entering unwanted text;

Stylus Strengths: users are familiar with writing with a pen (similar shape to stylus), so if the software allows writing as a form of text entry, this is a skill that (nearly) all users are well-versed in; narrow point of contact, so chance of pressing desired letter is high (precise);

Stylus Weaknesses: requires special device (and if lost, out of luck); if software does not support writing as form of text input, but instead treats stylus like direct-touch input, the device acquisition time is high for user to move stylus from letter to letter, typing a word;

As you can see from the above discussion, there are strengths and weaknesses for every form of input. Thus, there is no clear "winner" for which form of input is the best. An application designer must consider many factors involving the functionality and purpose of his application before deciding which form of input would best suit his desired application. A user's experience with an application can be significantly altered by the form of input, and as such, it is important to consider many options when choosing the more appropriate form for one's specific use.

A specific example of when a touchscreen is preferred over a mouse/keyboard combination is when a user is expected to use a device/application while standing (with no surface in front of them). Since a user only has two hands, it is nearly impossible for him to hold a mouse and a keyboard and effective operate both of them. In order to function properly, a mouse needs to have a solid surface on which to glide around. This is not guaranteed when a person is standing up. Further, if the user needs to hold the mouse in one hand, and keyboard in the other, how can he press the keys on the keyboard? Clearly in this case, a mouse and a keyboard are insufficient. A touchscreen, on the other hand, can be held in one hand and operated with the other (or held with both hands, and operated with fingers from each hand). Since the touch screen only has one physical component, it provides the user with more mobility and flexibility of use. This is a key factor for why mobile devices use touch screen - a user can operate a touch screen in any location, many positions (standing/sitting/walking), and it does not require extra hardware components to be handy.

I personally have attempted to use a mouse while I was standing, and it was ineffective. I tried to use my leg as a mouse pad, which did not provide a good surface for navigating the coordinates of the screen. I only tried to operate a mouse by itself while standing, but I can imagine that adding in a keyboard would be even more frustrating and difficult.


Seth Anderson - 2/24/2014 0:11:55

1) As described in the article, every type of user input has both major benefits and major detractors, no single input type can truly be called superior to the others, as each has superiorities in different fields.

Voice: The use of the voice input can be beneficial in a number of situations. One of the ways it can be the most useful is in its application for the physically handicapped: it provides a method of input that is far more accessible than touch or mouse. Another strength comes in it's application to text entry: speech comes far more naturally than typing or tapping on a keyboard, and thus has the smallest learning curve of the three inputs. The weaknesses that voice has are that the speed can be significantly slower, especially with the time it takes for modern voice recognition software to translate into text, and that if the user is using the software in a noisy area, the text could end up differently from how the user wanted.

Direct touch: As described in the article, direct touch has a benefit over a stylus in that there are 10 possible points of contact in the fingers, and either hand can be used efficiently, as opposed to the hand that the user generally writes with. One major downside of finger usage, however, is that the fingers often overlap onto adjacent keys, causing frequently incorrect spellings of even basic words.

Stylus: The stylus' major strength is that it is the most accurate of the input methods, providing pinpoint touches on each key press. However, with this accuracy comes the cost of speed, as only one hand can use the stylus at a time, and the time it takes for the had to cross the screen could be significantly reduced by the addition of an extra hand.

2) One example of having a touchscreen interface over a mouse and keyboard would be in a drawing app. For these apps, artists especially seek to mimic drawing on an actual canvas, and the absolute input of a stylus or finger provides a much better sense of where their drawing tool is as opposed to the relative input of a mouse. The ability to quickly tap on a tool on the sidebar is also much quicker than using the mouse to slowly select a new tool. This is one of the reasons so many burgeoning artists and designers are using iPads or even pad accessories such as the Bamboo pad (http://www.wacom.com/en/us/everyday/bamboo-pad-wireless) to create their art.


Tien Chang - 2/24/2014 0:14:13

The strengths of voice for text entry include entering text without requiring hand motion and "writing" text extremely quickly, as we think and speak faster than we write or type. It is also beneficial for those with physical disabilities disabling them from using their hands. The shortcomings of voice for text entry include incorrect speech recognition with incorrect words, background noise, those with speech impairments, and incorrections still have to corrected (a potential extra step).

The strengths of direct touch for text entry include not requiring a physical object so that interaction is immediate and has multiple contact regions. The shortcomings of direct touch for text entry include "fat fingers", using the entire palm or whole hand gestures, or accidentally touching the screen.

The strengths of stylus for text entry include familiarity as a tool for handwriting, sketching, and drawing. The stylus affords a lever for control and a tapered tip for well-defined drawings. The shortcomings of stylus for text entry include the hand blocking the screen or stylus drags on the screen.

A touchscreen interface may be preferred to a mouse/keyboard combination when position and contact are more prominently needed than a mouse pointer and when location of a cursor is unneeded. For example, if you are reading an article and would to zoom in to view the font in a larger size, you can simply pinch outward to zoom the text on a touch-screen. However, using a mouse/keyboard combination, you might have to use the cursor to click on a browser's menu to zoom in or use Ctrl+'+' on a Windows machine. This requires more effort from the user and does not give as immediate results as using touch.


Andrea Campos - 2/24/2014 2:09:10

For voice, strengths for text entry include speed due to low mediation--one does not have to type with a single point but rather just speak--as well as the ability to start entering text immediately without the need of extra tools, and the ability to be "hands-free" so that no part of the device will be occluded by hands. Of course, shortcomings of voice input would include great likelihood of incorrectly analyzed input--people with accents or who do not speak in a way that the device can understand them may have great trouble entering text this way. Also, it would be more difficult to input characters like punctuation, or large numbers, as well as control aspects of text such as capitalization with voice, because it would require additional, unfamiliar efforts on the user's part.

Direct touch meanwhile also has the strength of not needing other external devices other than one's finger, and one can start entering text right away. Unlike voice input, one would have more control over the input of punctuation and other characters that are generally not spoken. However, precision may also be low with direct touch if one's fingers are too big to accurately press keys, or if keys are too close to each other, the task would be riddled with errors.

A stylus has a strength that would fix this issue, in that its single point would allow for a great deal of precision and control in the input of text. Buttons on the stylus may also offer secondary controls that may help the process, such as a button to change to capital letters. However, a stylus has the shortcoming that it can easily be lost. Also, it takes longer to interact with a stylus--one has to unsheathe it and turn it on first. If one's palm touches the device surface than we would have false inputs, and a stylus also requires more representation and feedback--because we need to know it's working correctly, unlike our finger or voice which would be more evident of its working and use.

A touch interface may be preferred to a mouse/keyboard combination when we need more nuance in our inputs. With a touch interface we can do much more than just click or enter text--we can modulate input with pressure applied, particular gestures made, and even the ID of our fingerprint. A specific example may just be a drawing app--with one's finger one can alter pressure to create lighter/darker strokes, create shapes with two fingers, and especially in the case of drawing, have a greater degree of control with one's finger directly on the screen, which is more analogous to drawing with pen and paper in the "real world".


Rico Ardisyah - 2/24/2014 8:41:28

Hinckley and Wigdor discusses some of Input technologies and techniques. For text entry particularly, speech recognition, direct touch and stylus are the alternatives. Each of them offers their own strength, however they also have their own shortcomings. Speech recognition offers the advantages of speed and convenience. First, speech recognition requires no mechanical intermediary, compare to direct touch and stylus. Speech recognition is the most convenient input. In addition, talking is basic skill for human; hence, speech recognition does not need special skill to be operated. Speech recognition is very useful for a particular set of vocabulary. However, there are also some shortcomings of speech recognition. This type of input is not really optimal for a large set of vocabulary or when grammar is used. Moreover, there will be a learning process for creating new vocabulary, slang, and names. The learning process is sometimes hard. Then, there is background noise and accent of the user makes the speech to text conversion harder. Also, direct touch has also similar convenient. Direct touch also does not need mechanical intermediary; users only requires finger to perform direct touch. Most of the users are also familiar with the gestures in direct touch, and direct touch is also faster than Stylus because users can use more than one finger. As the matter of fact, direct touch has also some shortcomings. Precision is a serious problem for direct touch, especially for specific people who has fat finger. Stylus also has some advantages, they offers a high precision since it only has one point with the help of lever arm; thing that the other two alternatives does not offer. However, it is not as efficient as the other two since it requires mechanical intermediary. In addition, the acquisition time of stylus is also longer than speech recognition and direct touch.

Some tasks are better in touch screen interface than a mouse/keyboard combination. One of the examples is sketching and drawing. In the case of sketching and drawing, mouse and keyboard does not really represent the real world method. However, using touch screen interface is a better metaphor and also offers smaller gulf of execution and evaluation.


Shaina Krevat - 2/24/2014 8:49:28

Using voice for text entry has strength in that it has a short device acquisition time (almost everybody has their voice with them at all times), is based off of skills that the user already has (speaking) and requires little physical effort. However, when it comes to text entry, several problems arise. Specifying certain words to be interpreted as symbols (‘&’ opposed to ‘and’) and letters as capital depend on information other than just user input (grammar rules), or require additional commands. For example, if someone wanted to have the number ‘1’ typed instead of ‘one’, there would have to be a specific keyword so the computer would know how to respond, though the keyword might end up getting typed as well.

Direct touch is currently what is used for text entry on devices such as a smart phone or tablet (that doesn’t have a connected keyboard), because it has many strengths. Like voice, it has short device acquisition time (fingers are always with the user), and has the same conceptual model as a normal keyboard, without physical keys. The shortcomings are related to how frequently typos occur, either because of difficulties with multi-touch capabilities or because the keys, in order to match a physical keyboard, are too small for some people to use.

When it comes to using a stylus for text input, the strengths and shortcomings depend on exactly how the stylus is going to be used. If it is similar to how direct touch is used – with a touch keyboard that appears on the screen – then there are more shortcomings than strengths. It would be time consuming to click each key with the stylus, as opposed to the speed that is offered by direct touch. However, there are some pros to this concept. The stylus is able to have extra buttons on the pen that the user can press that will have an effect on the screen. Buttons like tab, shift, delete, and changing to the number/symbols keyboard could be utilized with the stylus method, making it easier for the user to get certain functionalities. If on the other hand the stylus would be used for the user to hand write lines that then got parsed into text, then one of the strengths to a stylus mode of text entry would be the fact that humans are taught to write from a very young age and are familiar with it, thus making the jump from writing on paper to writing on a screen wouldn’t be hard for users. However, this method would rely on the perfect transition from handwriting to text, which isn’t available at this time. As with any stylus functionality, the device acquisition time is higher than that for voice or direct touch.

A touchscreen interface may be preferred to a moue/keyboard combination when it comes to presenting. With the keyboard/mouse interface, a presenter must have a computer connected to a projector with a separate monitor and input devices to control what the audience sees. If there were a screen (such as a “Smart Board”) the presenter could control the presentation that way, requiring less equipment and making it easier for the presenter to see what the audience sees, by being able to gesture much in the same way a chalkboard is used.


Nahush Bhanage - 2/24/2014 11:16:30

1) Voice for text entry: Using voice for text entry allows you to go hands-free, thus making your hands available to do other tasks such as cooking or driving. It's the fastest option for text entry since our speaking speed is much more than our typing/writing speed. Thus it saves a lot of time for the user. Voice doesn't have an occlusion issue since there's nothing to block the screen visibility. Moreover, using voice for text entry is extremely intuitive and natural since it is like directly speaking with someone. The biggest disadvantage with voice is that it is prone to errors for text entry. The existing voice recognition softwares are not robust enough to be able to recognize words with different accents. It could be annoying to keep on correcting these errors by using touch interface since it totally beats the purpose.

2) Direct touch for text entry: Direct touch also allows fast text entry since you can use both thumbs simultaneously. This is very convenient while using the onscreen keypad and it increases text entry speed significantly once you are used to it. However there are a couple of disadvantages to direct touch with reference to text entry. It occludes part of the screen thus hiding the letters/numbers that the user is trying to input. Another issue arises typically for people with big fingers trying to use a relatively smaller keypad leading to frequent typing errors by hitting the wrong keys.

3) Stylus for text entry: Using a stylus for text entry is natural and intuitive as the user can easily relate to the traditional writing using a pen and paper. Since the stylus has a pointed tip, it offers a fine point of contact with the screen. Hence it is less likely that the user will hit the wrong keys while using a stylus. It can be better used with handwriting recognition so that the user can just write on the screen without pressing keys on the keypad. However, even this method of text entry has some disadvantages. A stylus is easy to lose. Using a stylus on an onscreen keypad is significantly slower as compared to direct touch. Using it with handwriting recognition may lead to letter recognition errors for similar-looking ones.

4) An example of when a touchscreen interface may be preferred to a mouse/keyboard combination: In general, a touchscreen interface would be preferred to a mouse/keyboard combination when the user is commuting. It will be so inconvenient to carry a mouse and keyboard with you. As a specific example, I think sketching/painting on screen would definitely be easier and more convenient with a touchscreen interface than using a mouse/keyboard combination. Drawing directly onscreen with a stylus/fingers can be associated with drawing on a canvas with a pencil. Using a mouse is rather awkward and offers less user control.


Vinit Nayak - 2/24/2014 11:29:41

Direct touch text entry has issues when it comes to touch screen keyboards. One of the largest issues is that there is no tactile feedback for when a key is pressed, therefore the user might accidentally swipe the keyboard and letters may be entered unintentionally. Also, the lack of feedback means the user must focus on the keyboard as they are typing and therefore have to split the focus between looking at the keyboard and where the text is actually being written to. Another touch entry that is often used is direct handwriting recognition on the device. The benefit to this is that it may feel somewhat more natural to users since the motions are slightly analogous to writing on a physical piece of paper. However, the complications arise when it is interpreted by the computer. The technology has improved for character recognition but depending on a specific user's writing style, it can be very difficult if they have to continually rewrite their characters. Pens/Styluses on the other hand make the user feel even more natural when giving direct input into the device. The problems that arise with this is that the device might not be able to distinguish between the pen and a finger or in the worst case can only detect one of the two. The benefits of a pen/stylus is that they offer precision that fingers cannot, simply due to the area in contact with the device surface. Lastly, speech is also a very viable option that increases the speed of text entry and, currently, is not limited by the user, but by how fast the computer speech recognition technology works. For simple commands, such as saying to place a call to someone in the contacts list is easy, but speech recognition gets much more difficult when the user starts using complex vocabulary and grammar. Another issue is the hardware, the microphone that records the user needs to be functioning well to have better accuracy for the speech recognition software to work properly. A downside is that users cannot use words that the recognition software does not know, and it is an inconvenience to stop the current flow of speech to have to add a word into the dictionary.

A touchscreen interface is much more useful when trying to do any kind of drawings or artistic activities on the device. Using a finder or a pen/stylus gives must more control and creates a higher sense of smoothness that a mouse has trouble doing at times (and impossible for a keyboard to do). Being able to draw/sketch with a physical device is more of a natural feeling than using a keyboard/mouse combination as well. Another use where an interface is better is when the user needs to make very minute changes with high amount of precision and needs to access different parts of the screen rapidly. Moving the hand to a desired location is faster than trying to drag the mouse over to the location. This also takes longer since one has to coordinate between visual and motor skills, which splits the focus the user has as compared to just motor skills as the user is already looking at the screen on device (if using a stylus).


Sangeetha Alagappan - 2/24/2014 11:38:13

Voice input is becoming increasingly popular with the advent of Siri, Google Glass etc. It is a valuable mode of input when the user is not in a position to focus on the device and manually input their request such as when commuting or multi-tasking. Users with disabilities also benefit from voice input as it takes away the mechanical intermediary and physical gestures of using the device. However a major shortcoming with voice as text entry is the unreliability of voice recognition. Often there is too much background noise or the user has a specific accent which the system doesn’t decipher well. The system needs to be trained to a user’s voice for it to work efficiently - which makes interfaces in public settings difficult to train. It sometimes is frustrating to a user to have to use voice to do things like moving a cursor because intuitively they associate moving a cursor with the physical act of moving.

Direct touch shines as an input in terms of immediacy - people don’t need to look for a stylus or other input device. People can use their device without worrying about external input devices (bare-handed input). There is no mechanical intermediary required as the user needs to just place his/her finger on the device screen and can use any hand. For text entry specifically, the user must tap on an onscreen keyboard. However problems arise in terms of contact points and parallax, which may lead the user to misspell words if their hands aren’t aligned well with the keyboard. Large contact areas, like a thumb, may be counted as multiple points of contact or the side of the wrist may count as a point of contact when it isn’t meant to be. Also, if the user doesn’t use the right amount of pressure, the action won’t register. When using direct input, the level of precision is moderate, leading to frequent ill-registered actions (like placing your cursor in between a word to change its spelling and having the cursor register at the start of the word instead). Highlighting and copying might be difficult actions to carry out with direct touch as hand movements are more fluid than a mouse input and don’t have the same level of precision.

A stylus affords precise movement. It has a single well-defined point and a tripod grip that mimics a real pen so users use their own experience using a pen while using a stylus to sketch and write precisely (as compared to using their finger). A stylus can be used to write text in the user’s handwriting or used on a virtual keyboard. However a stylus has a number of shortcomings. Character recognition is not perfect and text written with a stylus may be recorded incorrectly. A user might forget the stylus or find it difficult to use quickly as it requires the mechanical intermediary of being unsheathed. A stylus is often used with only the preferred hand and this causes the major problem of accidental palm contact (which users are used to when writing with a pen and resting their wrist on the page).

A touchscreen interface would be preferred to a mouse/keyboard when a user needs to draw something on the screen as it allows for more precise actions. Often with a mouse/keyboard combination, it is difficult to draw fluid lines or position a stroke exactly to the user’s liking. While drawing with a finger or stylus has its own drawbacks, it is a better input mode as than using a mouse/keyboard for drawing (where the distance between the user and interface is larger).

While each input mode has its own strengths and shortcomings, as the Hinckley reading suggests, we should look into a multi-modal interface to leverage the strengths of various forms of input (much like the new Windows Surface which uses direct touch, stylus and trackpad).


Eric Hong - 2/24/2014 12:03:00

Each input method has its own strengths and shortcomings depending on the application goal and sometimes even the hardware device. I will discuss the strengths and shortcomings of voice, direct touch, and stylus for text entry. Speech typically has speed advantages over handwriting or button presses in textual inputs, and does not require direct physical contact between the user and the device, which is a great boon in situations where the users do not have free hands or cannot keep the device in their line-of-sight. However, voice recognition is affected by environmental issues and loses accuracy in noisy settings, and might not be suitable for everyone, such as people with speech impediments or doctors wearing surgical masks. Direct touch has the advantage in acquisition time and widespread usage, as even very young children with limited speech or people speaking a different language are familiar with touch. The shortcomings are precision, which is a major issue for people with fat or sweaty hands, or false inputs, which could happen from touching the device while holding it. Compared with direct touch, using a stylus usually has higher precision and is more normalized across people with different physical attributes. Specialized stylus also reduces the possibility of false inputs from noise in the environment or accidental touches. Different from voice or direct touch, stylus input requires a mechanical intermediary which is not always accessible and consumes more physical space, which is a weakness.

A touchscreen interface is usually preferred over a mouse/keyboard combination in mobile phones, since it requires much less physical space. For example, an application that tells the time until the arrival of the next bus is frequently used outdoors in time-sensitive situations. It would be troublesome for the user to take out a mouse and keyboard and connect to the device before using the application.


Lauren Speers - 2/24/2014 12:08:03

Voice as an input method for text entry works well when the text being entered is relatively simple, such as a contact’s name or a short command like “Start.” Utilizing voice input also gives user the flexibility to enter text while doing another task – even another task unrelated to the text entry – with their hands. However, with more complex text, the error rate increases and the user will need to use error correction features more frequently. In addition, voice as input does not work as well in a public place because the text entry is not private and too much background noise may interfere with the ability to use the input method. Finally, Hinckley points out that using voice input for text entry may actually interfere with the user’s ability to write messages or remember words.

The direct touch input method allows the user to input text relatively quickly with a QWERTY keyboard, which is designed such that common pairs of letters are pressed by opposite hands. The speed benefits of direct touch text entry with a QWERTY keyboard even extend to two-thumb keyboards. However, direct touch text entry on a touchscreen surface divides the user’s attention because the keyboard provides less prominent tactile feedback and, therefore, requires some of the user’s visual attention. Furthermore, if the user is constrained to touch only one location or make only one stroke at a time, direct touch input on a touchscreen can fatigue the user since he might have to hold his hands in awkward positions to eliminate additional points of contact.

The stylus input method for text entry provides users with the opportunity to use gestures associated with proofreading, like crossing out a word to delete it. It also provides the opportunity for users to use hand-writing to input text. However, if the user wants the text to appear typed and not hand-written, he must rely on hand-writing recognition, which can be error prone. In addition, text entry with a stylus tends to be slower – only about 15 words per minute – and can require multiple modes to switch between ink and gesture-recognition behavior.

A touchscreen interface may be preferred to a mouse/keyboard combination if the user is working with a drawing application. The touchscreen’s position-position transfer function lends itself to drawing more than the mouse’s velocity-velocity transfer function does because it allows the user to focus their attention directly on the image they want to create, rather than partially on the image and partially on what distance they must move the mouse to create a lines of a certain length on the page. Furthermore, when using a drawing application, the user has very little need, if any, for the ability to type quickly with a keyboard.


Anju Thomas - 2/24/2014 12:35:35

Based on the Hinckley chapter, discuss the strengths and shortcomings of voice, direct touch, and stylus for text entry.

The stylus, touch and voice have both great advantages as well as disadvantages. As the author mentions “everything is best for something and worse for something else” to describe how one form of interaction need not be better than the others. Instead the effectiveness of each item is based on the situation or action being performed.For instance, a stylus can be used to specify regions of contact due to its well defined point. It allows the user to interact with the computer device just as they would with a pen and paper. Having been trained to use pen and papers from elementary, using a pen to manipulate the interface enables the user to interact in a more habitual way. Requires minimum pressure while making contact due to sensitive tip.

However, despite some of its benefits, a pen can be an obstacle in the user's task if the it is lost, in which case the user would not be able to perform their desired task without buying a different stylus customized for the device. Unlike pencils which are usually brought in packs, one stylus is usually purchased by the customer which can be very easy to be lost due to its size and weight. Also, the stylus can trigger unneeded touch. Accidental inputs can be triggered by palm or finger sensation of the device while writing. Handwriting recognition errors can also arise with stylus as with touch when texting.

A touch-based system has various advantages such as dragging things on a screen through intuitive action,although it might not come as naturally while performing other actions. Some screens allowing multitouch also enhance the user experience by allowing the user to multitask. Another advantage is the user does not need to be an experienced computer user or be sophisticated to use it. For instance, due to touch screens many children know how to interact with an iphone before reaching kindergarten. Touch responses can be learned more easily than using stylus for children as well. Using advanced featuers such as swiping or autocomplete also helps the user to text quickly.

Along with its advantages the various disadvantages of a direct touch system, includes the occlusion or fat finger problem. While choosing a specific target, the user has difficulty seeing the point of contact due to their small size of the target in comparison with the finger that is blocking its view. Another problem might be the accidental touch of the user sensed, while holding the device or other unintentional action. The Chess Player's Syndrome is also an obstacle, mainly for optical touch screens where the device senses action without any contact. Unlike indirect devices, touch pads also lack buttons that allow the user to transition between different states.

Voice based systems also enhance the user experience, by increasing the speed in interaction with the device. This is allowed because removing the physical intermediary, such as a pen, finger or mouse. The user can easily manipulate the interface without any body movement It can also help users with disabilities. For instance, a partially blind or far sighted users do not have to spend time and effort typing a name or question, but simply using the most natural form of communication for them. Using voice instead of a physical medium, also allows the users to multitask more freely having their hands free to drive or perform other task. Minimum physical pressure or acquisition time needed to perform a task.

A disadvantage of the voice system, is the common recognition errors that occur when the user says something. This can especially affect users with different accents or beginner speaker who are not fluent in the language. Background noise can also affect in voice translation, making it less effective when outdoors or noisy environments. Voice translation is also not convenient for simple actions, but are limited to certain actions. The system also lacks physical feedback as when touching a button. It also consists of difficulty in writing text in a grammatically correct manner with punctuations or even adding emotional icons such as smily faces to convey emotion.


Give an example of when a touchscreen interface may be preferred to a mouse/keyboard combination.

A benefit of both the touch pads and stylus devices is that they not only sense position but also contact, making it more accurate and easier to perform some tasks than a mouse or keyboard combination. An example is when a user wants to scroll through various pages on the screen. Using a mouse, the user has to find the scroll bar and place the cursor on a constrained area each time the user wants to scroll. However while using a touch screen, the user can simply touch any area of a screen and simply drag their finger up to scroll down, which saves them both time and effort.

Another case would be when drawing or sketching on a device. Using mouse or keyboard, the user has difficulty drawing or sketching accurately often looking distorted. Whereas by using touchscreen interface the user can directly navigate their hands to form the shape their wanted rather than using an intermediary. The user can also more easily depict the distances between object on a touch screen rather than formulating an estimated distance in their mind while using a mouse.Touch screens can also be effective when playing games to enhance user experience.


Anju Thomas - 2/24/2014 12:36:26

Based on the Hinckley chapter, discuss the strengths and shortcomings of voice, direct touch, and stylus for text entry.

The stylus, touch and voice have both great advantages as well as disadvantages. As the author mentions “everything is best for something and worse for something else” to describe how one form of interaction need not be better than the others. Instead the effectiveness of each item is based on the situation or action being performed.For instance, a stylus can be used to specify regions of contact due to its well defined point. It allows the user to interact with the computer device just as they would with a pen and paper. Having been trained to use pen and papers from elementary, using a pen to manipulate the interface enables the user to interact in a more habitual way. Requires minimum pressure while making contact due to sensitive tip.

However, despite some of its benefits, a pen can be an obstacle in the user's task if the it is lost, in which case the user would not be able to perform their desired task without buying a different stylus customized for the device. Unlike pencils which are usually brought in packs, one stylus is usually purchased by the customer which can be very easy to be lost due to its size and weight. Also, the stylus can trigger unneeded touch. Accidental inputs can be triggered by palm or finger sensation of the device while writing. Handwriting recognition errors can also arise with stylus as with touch when texting.

A touch-based system has various advantages such as dragging things on a screen through intuitive action,although it might not come as naturally while performing other actions. Some screens allowing multitouch also enhance the user experience by allowing the user to multitask. Another advantage is the user does not need to be an experienced computer user or be sophisticated to use it. For instance, due to touch screens many children know how to interact with an iphone before reaching kindergarten. Touch responses can be learned more easily than using stylus for children as well. Using advanced featuers such as swiping or autocomplete also helps the user to text quickly.

Along with its advantages the various disadvantages of a direct touch system, includes the occlusion or fat finger problem. While choosing a specific target, the user has difficulty seeing the point of contact due to their small size of the target in comparison with the finger that is blocking its view. Another problem might be the accidental touch of the user sensed, while holding the device or other unintentional action. The Chess Player's Syndrome is also an obstacle, mainly for optical touch screens where the device senses action without any contact. Unlike indirect devices, touch pads also lack buttons that allow the user to transition between different states.

Voice based systems also enhance the user experience, by increasing the speed in interaction with the device. This is allowed because removing the physical intermediary, such as a pen, finger or mouse. The user can easily manipulate the interface without any body movement It can also help users with disabilities. For instance, a partially blind or far sighted users do not have to spend time and effort typing a name or question, but simply using the most natural form of communication for them. Using voice instead of a physical medium, also allows the users to multitask more freely having their hands free to drive or perform other task. Minimum physical pressure or acquisition time needed to perform a task.

A disadvantage of the voice system, is the common recognition errors that occur when the user says something. This can especially affect users with different accents or beginner speaker who are not fluent in the language. Background noise can also affect in voice translation, making it less effective when outdoors or noisy environments. Voice translation is also not convenient for simple actions, but are limited to certain actions. The system also lacks physical feedback as when touching a button. It also consists of difficulty in writing text in a grammatically correct manner with punctuations or even adding emotional icons such as smily faces to convey emotion.


Give an example of when a touchscreen interface may be preferred to a mouse/keyboard combination.

A benefit of both the touch pads and stylus devices is that they not only sense position but also contact, making it more accurate and easier to perform some tasks than a mouse or keyboard combination. An example is when a user wants to scroll through various pages on the screen. Using a mouse, the user has to find the scroll bar and place the cursor on a constrained area each time the user wants to scroll. However while using a touch screen, the user can simply touch any area of a screen and simply drag their finger up to scroll down, which saves them both time and effort.

Another case would be when drawing or sketching on a device. Using mouse or keyboard, the user has difficulty drawing or sketching accurately often looking distorted. Whereas by using touchscreen interface the user can directly navigate their hands to form the shape their wanted rather than using an intermediary. The user can also more easily depict the distances between object on a touch screen rather than formulating an estimated distance in their mind while using a mouse.Touch screens can also be effective when playing games to enhance user experience.


Aayush Dawra - 2/24/2014 12:51:10

According to Hinckley, speech recognition can succeed for a limited vocabulary, such as speaking the name of a person from one’s contact list to place a cell phone call, but since error rates increase as the vocabulary and complexity of the grammar grows, if the quality of the audio signal from the microphone is not good enough, or if users employ out-of-vocabulary words, it becomes harder to use voice for text entry. Furthermore, speaking can sometimes interfere with one’s ability to compose text and remember words. Finally, speech is inherently non-private in public situations. Thus, although speech has an important role to play since intuitively it appears to be a convenient method for text entry, claims that speech will soon supplant manual input devices should be considered with skepticism, according to Hinckley.

As far as direct touch keyboards for text entry go, there have been many studies of touchscreen key sizes, or of optimal target sizes in general, but the Hinckley chapter concludes that in practice the key size is more-or-less dictated by the screen dimensions. Graphical keyboards demand significant visual attention because the user must look at the screen to press the correct key therefore splitting the user's visual attention between the workspace (where text is being inserted) and the graphical keyboard itself. Hinckley notes that this is particularly problematic on larger form-factors, such as slates, because the insertion point may be relatively far from the keyboard; if one brushes the screen by accident while typing, for instance, one may not even notice that characters are being mistakenly inserted at a new and unintended location. Another pitfall of using direct touch for text entry is that the quality of the tactile feedback is impoverished as compared to a physical keyboard because the user cannot feel the key boundaries. Many graphical keyboards add audible "clicks" to provide confirmatory feedback, but it is unclear if this actually benefits performance. A graphical keyboard (as well as the user's hand) occludes a significant portion of a device's screen, resulting in less space for the document itself. Furthermore, because the user typically cannot rest their fingers in contact with the display (as one can with mechanical keys), and also because one must carefully keep other fingers pulled back so as to not accidentally touch keys other than the intended one, extended use of touchscreen keyboards can be fatiguing in the long run.

Stylus-based typing with stroke gestures have been shown to produce high rates of text entry, once the user masters them but it remains unclear if such approaches will achieve widespread adoption. Although, handwriting recognition technology on the Tablet PC has improved markedly over the past decade,recognizing natural handwriting remains difficult and error prone for computers, and demands error correction input from the user. Handwriting recognition works well for short phrases such as search terms, or for background tasks such as indexing handwritten documents for search, but converting lengthy handwritten passages to error-free text remains a tedious process. Therefore, in Hinckley's view, pen-operated devices' best bet is to emphasize those user experiences that make minimal demands of recognition, and instead emphasize the virtues of ink as a uniquely expressive data type.

An example of when a touchscreen interface may be preferred to a mouse/keyboard combination would be digital maps. A user's interaction with a map generally involves a lot of vertical and horizontal scrolling which is far more intuitive with a touchscreen interface as opposed to a mouse/keyboard interface. Also, multi touch features such as zooming provide extra convenience without compromising on complexity which is in stark contrast to mouse/keyboard where simple navigation also involves a lot of overhead and relative inconvenience, when compared to a touchscreen interface.


Armando Mota - 2/24/2014 12:52:49

1) Strengths and shortcomings of these for text entry: Voice offers no occlusion, its speed is faster than writing if recognition is accurate and quick, and it also has the ability to be expressive if software supports it. It is, however, dependent on the quality of the recognition software, the recognition software is largely not universal - works for typical voices and accents but excludes many, it is harder to edit and fix errors with voice, as well as change fonts and select certain portions of the text. Touch can be used with both hands, you can’t lose fingers (usually), sometimes visual or audible feedback of touch is provided, and its interface is often very similar to current keyboard layouts which are well-known to us. Touch's shortcomings include large fingers or palm presses being mistakenly recognized as 2-4 points of contact, it creates more occlusion than a stylus (both in terms of whole screen and single finger), it offers less precision than a stylus, the buttons can be small, there is no (or at best not much) tactile feedback when pressing keys, there is a need constant visual attention, and you cannot rest your fingers on the display. With a stylus you have a very localized and specific point of contact, less occlusion than a finger, more precision, a larger range of expression than touch input without accessing menus or learning various touches/taps, and your hand can rest on screen unlike touch. Its drawbacks include imperfect recognition of written symbols, slower writing time than typing, and after a while it can be more exhausting because of the constant holding.

2) The most common example of an interface use that would be easier to accomplish with touch than with a keyboard and mouse is using an interface to manipulate a map, however it must be clarified that it depends on what you are using it for. There are two main uses for maps that I encounter, which are getting/viewing directions, and just exploring for fun. Getting directions presents a dichotomy - on the one hand, manipulating the map if you wanted to zoom in, zoom out, move it around, view street level or satellite views would all be easier with touch, however inputting the address and selecting which options you want for your route are important aspects of getting directions and are more easily accomplished with a mouse/keyboard. Using maps for fun is a use that finds most advantages in touchscreen interaction for the touch reasons stated in the previous example. Manipulating a map is much easier with multi-touch gestures - if the touchscreen did not allow multitouch, it wouldn’t really be advantageous anymore. Changing the orientation of the view (zooming in and out, rotating, accessing different view levels) is easier with multi-touch.


Steven Pham - 2/24/2014 13:58:55

Some examples of shortcomings of direct touch can be attributed to the sensors used to detect. Capacitive sensors limit you to your bare fingers for it to function correctly. This could be problematic for those missing limbs or people wearing gloves. Problems with typing include having cold hands during winter while outside using the device, mistyping if your fingers brushes over some other key especially for those with big fingers on some virtual keyboard. The pro of this is that you can type fairly quick. Also you can use multiple fingers to type since there may be more than one sensing point. The learning curve is small since its more "natural" for text entry as there is a keyboard somewhere.

A stylus input base senses pressure so a user would have to add pressure on a screen to have it detect. Problems with typing can include not typing as fast as the capacitive touch because more effort is involved in adding pressure. Pressure touch sensing points are limited to one. A pro is no matter what size hand you have, the stylus determines what you input.

For voice, the shortcomings are that accuracy could be iffy depending on the algorithm behind recognition. For the speech impaired this could not be a viable input option. The learning curve for those who are able to use it is very small since, assuming the accuracy it good, is you get what you say. Another pro for this input is that you can be anywhere as long as the mic is nearby to dictate a text entry.

A situation where a touch screen interface is preferred over the mouse/keyboard combination is on a phone. Usually people use one single hand when interacting with their phones. They can do what they need to (text input with a virtual keyboard and navigating everything on the phone) with a finger. This is in contrast to the older blackberries that had a keyboard and a mouse like ball. It forced the user to use both hands.


Emily Sheng - 2/24/2014 14:21:10

Speech recognition has a high error rate as the "complexity of the grammar grows" (27). Also using speech for text entry in public places make the contents of the speech public as well. In addition, the act of speaking can "interfere with one's ability to compose text and remember words" (28). However, speech can transmit communication across space and time. Also, text can be entered without physical contact with the device.

The shortcomings of using direct touch for text entry is that the user must keep his gaze focused on the screen in order to ensure he is pressing the right key. However, this method of text entry is good for mobile applications that users interact with on the go. Another advantage of direct touch is that users are less likely to lose a finger than a stylus.

One shortcoming of using a stylus is that users tend to lose styli. Also, text entry with styli is much slower. However, users are familiar with the shape and functionality of styli because it is similar to a pen, which the user has undoubtedly encountered before.

A touch screen interface may be preferred to a mouse/keyboard combination when the user is on his smart phone on the go. He does not want to bring out a mouse and keyboard just to send a simple text message on his phone.


Christina Guo - 2/24/2014 14:22:39

One pro of both direct touch and voice is that they are both convenient because they allow people to interact with the interface right away. People always have their voice and their finger ready to go; there is no extra time needed to take out a piece of hardware. Using a stylus, on the other hand, requires the user to acquire both the phone and a second piece of hardware. Also, people may loose a stylus, but they won't loose their voice or finger.

However, the stylus also allows for precision in a way that voice and direct touch cannot. It allows people to bring personal developed skills to the input, such as using their own handwriting or cursive, which would be more bulky if done with a finger, and impossible if done with voice.

Direct touch also has some side benefits, such as allowing other types of hand gestures that might help with text input. For example, the user can use two finger touch to zoom in on the input box.

However, with the current state of technology, direct touch or stylus on a virtual keyboard may be more efficient that voice, or touch/stylus with user's handwriting, just because of shortcomings in recognition technology both in terms of speed and correctness.

A touchscreen interface may be preferred to a mouse/keyboard combination in cases where the user is moving. A mouse/keyboard is extra hardware and bulk, and therefore is best suited for stationary situations in which the user can pull out all the necessary components and focus on the task at hand (also since it would require using both hands). A touchscreen interface is better when the user is moving, because all it requires is their body part; they don't need to remember or take out any extra piece of hardware.


Andrew Dorsett - 2/24/2014 14:27:09

Stylus, in regards to tapping at keys, has the strengths of precision and doesn't block much of the screen (occlusion). Where it suffers is that it doesn't match the conceptual model of typing on a keyboard. User's also can't take advantage of multitouch. Also the mechanical intermediary means that users can't instantly input text if they don't have the stylus in their hand. Stylus, in regards to writing, is familiar to the user but suffers because it becomes hard to recognize the user's writing. Direct touch benefits from aligning itself more with the conceptual model of a keyboard entry (tap on keys, letter appears). It supports multitouch which means users can type with both hands simultaneously. As the author said where is suffers is that users are used to feedback when they're typing and the size of the keyboard varies depending on the device. Fingers also can block a portion of the screen (you can't see the character you put your finger on). Both the stylus and multitouch suffer when the user can't user their hands. Where voice excels in it's ability to be uniform over all platforms. It doesn't require you to look at the screen and doesn't obscure your view of it either. The shortcomings with voice is, similar to writing, that it's hard to decode. Issues with accents, different languages, different voice types, etc. Also many users aren't used to talking to their devices, but that may change as voice recognize becomes better.

An example where touchscreen interfaces may be preferred is something like a directory in a mall. Imagine someone wants to know where a certain clothing store is. They much rather tap a giant touch screen and select their store then sit at a mouse and keyboard. Situations where the interface is highly visual and doesn't require much, if any, text input are ideal.


Everardo Barriga - 2/24/2014 14:46:56

There is an obvious strength in using voice as an input for text entry and that is that there is a low acquisition time. Because the acquisition time is defined as the time it takes for one to move their hand to a device, then the acquisition time in our case is constant. The user simply speaks and it is up to the device to be able to provide the correct text. The shortcomings are of course the time it takes to have your text translated from audio to actual text. Also there is a larger room for error in that the audio processing could incorrectly identify your words to mean something else. This particular errors is also frustrating because although you said the correct words the processing made the mistake, which is different from you explicitly typing the incorrect letter, or word.

A strength of the touch keyboard is that it mirrors what users already know and are comfortable with, which is a physical keyboard. It also allows the user the freedom of using two hands for typing which could speed up the amount of time the user spends typing. Another strength is that there is no mechanical intermediary between the user and the interface, the user simply uses their fingers to touch what they want to be displayed.

A shortcoming is that the keyboard takes up a large majority of the screen. Because of this sometimes the keys are made very small and there is some difficulty in getting the correct letters.

A strength of the stylus is the precision in which you are able to select the text,there is also a very small occlusion which includes only the pen tip.

There are quite a few shortcomings with the stylus though, it requires a mechanical intermediary namely the stylus, it has a high acquisition time, and there could be false inputs such as your palm which need to be placed on the screen in order to write properly.

I think playing a virtual piano is a perfect example. If you were to play the virtual piano on the keyboard, the keys aren’t spaced wide enough to where your finger’s muscle memory can work comfortably.


Brian Yin - 2/24/2014 14:46:56

Voice text entry has the advantages of removing the need to physically interact with the device for typing. Additionally, it is likely to increase the speed and ease of typing text because it is faster for some people to speak than to type. A disadvantage of voice input is that it is dependent upon the user's location and speaking ability. If the user is in a noisy area or an area where speaking is discouraged, then the user cannot user this form of text input. Additionally, if the user has an accent or perhaps is sick and unable to speak, he or she would be prevented from using this system efficiently.

Assuming the application uses a QWERTY keyboard layout, a direct touch interface would be able to take some advantage of user's experience with traditional keyboard methods. It also has the advantage of not requiring a stylus to interact with the application. Additionally, a direct touch screen has more modes of input compared to the other methods. With the other two, you are limited to only voice or a single stylus pen whereas with direct touch, you can use multiple fingers. However, the direct touch interface has may be slightly inaccurate in its actions because of the size of the finger. Moreover, the finger is likely to block the user's view of the screen as well.

A stylus is beneficial because it it benefits from the user's experience with actual physical writing utensils. It also provides more fine grain precision when interacting with objects on screen. Additionally, it is less prone to errors or accidental inputs compared to the other two input methods. For example, other sounds can interrupt voice recognition systems and inadvertent touches on a direct touch screen can also affect cause events. A stylus prevents these errors from occurring. However, a stylus perhaps has the slowest throughput compared to the other two methods. Additionally, it is also possible to lose the stylus, whereas it is less likely to lose one's voice or fingers.

A touchscreen interface may be preferred to a mouse/keyboard combination when mobility is desired, as setting up a mouse/keyboard system and carrying them around is a bit of a pain. It may also be preferred in systems that don't require a keyboard. An example could be a painting application, where rapid text entry is not desired and a touch screen better replicates real world drawing than a mouse.


Will Tang - 2/24/2014 14:57:02

While voice is a convenient method of text entry in that it comes naturally to most literate people, it does have drawbacks. Voice input requires an environment appropriate for the processing of sound, and it is much more difficult to make corrections or changes when using voice input. Direct touch is advantageous in that it is also familiar to people who can write. It is superior to voice input when the user wants to make changes or does not have a suitably noise free environment. Stylus text entry is best for people who are familiar with writing, as writing with an instrument is more familiar to most people than writing with their fingers. The drawbacks are that a stylus adds extra baggage.

One example where a touchscreen interface would be more preferred than a mouse/keyboard combination is any sort of drawing application. Drawing with a mouse is not as precise as using fingers or a stylus, and mouse sensitivities may vary. A keyboard would not be as necessary for a drawing app.


Gavin Chu - 2/24/2014 15:02:01

According to Hinckley, speech recognition still has a lot of flaws. It can perform simple commands like making a phone call, but as the vocabulary and complexity of the grammar grows, error rates increase. In addition, speaking is non-private, so any people would not want to perform these tasks in public.

Hinckley compared direct touch to keyboard touch. Although the "QWERTY" layout maximizes typing speed by splitting common letters that appear next to each other on separate side of the keyboard, having no physical buttons on a touchscreen means the user must look at the keyboard. Some system also provide suggested words while typing, but having to process those selections requires extra cognitive time. He claimed that typing with two thumb can still reach and text entry rate of 60wpm, so typing on a virtual keyboard is still pretty efficient. However, as the screen size gets bigger, the distance factor does make typing a bit troublesome.

Lastly, the use of stylus allows more flexibility for text entry, for example, selecting a text, highlighting a text, drawing diagrams, etc. However, handwriting recognition is also prone to errors, especially for copying a lengthy passage, and the conversion speed is not as fast as typing.

A touchscreen interface is preferred over a mouse/keyboard combination for gesture-based interactions, for example drawing. Many people have probably experienced drawing with a mouse and the drawings usually turn out really ugly unless you have very steady hands and patience to perform accurate strokes. Drawing with a finger on a touchscreen is a much smoother action.


Stephanie Ku - 2/24/2014 15:16:02

The use of voice for text entry has both its strengths and limitations. Its most prominent strength is the ability for the user to type without the use of their hands. This is very advantageous if the user is in a situation in which he/she does not have his/her hands free, take for example, when driving a car. It may also be advantageous to those who are not great at spelling or at the language; allowing the device to do the hard work for them. However, speech recognition is only successful for limited vocabulary. The error rates for recognition increases as the vocabulary and complexity of the grammar increases. Speech recognition is also limited to the hardware; if the audio signal from microphone is not good enough, or if the user uses out-of-vocabulary words, the error rates are even higher. Using voice can sometimes inhibit one’s ability to remember words and compose text. In addition, using voice is disadvantageous if one wants to speak of private matters in a public setting. In my personal experience, there is a period of latency after voice input, albeit minor, as it takes time for the device to process speech. Lastly, it is very difficult to use voice to refer to spatial locations; therefore it cannot eliminate the need for pointing.

Direct touch for text entry can come in two forms: the use of handwriting recognition using direct touch handwriting, and the use of a virtual keyboard using direct touch. Direct touch allows for the user to directly, with no acquisition time to take out a stylus, to interact with the device. In addition, another strength is that direct touch can often enable multi touch, allowing the user to input text with either hands or both hands. The use of two hands allows the user to move quickly, and input at a much faster rate. The text mentions virtual keyboard inputs can allow users to type up to 60wpm. However, there are some limitations to direct touch. Fingers are generally larger than styluses (the ‘fat finger’ syndrome). With more finger surface area, it is harder for the user to be precise in handwriting, or pressing on the virtual keyboard. This is even more so the case if the user is using a small device (e.g. mobile phone instead of tablet). Additionally, if the user is using direct touch on a virtual keyboard, the user must be able to keep finger off the keyboard when not using it to avoid pressing the wrong key accidentally. This could be exceptionally tiring for the user when trying to input long texts.

The use of stylus for text entry may be advantageous as the user is familiar with this tool. The stylus mimics a pen and is more intuitive for the user as it follows how the user would usually write. Similarly, the use of a stylus serves as a lever arm for precise control. With the small, defined point for writing, the user has a greater control and level of precision. In addition, styluses may also be useful for gesture based interactions associated with text (e.g. moving text by circling word and drawing an arrow to its new place). Often, minimum pressure is required to write. This would be good when determining false inputs, as a handswipe wouldn’t trigger it. However, similar to speech recognition, handwriting and character recognition is often very error prone. The user may have to spend extra time fixing, determining, and altering the way they write such that the device recognizes it.

An example of when a touchscreen interface is better than a mouse/keyboard combination is when the user wants to input mathematical equations. Take for example, a student taking notes in math class using an electronic device. Instead of having to tediously remember and type out mathematical syntax (such as those in LaTex), the user can simply draw on his/her touchscreen interface. Whether the input is translated into type-form or kept in his/her handwriting, it does not matter. By using the touch screen, it severely decreases the time needed for the user to ‘write down’ the mathematical equations what he/she desires. This is exceptionally useful for mathematical symbols that cannot be presented in plain text.


Sijia Li - 2/24/2014 15:32:51

1. Strengths of Voice: (1) The speed of voice input is fast (2) It is convenient to use; hand-free. (3) It is the most natural way to communicate e.g. input text

Shortcomings of Voice: (1) Voice recognition is error-prone. (2) Surrounding noisy can easily corrupt the voice input data and make it hard to interpret the voice. (3) Privacy is hard to achieve when the user is using voice in public. (4) Only standard language works well (e.g. standard American English); dialects may not work as well as standard language (e.g. English said by foreigners).


Strengths of Direct Touch: (1) Easy to use; the user does not need to learn a new set of skills to use Direct Touch, since the soft keyboards of Direct Touch normally have the same layout as ordinary mechanical external keyboard. (2) Convenient; Direct Touch does not require any external keyboard or mouse. It is ideal for most mobile devices.

Shortcomings of Direct Touch: (1) Since Direct Touch lacks tactile feedbacks, it is less natural than normal physical text entries. (2) The soft keyboard takes a lot of space on screen. That is, the space for the real content will be limited. (3) " Midas Touch Problem" (Page 10). Direct Touch can also be error-prone in a sense that, if you accidentally touch the screen, it could cause typos or other kinds of errors. (4) "Chess Player's Syndrome"(Page 10); Device senses touch when none occurred. Common problem on optical touch-screens. (5) Direct Touch can be vulnerable to "fat finger" problem.


Strengths of Stylus: (1) Higher Precision and Better Accuracy. The "fat finger" problem in Direct Touch does not exist in the use of a Stylus, since there is no problem like "fat Stylus". (2) Natural to use; using Stylus is just like using a normal pen or pencil. The user does not need to learn new skills to use Stylus; he can just transfer his experience and knowledge of using pens or pencils into using Stylus.

Shortcomings of Stylus: (1) It requires an extra external device, a Stylus. (2) Slow. The number of input words written in Stylus per minute is capped at a certain number, e.g. on average, ~20 words per minute. (3) Palm Rejection: Palm triggers accidental inputs, fingers drag on screen while writing, etc. This is a difficult problem. Designs must accommodate incidental palm contact when it inevitably occurs.


2. Drawing or sketching: In Drawing or Sketching, touchscreen interface is definitely a lot better than keyboard + mouse combination, since it is a lot more natural to "draw" on the screen by using touchscreen than using keyboard + mouse combination. Using keyboard + mouse combination to "draw" on screen is a nightmare for users, since it is too hard to precisely control the mouse to draw a certain shape or symbol. A touchscreen interface enables users to draw on screen just like draw on paper.


Sang Ho Lee - 2/24/2014 15:32:58

Voice: Voice is convenient and requires no additional tools. It relies on speaking, which is so innate that it requires no conscious effort, freeing up the mind to work on other information processing. However, while voice input is fairly accurate, there are errors in recognition and it is difficult to fix them using only voice. Fixing those mistakes can only be done by the use of another input, such as direct touch or keyboard. It is arguable that this significantly decreases the utility of voice text input. Also, voice input cannot be used in every type of environment. There cannot be excessive environmental noise and the speaker must speak in an accent with inflections that the computer is programmed to understand. Therefore, voice input can be very convenient when it is working, but can be useless in hostile environments.

Direct touch: Much like voice, and unlike the stylus, direct touch requires no tools. Coupled with autocorrection technology and feedback methods such as audible clicks, direct touch for text entry can be quick and relatively accurate. However the accuracy and comfort of direct touch text input relies heavily on an optimal screen size. By Fitt's law, as the distance grows between the locus of attention and the individual graphical keys, the probability of error increases. This is the difficulty of scaling direct input keyboards to larger form factors. In addition, direct touch methods' availability depends directly on the display technology ( resistive vs capacitive). For example, a capacitive touch screen may support more fluid gestures and multitouch for faster typing, but does not afford the use of gloves.

Stylus: The stylus provides the most familiar input method for writing-- much like holding a pen. However, with this familiarity comes the requirement of always having the stylus on hand and not losing it. Also stylus based character recognition is much slower and inaccurate compared to keyboard based text input (~20 wpm vs. ~80 wpm). But stylus based text entry works well for short bursts of text, but accurate recognition for longer phrases proves difficult for computers.

A touchscreen interface may be preferred to a mouse/keyboard combination by artists who work on digital illustration. The touchscreen interface is a more direct form of input, and its immediate graphical feedback is very similar to a sheet of paper or a canvas. In conjunction with the touchscreen interface, a stylus may be used which can define more accurate strokes and presses than a mouse. By not requiring the artist to switch back and forth between the mouse and keyboard, the artist can employ hand-drawing techniques and not be distracted by the use of an indirect input method.


Conan Cai - 2/24/2014 15:35:28

Direct touch and stylus input can be seen as two "sides of a coin", where using one leads to qualities that are not found in the other. A stylus functions as a mechanical intermediary as opposed to touch which directly manipulates the screen. The stylus is natural for people to hold and use for text entry as it resembles a pen or pencil - something that people already know how to use. In the case of a stylus, no additional training is required for text entry; a person writes on the screen just like people have been doing with pen and paper for thousands of years. However, stylus input relies on the text recognition algorithm being used. Every person's handwriting is different and if the algorithm is unable to properly classify a person's handwriting into letters, then user frustration will occur. Stylus input, while natural, is relatively slow. Multiple strokes must be made to create a letter. Add in the processing time to recognize the handwriting and stylus input for text is in fact slower than traditional pen and paper. Direct touch on the other hand has the user mimic typing on a keyboard. This too is a natural way of inputting text, because many users will be familiar with using a hardware computer keyboard. Again, no training is needed; intuition says that if I want to input a certain letter, I will press its corresponding key on the on screen keyboard. Text entry is relatively fast because only a single press is needed for a letter to appear on screen. However, this speed must be acquired. The speed comes from the fact that a user has learned the positions of keys on the keyboard and can quickly type. If a user is not familiar with the layout of a keyboard then he or she will have to hunt and peck for the desired keys or make many errors during text entry. Finally, using voice for text entry is perhaps the most intuitive of all. All a user needs to do is speak. The speed of text entry has the potential to be the fastest of all three types of input. A person can speak more words, more quickly than he or she would be able to write or type. However this speed and ease of use comes directly from the algorithm used to translate text to speech. Like stylus input, if the algorithm does not recognize what the user is saying or cannot keep up with the speed at which the user is speaking, then much frustration will occur. In addition, voice input is not suited to public places; if requires noise to be made whereas the other two are silent. Using voice is not a good idea if the user is trying to be discrete or otherwise doesn't want people around them to hear.

Touchscreen interfaces are a good choice for mobile computing. Touchscreen relies on direct manipulation using fingers (or a stylus) which are always available to a user and quickly accessible. A keyboard and mouse are additional hardware that must be connected so there is a long delay between when a user intends to interact with the computer than when they are actually able to inputting commands. In a touchscreen interface, everything needed to interact is in a self contained unit - perfect for a mobile device.


Sijia Li - 2/24/2014 15:36:51

1. Strengths of Voice: (1) The speed of voice input is fast (2) It is convenient to use; hand-free. (3) It is the most natural way to communicate e.g. input text

Shortcomings of Voice: (1) Voice recognition is error-prone. (2) Surrounding noisy can easily corrupt the voice input data and make it hard to interpret the voice. (3) Privacy is hard to achieve when the user is using voice in public. (4) Only standard language works well (e.g. standard American English); dialects may not work as well as standard language (e.g. English said by foreigners).


Strengths of Direct Touch: (1) Easy to use; the user does not need to learn a new set of skills to use Direct Touch, since the soft keyboards of Direct Touch normally have the same layout as ordinary mechanical external keyboard. (2) Convenient; Direct Touch does not require any external keyboard or mouse. It is ideal for most mobile devices.

Shortcomings of Direct Touch: (1) Since Direct Touch lacks tactile feedbacks, it is less natural than normal physical text entries. (2) The soft keyboard takes a lot of space on screen. That is, the space for the real content will be limited. (3) " Midas Touch Problem" (Page 10). Direct Touch can also be error-prone in a sense that, if you accidentally touch the screen, it could cause typos or other kinds of errors. (4) "Chess Player's Syndrome"(Page 10); Device senses touch when none occurred. Common problem on optical touch-screens. (5) Direct Touch can be vulnerable to "fat finger" problem.


Strengths of Stylus: (1) Higher Precision and Better Accuracy. The "fat finger" problem in Direct Touch does not exist in the use of a Stylus, since there is no problem like "fat Stylus". (2) Natural to use; using Stylus is just like using a normal pen or pencil. The user does not need to learn new skills to use Stylus; he can just transfer his experience and knowledge of using pens or pencils into using Stylus.

Shortcomings of Stylus: (1) It requires an extra external device, a Stylus. (2) Slow. The number of input words written in Stylus per minute is capped at a certain number, e.g. on average, ~20 words per minute. (3) "Palm Rejection"(Page 10): Palm triggers accidental inputs, fingers drag on screen while writing, etc. This is a difficult problem. Designs must accommodate incidental palm contact when it inevitably occurs.


2. Drawing or sketching: In Drawing or Sketching, touchscreen interface is definitely a lot better than keyboard + mouse combination, since it is a lot more natural to "draw" on the screen by using touchscreen than using keyboard + mouse combination. Using keyboard + mouse combination to "draw" on screen is a nightmare for users, since it is too hard to precisely control the mouse to draw a certain shape or symbol. A touchscreen interface enables users to draw on screen just like draw on paper.


Prashan Dharmasena - 2/24/2014 15:37:41

1) The first that the chapter addresses is touch. While many hail touch for being more "natural", Hinckley shows us examples where it is possible for more than one action to be considered "natural" to different people. One of the key strengths of direct touch is the ability to track multiple fingers and even multiple hands. With this, we open up new possibilities for gestures such as pinching, etc. But, we lose the accuracy of the stylus. With the stylus, we are much more accurate, and since we are used to writing/drawing with a pencil, we reduce the articulatory distance on the gulf of execution. Voice input, while theoretically can be very strong, is very limited based on the implementation of the speech-recognition software. In addition, Hinckley states that keyboard text entry is about twice as fast as voice recognition. But, Hinckley points out that without recognition, speech can still provide a lot of value to the user. By recording/editting speech, we can implement it in our software to enhance the human-to-human communication experience.

2) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XVbuk3jizGM <- This video is a great example of when a touch screen interface would be preferred to a mouse/keyboard combination. When using a mouse, you need to look at the screen to be able to ensure that you are clicking/selecting the right thing, and while driving you obviously can't have your eyes away from the road for long amounts of time. In addition, to efficiently and effectively use a keyboard, you have to use both hands - a big no-no while driving. This interface instead allows you to use touch controls that do not need a visual confirmation. By taking into account the movement of your fingers relative to the initial point of contact instead of an absolute position on the screen, the interface allows one to perform actions regardless of where their fingers are on the screen.


Sergio Macias - 2/24/2014 15:47:44

The biggest strength, I feel, of voice input for a text entry is that voice is one of our most used abilities. It is more natural, in the sense that we have been using it since birth and the voice input does not make us alter our use of our voice (except perhaps trying to be more clear), and thus one can use this tool right out of the gate. The weakness of voice input is that the technology does not seem to be at the same level of the concept. Many times when I use voice input, I get the wrong results and have to subsequently do it all over again. If it fails more than twice, I automatically give up and go to keyboard entry. This weakness is amplified because it is very difficult to decode many languages, all of which have many different accents and even more, each particular person usually has their own unique pronunciation of certain words, along with inflection. A strength of direct touch is that it is very quick, in that you do not have to search for your stylus or push a button to activate voice input. The moment you get to the input screen, you are ready to go! In addition, direct touch just requires that you have at least one finger, which is not a problem for the majority of users. A weakness of direct touch is perhaps the button is too small and the users hand is too big making the interaction clumsy and hard to use. Another issue is that if the user does not have experience with direct touch for text entry (perhaps they have not memorized the location of most of the keys), then it will be very slow to type in a long message, while on the other hand voice could do it very quickly (if captured and decoded correctly, at least). A strength of a stylus is that is a familiar tool in which users bring years of experience of handwriting, sketching, and drawing. In addition, it a very precise tool which removes the issue of not being precise enough if the buttons are too small. However the weakness of a stylus also comes from its strength – it’s a physical tool. A stylus is a small tool which can be misplaced and subsequently lost relatively easy and definitely much more easier than losing the other two inputs – voice and a finger. In addition, it requires more effort to use a stylus since every time you need to use it, you need to locate it and grab it versus just doing the action right there and then with voice or direct touch. This leads to other issues such as if you are in a cramped place, like a subway car, where many people use their mobile device, and you want to place a game but it requires your stylus, but it’s bag which is on the floor and unreachable because of the mass of people surrounding you. Your surroundings have stopped you from using your device; a scenario all designers want to avoid. One instance in which a touchscreen would be leaps and bounds above a mouse and keyboard combination is when you are drawing something. Drawing and making lines with your mouse is a very clumsy experience; it is nowhere near the feel of drawing with a pen or even your finger. With direct touch, you can use a stylus, which would be the best option in this case, or a finger, which wouldn’t be as great as a stylus but yet would be more fluid than with rigid mouse movements. The finger in this case seems to act as a natural stylus and thus you bring in some of your experience and hand eye coordination from using a pen/stylus. This is not true for a mouse and keyboard, which are entirely different inputs and thus you cannot transfer your experience directly from the stylus as with the finger.


Erik Bartlett - 2/24/2014 15:49:50

1) For voice input, the main pro is that the input can be done hands free, allowing the user to be interacting with something else - whether it is dictating notes while completing an experiment, or writing down notes for the lecture you’re watching. It gives the user more freedom. The cons are numerous. If a person is in a quiet setting, or a setting that does not allow them to talk, then inputting text is impossible. Also, speech recognition is a very difficult task and can take a long time to give the user feedback. Finally speech recognition is no where near perfect, the user often has to repeat what they say or us a different input method to fix what they have dictated.

A stylus has a broad range of pros and cons. Because it is a tool separate from the person, the user can buy extra functionality in tools, such as erasers and or pens that are used specifically for certain commands. The stylus also is an intuitive way to input ink type text (intuitive in the sense that the user is writing on the surface like a piece of paper with a pen - an action the majority of users will have done for their whole life). Stylus’ also allow for movements to be mapped to editor type actions, such as x-ing out a word/paragraph to delete it, or circle and drag to move it. A huge problem for a stylus input is how the input should be interpreted. The user often has gestures and ink type inputs, and the interface/application must be able to differentiate between the two - either by the user selecting an “input mode” or by specific mappings. The former requires the user to manually change back and forth, which becomes time consuming and tedious. The latter can work but sometimes gestures will get mixed up for writing (or visa versa), or the action can not be chosen as either until it is completely fulfilled, making the user unable to get useful feedback during the interaction. Typing with a stylus is also tedious and slow, as you can only peck one letter at a time. Another thing is that handwriting recognition moves an abysmal rate of 15 wpm, much slower than the average typist.

Touch screens have two possible modes of text entry, either by writing like a stylus with a finger or with a touch-screen keyboard. Using a finger as a stylus suffers from the same problems as a stylus does. The keyboard also has many shortcomings. Because it is on the screen, it offers the user not tactile feedback, forcing them to watch what they are typing to make sure it is correct; diverting their attention from the workspace. The keyboard’s location on the screen also can cause the user to accidentally interact with the screen/cursor , causing them to switch where they are typing by a graze of the screen. The amount of information on the screen is also limited by the keyboards placement on the screen. A huge benefit of the touch keyboard is its speed. Many experienced users can type at rapid speeds. Blending gesture interaction with touch-typing input has been shown to increase input speeds once the user has mastered them.

2) The most obvious circumstance for a touch screen as opposed to a mouse and keyboard is when the user is on the go. Most touch screens are operational with only one hand, allowing the user to use the other to hold a bag/item or balance themselves. With a mouse and keyboard the user has to be using both hands at all times to efficiently use them. The touch screen is also already included with the device, making it more portable than having a mouse and keyboard attached to the device. A mouse and keyboard also need a platform on which to sit, while a touchscreen and always be used as long as the device can be held in hand.


Dalton Stout - 2/24/2014 15:51:53

The text talks about the inherent problems that come with the current discussion between 'natural' and 'unnatural' inputs. The theme of the text is the every input type is the best for something and the worst for something else. That means that no input is more or less natural for another, it is only for which tasks that they can be deemed natural. I think voice is a very viable method for text entry. It requires no mechanical intermediary and therefore no acquisition time. Anyone can just walk up and begin speaking. On the downside, the hardware will require a microphone to pick up the voice input and complex software to decode the speech to text. On top of that, it is not universally agreed upon which commands we would need to issue to edit the text. If I say 'delete' will it type the actual word 'delete' or will it issue a backspace to what I just dictated? Questions like these may confuse and frustrate potential users. Direct touch also does not require a mechanical intermediary or any acquisition time. It is beneficial because the user can type on a number of various virtual surfaces. They can even use a virtual foreign language keyboard if they like. Many users are becoming rather fast at inputting text through direct touch. On the flip side of the coin, touch input lacks a certain physical feedback that many users require when typing. Depending on the amount of points of contact on the screen, a fast typist may actually be slowed down by a touch interface. While it is the only input on the list that requires a mechanical intermediary and acquisition time, I consider the stylus to be the most natural method of inputting text entry. Since we are child we are taught to write with a pen and pencil. This has been engrained into us so it is very natural for use to express ourselves physically through written word. The main drawback to stylus entry is that you need software to convert words written with a stylus to actual character encodings.

Consider the extremely popular mobile application Candy Crush. This is a game based on the Bejeweled style of 'match 3 of a kind' gameplay. This game requires players to align colored blocks with similarly colored blocks by swapping blocks with their neighbors. The benefits of using a touchscreen for this swapping action are numerous. For one, a mobile game like this requires quick gameplay and quick start up. The acquisition time alone for using a mouse/keyboard would kill the concept of the mobile game. It could no longer be played on a bus, or in line. Also, since most iPhones have multiple points of contact, the touchscreen allows multiple users to play together cooperatively. Lastly, the physical action of swiping your finger in a certain direction and watching the block move along with you is a very satisfying user experience. You just don't get the same addictive, cohesive interaction from a keyboard/mouse interface.


Kaleong Kong - 2/24/2014 15:55:07

Voice: Strengths: The strengths of using voice control is that you can still control your devices when your hands are occupied. Disadvantages: However, nowadays, voice control is not that sensitive. The background noise may interference with the voice input of the user. Also, the device usually lack of understanding of human language and may do action which is irrelevant to the user intention.

Direct Touch: Strengths: The strengths of direct touch is that you can directly interact with the screen of your device without any tool in between. You can performance more intuitive interaction with the screen. You don’t need to worry where your cursor is. Disadvantages: However, sometimes direct touch might be too sensitive. If you accidentally touch somewhere else on the screen with your palm, your device may perform unwanted action. Also, different people have different size of finger, some buttons might be too small for some users and this may cause users fail to press the correct buttons.

Stylus: Strengths: If you use a stylus, you won’t need to worry about your palm as when you are using direct touch. Your device guarantee you that its screen only interacts with the stylus. Moreover, you can still control your device without worrying where is your cursor. Disadvantages: If you lose your stylus, you probably lose all your access to your device.


The following is my example for a situation where a touchscreen interface may be preferred to a mouse/keyboard combination. For example, when you are looking at an small image, you may want to enlarge an image. If you are using mouse/keyboard combination, people usually press ctrl + or find a enlarge button with your cursor. Yet, if you are not familiar with computer, you may not know pressing ctrl + can enlarge an image. Also, enlarging or squeezing the an image to a correct size may involve multiple pressing. However, if you are using touchscreen, you just need to use your two finger move them away from each other to enlarge an image. You can do continuously action to adjust the size of an image until you are satisfied. These gesture is much more intuitive than using your keyboard or mouse. You can also move your image around the screen just by using your finger.


Daniel Haas - 2/24/2014 15:55:26

1) I definitely don't agree that "Everything, including touch, is best for something and worst for something else", but I'll admit that any form of interaction has both strengths and weaknesses. Let's examine them one by one.

Voice: Voice input for text entry is an attractive-sounding option because (assuming high quality recognition) it would seem to enable high-precision text input without any physical device interaction, and it mirrors a very natural human mode of text production: speech. However, voice for text entry is empirically slower than other techniques, has issues with privacy, and doesn't necessarily complete eliminate the requirement of physical contact with the device (there is a necessary acquisition cost of either pressing a button on the phone or issuing a voice command to begin recording speech).

Direct Touch: There are two main forms of direct touch text entry in use today: an onscreen keyboard and actual handwriting with fingers. Both are attractive because they don't require a mechanical intermediary between the user and the device (nothing that can be lost), are effective in mobile settings (unlike a hardware keyboard), and allow input with both hands at once if desired (this is more true of the keyboard than of the drawing approach). However, both have issues around obscuring the device screen: the onscreen keyboard must occupy a large amount of space for the user to interact with it effectively (think Fitts' Law), and drawing text with fingers interferes with the visible screen real estate as well. Precision can also be a problem with these devices. Fat-fingering inputs to an onscreen keyboard or not being able to draw strokes precisely can lead to mistakes in input.

Stylus: Styli are attractive as a text-entry input device precisely because they are mechanical intermediaries. They are small and less disruptive to the user viewing the interface, and also allow high-precision touch. Writing with a stylus is a familiar action for users because it is nearly identical to writing with a pen or pencil. However, styli come with acquisition cost (pulling out the stylus from its holder or case), are easy to lose, and can only be used with one hand at a time. There are also challenges to handwriting recognition technology that make this approach difficult to implement for arbitrary text without being error-prone.

2) There are plenty of examples where a touchscreen interface might be preferred to a mouse/keyboard combination. For example, in the mobile setting, a mouse/keyboard can be far too cumbersome to carry around everywhere. Additionally, in scenarios where absolute input is preferred to relative input (say, drawing), a touchscreen interface might be preferable, since a mouse must provide relative input as it is an indirect device. When a user draws with a mouse and wishes to start a new stroke far away on the drawing, they must provide input to track the cursor to the new start location. With a touchscreen interface, the user can simply press on the new location and begin drawing.


Sol Han - 2/24/2014 15:57:12

Voice is a good form of input when the user is using their hands for other purposes (e.g., driving, bicycling) or has disabilities that prevent them from effectively using their hands for input; there is a limited need for physical movement in general. However, voice input is not ideal for use in environments with high noise levels (e.g., while out in the city). It is also bad in the opposite situation where there is a noise policy (e.g., libraries) or the user wants to maintain privacy (e.g., entering passwords). Voice recognition technology is still in development, making it less reliable in certain circumstances (such as if the user has a strong foreign accent or speech impediments, or if the user tries to input words that the technology does not know).

With direct touch, there is no mechanical intermediary to lose or break, as is the case with styli. Direct touch can potentially take in multiple points of contact. For example, a user may use two fingers to pinch and zoom out the display on the screen. A downside is that the fingers/hands/body parts used can complicate text entry. One such example is the 'fat finger' problem, where, say, the finger is too large to press the desired button. Another example is occlusion, where the hand/arm can hide information on the touchscreen. Furthermore, the user may accidentally touch parts of the screen they didn't intend to.

Stylus-based inputs are similar to direct touch in many ways. However, a stylus is a pen-like mechanical intermediary; this can be advantageous because it is familiar to users who have grown up writing and drawing with pens and pencils. On the other side of the coin, the stylus is limited to the user's dominant hand. Styli are generally more precise than direct touch methods, because they have sharper tips. However, as with direct touch, using a stylus can occlude information on the screen. Also, styli can take in accidental input from the palm. Another downside is that handwriting input can be unreliable if the user has poor penmanship.

An example of when a touchscreen interface may be preferred to a mouse/keyboard combination is when trying to annotate a virtual document. One specific scenario in which this might occur is during a lecture in which the lecturer highlights and elaborates on key concepts on the document projected on the screen. By using direct input (such as with a stylus), the lecturer can more freely mark different parts of the page. Furthermore, the lecturer can draw sketches and write special characters, a task for which a traditional mouse/keyboard approach would be cumbersome.


Munim Ali - 2/24/2014 16:09:28

Voice: Voice based interfaces have zero occlusion as there is nothing that blocks the screen from the user. It also has zero acquisition time as one can just start speaking the words for text entry rather than moving their finger or stylus to the keypad. Since there is no intermediary you cannot lose it (unless you have a sore throat and lose your voice!). Voice text entry also does not require as much proximity to the device as that need by both touch and stylus based text entry. Drawbacks, include the fact that contemporary voice based text entry has a high feedback time compared to touch/stylus input, not as precise as the other two methods, does not afford multiple contact points - so if you wanted to copy a portion of text with voice it would be pretty difficult. Error correction is difficult.

Direct Touch: Direct touch based text entry has moderate to high occlusion this makes it difficult to read text as you type, the fact that a virtual keypad also takes valuable screen space adds to this problem. The acquisition time is low - move your hand to the screen. Since there is nothing to lose (unlike a stylus). This input method requires proximity to the device. You can use both hands as you type. Feedback time is pretty low in contemporary touch based input devices. Touch based input is moderately precise, although the "fat-finger" problem could cause some difficulty. The fact that you can use both fingers makes it easy to select and copy a portion of text. Error correction is also pretty good when compared to voice based text entry.

Stylus: Stylus based text entry has low occlusion - better than direct touch but not as good as vice as the stylus can still block your vision, the fact that a virtual keypad also takes valuable screen space adds to this problem. The acquisition time is high at first - need to unsheathe your stylus, etc, on subsequent use this time is lowered to that of direct touch. Since the stylus is a mechanical intermediary, it can be lost which is a problem. This input method requires proximity to the device. Stylus based text entry does not afford multiple points of contact, thus making it less efficient than direct touch. Feedback time is pretty low. Stylus based input is very precise, due to the fine tip. Selection of text can be a little difficult due to the fact that it affords only a single contact point (this can however be solved with some pre-defined stylus gestures). Error correction is also pretty good when compared to voice based text entry.

While drawing a touch based interface is preferable to a mouse/keyboard combination as it affords more degrees of freedom and is more precise.


Matthew Deng - 2/24/2014 16:18:11

As said in the reading, every coin has two sides. However, in this case, the coin has 3 sides: voice, direct touch, and stylus. Each of these sides each has its advantages and disadvantages.Let us examine each of the three input methods individually. First, voice input. Positively, you do not have to use your hands, meaning that your hand or arm will not occlude the screen or add additional inputs. Additionally, you can enter text without having to look at the screen, which means usability when on the go. On the other hand, voice recognition is only efficient to a certain extent. Outside noise, accents, and other noises can cause the recognition software to misinterpret text entry. Direct touch is good because, like voice, it does not require an intermediary. Input is immediately recognized and outputted, so you can correct any errors on the spot. Unfortunately, direct touch is not efficient because of the size of contact with the writing surface. Thickness of the fingertip and possibly the palm and arm can cause occlusion and imprecise writing. Finally, there's the stylus. The muscles and stability gained from writing with pencils allows people to write with the same precision with styluses. The thin tip allows for a defined point of contact. However, this is the only input type that requires an intermediary, the stylus.

A touchscreen interface may be preferred to a mouse and keyboard combination when direct touch is more efficient than indirect input. Perhaps the most prevalent example of this is for mobility. Although using a touchscreen is slower than using a mouse and keyboard, carrying a mouse and keyboard with you everywhere is absurd. The same way laptops sacrifice mice for trackpads, touchscreen devices sacrifice mice and keyboards for extreme mobility.


Liliana (Yuki) Chavez - 2/24/2014 16:21:05

For voice text entry, we can directly translate our words into actions on the device, which might be faster than doing it with our hands. Since there is many problems with voice interaction, the probability of saying the wrong thing, and the device not understanding you is much higher than touch or other methods of interaction, which, in the end, might be more tedious to do with voice since you might have to double check if the actions you performed were done exactly as you wanted them to.

For direct touch, a shortcoming is blocking the view of the text you are manipulating with your finger. If what you are manipulating is intricate and finely detailed you might want something with a finer point than your finger. An advantage to direct touch is that actions might be easier to perform if the you only need to sign a quick thing (like a signature at a cashier stand) since speed to pick up a pen might be a deterrent.

For a stylus, a disadvantage would be having a stylus always connected to the device to use it, plus the time to pick it up. An advantage is that it mimics personal writing more directly, so if you want to send a note in your handwriting to someone, that is closer simulated by using a stylus for text entry.

A touch screen interface might be preferred in a situation where a child is using the device, as young children haven't learned how to use a mouse/keyboard interface quite yet and are more interested in using their hands to discover the consequences of their actions.


Doug Cook - 2/24/2014 16:23:34

Examining voice, direct touch, and stylus-based input through the lens provided by the Hinckley piece exposes more objective strengths and weaknesses than simply calling them “natural.” Although leveraging voice input for the sake of simple commands is generally faster than typing, I can’t imagine composing a 10-page essay through that input method. Speaking for long periods of time is tiresome and takes a toll on one’s voice, which corresponds the weakness of voice as an input modality. Direct touch faces similar shortcomings when users need to frequently access elements that are separated by a large distance. While a mouse isn’t subject to Hinckley’s “parallax error” in terms of tracking speed, touch-based input is – so users would quickly tire of moving their hands in such circumstances. Stylus-based input has advantages in its precision (very small point of contact) but suffers from occlusion issues in that it blocks the screen beneath it from view. By seeing each input modality objectively, we learn that each has a set of unique advantages and shortcomings – which is the argument in Hinckley and Wigdor’s research.

A touchscreen might be preferred to a traditional mouse/keyboard setup in the case where users with disabilities (Arthritis, for example) need to interact with the device. The frequent finger-motion demanded by keyboards and mouse buttons would be painful or impossible for such users, but gesture-based tasks that require a single contact point would not. This is an ergonomic example, but touchscreens are direct input devices and thus share many advantages of other direct-input modalities (some are mentioned in Hinckley’s chapter).


Insuk Lee - 2/24/2014 16:26:20

Voice inputs as the method of text entry is not yet refined enough to be practical for everyday use. Voice recognition and natural language processing are heavily researched areas but it cannot trump the performance of other input methods. However, it has been effective and widely-accepted in multi-functional situations such as driving. Direct touch is next up in terms of text entry performance. While it took some time for the general mass to get used to the idea and adapt, typing (or texting) on touch-enabled devices has come to lead in mobile input method. Feedback upon touching the screen makes it realistic and comparable to typing with physical buttons. Lastly, a stylus is a relatively foreign form of input method, at least in the U.S., but it has some useful advantages. Writing in itself is slower than typing for heavy text input, but as note-taking applications emerge and expand, a stylus, which lets users express, draw and mark up in a more variety of ways, is catching attention.

We inherently prefer things that we feel to be in control of, and this intimate interaction with our devices can be captured more naturally with a touchscreen interface than a mouse-keyboard combination. We swipe up and down to scroll through the page, swipe left and right to imitate a page flip, and touch buttons which immediate respond. This hands-on interaction provides a better user experience. For example, when we are playing Fruit Ninja, the time and amount of mental/physical process it takes to move the mouse to the fruit by assessing how moving the mouse corresponds to the cursor moving on the screen, click the button and drag it across is more straining than simply moving your fingers towards the fruit and swiping it.


Namkyu Chang - 2/24/2014 16:26:46

Voice input has substantial value, even without recognition, as the sound could be recorded or relayed to another human being without an analysis by a computer. In that sense, by providing little-to-no physical interaction with the machine, its efficiency is very high. Voice recognition is also successful with limited vocabulary, such as speaking a person’s name and a command such as “call” or “text”. However, limitations set in when vocabulary becomes much tougher (e.g. talking to Siri and trying to hold a conversation like “Have you listened to the new Imagine Dragon album? What did you think about it?” would get you nowhere). In addition, “speech is inherently non-private in public situations,” meaning a private text message to a friend could be heard by everyone in the café.

Direct touch is advantageous because it has a unified input and display surface (thus no need for extra hardware like a keyboard) and also provides direct feedback to the user (e.g. when typing on my phone, I know I touched a button or not through physical contact). However, some disadvantages include the lack buttons for state transitions, as well as occlusion (when typing on my phone’s touch-keyboard, my fingers might cover up some of the keys).

Stylus for entry, such as those used for the Palm Pilot, is convenient because it allows one-handed interactions in some situations, as well as faster text entry and more precise pointing. However, limitations include the need to have the plastic pen on the user at all times, as well as the inability to perform multi-touch interactions such as the “pinch gesture” on the iPhone.

An example of when touchscreen would be preferred over a mouse/keyboard combination is on a mobile device; something used on-the-go. A mouse/keyboard combination may help with more precise typing and pointing, as well as getting rid of the problem of occlusion. However, all these come with the trade-off of having more hardware. When I’m walking to class, I cannot hold onto a display, mouse, and keyboard while simultaneously performing actions on them. On the other hand (no pun intended, although this would hopefully make the grader chuckle and perhaps consider giving a 3/3), I would have no problem of suffering from occlusion and less-accurate inputs if that meant I could hold onto a 5 inch device on the palm of my hand and interact with my device/contact my friends/read an article/etc.


Derrick Mar - 2/24/2014 16:27:47

When we are comparing the advantageous of a touchscreen interface vs. an indirect input interaction like a mouse/keyboard the idea, the subject of mobility and screen size often seem to come up. Clearly, we can see the advantageous of having mobile devices (e.g. smartphones and tablets) as a touchscreen interface. In many cases, a mouse and keyboard will not only be to hard to be used on the go, but also the screen size is often too small. But this expands beyond smartphones and tablets to wearable electronics that take input such as watches. But let’s even venture outside the idea of mobile devices. For example, if we consider “touch tables” we can see why it can be more beneficial compared to an indirect interaction. The larger screen size also combats the disadvantage of accuracy from touchscreens. Multi-touch will also lead to a realm of possibilities. For example, we can imagine how much interactive games could be (e.g. Fruit Ninja on our large screen with multiple players). Also, “gorilla arm” won’t be much of an issue since the screen is at waist level. As mentioned in the book, there is sometime an issue with parallax with touch interfaces (the sensed input position and what seems apparent to the viewer due to the viewing angle). While this may be an issue for the interface I am describing, adjusting the height of the table appropriately should limit this effect. Lastly, another advantage of having a touchscreen interface is that there is no homing time, that is there is no need to move from the keyboard to the mouse and back.


Maya Rosecrance - 2/24/2014 16:28:59

For direct touch vs a stylus a stylus has much more precision, able to draw finer lines and hit a smaller target with better accuracy however direct touch supports multiple contact points and for actions such as zooming or panning, direct touch may be preferred. In relation to text entry however, direct touch is the weakest of the three because the characters a user draws will be much more imprecise than if done with a stylus and since there are already so many problems with handwriting recognition, it will be less accurate. Voice recognition however, has improved at a very rapid pace and is currently fairly accurate as demonstrated by Siri. Voice input is also a lot quicker than handwriting and many more words per minute can be transcribed.

When reading documents or editing photo’s a touchscreen interface may be preferred to a mouse and keyboard interface. The allowance for multiple touch points allows for panning, page flipping and zooming actions that more closely mirror their real world action counterparts. Rather than interact with the interface with specific tools that the system gives them, they can merely do actions they would normally do if they had an actual physical object to work with.


Jeffrey - 2/24/2014 16:33:17

For text entry there are shortcomings and strengths for several direct input schemes. Voice allows a user to rapidly progress through a dictation without having to worry about anything other then speaking and because microphones are built into many devices it is hard to forget the input device. However background noise can cause problems. Stylus's and direct touch have varying degrees of precision and hand blockage. The main difference is precision of a stylus weighed against its small size and potential lose-ability.

I think software development will be keyboard based for the foreseeable future. It is a task that requires precise syntax that is best assured by a keyboard. Mice may be replaceable by direct touch, but I believe for text entry there will be keyboards of some kind. Particularly when syntax is important.


Justin Chan - 2/24/2014 16:36:01

I’ll first discuss the direct touch and stylus style of inputs. Both are different sides of the coin of something called mechanical intermediaries – the former doesn’t have it, the latter does. With direct touch, it comes in handy when we need instant reaction. With direct touch, we always have our fingers – when we need to respond, we just put our finger to the screen and voila, problem solved. In the article, this phenomenon is known as cutting down on acquisition time. With the pen, we are using a mechanical intermediary, which may come in handy when we need precision. With a pen, we hold it using a tripod grip and the pen itself has a small tip – if we’re trying to draw precise figures on the screen, the pen may be the better choice. As the article notes, different situations call for different inputs – there really isn’t a “go-to” input style that will solve all of our problems.

With voice, the article notes that it may be easy for simple inputs, but when grammar complexity increases and more “informal” vocabulary arises, it may run into some problems. After all, even most humans have trouble with complex grammar – hard to expect our tablets/phones to deliver if we can’t even do it ourselves. Additionally, given the liberty our generation takes with language, it’s very difficult for tablets to understand all the slang we use today. “Yo homie you tryna kick it tonight” is a bit harder for a tablet to understand than “Hi friend, I was wondering about your availability to spend time with me tonight,” but let’s be honest, nobody says the latter. Additionally, voice input is not very useful when we are talking about spatial locations. If I were to paint something on my phone, using voice would really be a big pain.

A touchscreen interface may be preferred to a mouse/keyboard combination when we are trying to keep it simple. With phones and tablets, it’s pretty bulky to require a mouse and keyboard – it is better if we just keep everything on the screen. To require a mouse and keyboard would defeat the whole purpose of the portability of these devices. Obviously we won’t need much precision/speed with phones and tablets because we will never really need to do “intensive” work on these devices. When writing an essay, I’ll use my laptop. When play Angry Birds, I can live with a touchscreen interface.


Cory McDowell - 2/24/2014 16:40:15

Direct touch can be a quick method of text entry when a keyboard is present. However, direct touch makes it difficult to do any freehand writing of text, because people are not used to writing with their fingers on a small surface such as a phone or tablet.

Voice input for text can be much faster than typing, and people can sound more authentic since they are actually speaking the words that are typed. However, the disadvantage comes with voice recognition software. Often times your voice will not be heard correctly, and it is also very difficult to edit any spoken text with voice.

Styli can be very useful for writing text. Users are using a familiar writing method, as a stylus on a tablet feels a lot like writing with a pen on paper. However, writing on a stylus can force the user to write very large, larger than he or she would on pen and paper.

One example of an advantage a touchscreen has to a mouse and keyboard is that it allows for more intuitive movement. For example, pinch-to-zoom technology allows users to spread apart their fingers, which essentially spreads the pixels apart, on the screen. Here, the assumed action is the action that actually takes place.


Andrew Chen - 2/24/2014 16:43:14

Direct touch: Pros: For direct touch text input, the user needs no extra hardware or gadgets to input text. This is important, because the user can never lose the capability of text input, assuming they do not lose their fingers. In addition, the finger is an appendage, directly connected to our hands, and thus we can sense the feedback through the nerve sensors in our bodies. Although this feedback may not improve efficiency, it does make a difference when it comes to user experience. Also, the finger has defined degrees of freedom, and as such, the user is able to not only write, but also to draw free forms. Cons: Because the tips of our fingers have considerable surface area, direct touch can be imprecise. Other issues with precision include parallax error, and so perhaps the user may not be able to write words or draw diagrams as accurately as they may with a pencil. In addition, people write much slower than they type, and therefore if the user’s task is to create an essay or lengthy piece of text, then fingers may not be the most efficient choice.

Stylus: Pros: Since most users have been trained in how to use a pencil since they were toddlers, using a stylus comes as a very intuitive task in this sense (intuition based on previous experience). In addition, the stylus has an edge over the finger in terms of precision, as its tip is much smaller in surface area. It also provides the same degrees of freedom as the finger, and thus is a useful tool when it comes to writing and drawing. Cons: Styli are extra pieces of hardware, and thus the user may lose them. In addition, the designer must find somewhere to place the stylus such that it does not diminish from the aesthetic and practical value of the device, and does not take away from the overall user experience. Also, even though the stylus is considered much more precise than the finger, it still has some imprecisions. Furthermore, just like direct touch, if the task is to produce a lengthy text document, then physical writing of any form is inefficient compared to typing.

Voice: Pros: In some cases, when a hand is preoccupied, voice input may be a welcome solution. In addition, if the user is disabled (e.g. blind, missing hand or fingers), it is a viable solution to use voice input to input text into the device. Cons: Voice input can often be noisy, and must be cleaned up before analysis. In addition, even though people may speak quicker than they write or type, there is invariably a delay that must occur while the device processes the signals into text. This delay may well detract from the user experience.

An example of when a touchscreen interface may be preferred to a mouse/keyboard combination is when a student, for example, is taking notes in class. The mapping between using the hand or stylus to do touch input onto a virtual document and taking notes with a pencil and paper is naturally direct and easy to understand. Thus, the user is able to adjust easily between the two mediums, and is more pleased with the experience.


Chris Schechter - 2/24/2014 16:43:18

For text entry, voice can either be a very convenient tool or very inconvenient. It's arguably the most "natural" way of conveying language, since spoken word is the primary means of communication, and is a quick way to input a lot of text. However, the device receiving voice input is not a perfect listener, which makes it difficult to input more than small snippets of text at a time. It can mishear words, depending on the quality of the software; it might require extra effort to transcribe things like quotes and commas (like Dragon dictation); and it is often a slightly laggy process to convert the speech to text, especially since the majority of solutions are cloud-based.

Direct touch is, to me, the most unnatural of the three for text entry. If it's used with a keyboard rendered on-screen, it's just subpar compared to a physical keyboard since it lacks physical feedback as to which keys the user is pressing. Writing directly on screen with a finger is unnatural because there is no real world analog to this action, so it's hard for the user to build a conceptual model of it.

Stylus is often a useful method of text entry. Since it resembles writing with a pen on paper so closely, it is easy to learn and use for most people. This lends itself to writing a lot of text quickly and efficiently. Its main drawbacks are the fidelity of the digitizer, which could mess up the reading of the written text, as well as the lack of actual paper--it introduces the need to, for example, scroll the page rather than grabbing a new sheet, which is less intuitive while using a stylus and tablet.

A touchscreen interface might be preferred over a mouse/keyboard combination for applications that require movement of the screen. For example, reading e-books or online articles is easier with a touchscreen because one may use gestures like swiping and pinching to navigate the text.


Justin MacMillin - 2/24/2014 16:50:47

Voice commands tend to be perfect for certain types of interfaces, but certainly not all types. Voice input can be difficult to implement with perfect accuracy. It is difficult to account for people with different accents, pitches, tones, and language barriers, etc. In addition to this, it is near impossible to program for every voice command case which limits the user’s ability to interact with the application. On the positive side of things, there is a lot less interacting the user has to go through when using voice commands. For example, asking Siri to call a contact in my iPhone takes only a few seconds while if I did it myself I would have to find my contact application, find the desired contact, click on it, and finally click on their number to call. Pen input is similar to direct touch but has its advantages and disadvantages over it. For example, a pen is much more accurate on average than a direct touch screen (when you account for people having larger fingers than average fingers for both touching small items or making gestures). A pen is also accurate in the way that the phone is only looking for the tip of the pen, nothing else touching the screen does anything. However, a touch interface can allow the user a bit more freedom to use the app as they please. A touch interface allows for multi-touch gestures such as pinching to zoom or simply touching the screen with two fingers. A disadvantage to touching the screen is that more than likely the user blocks a part of the screen when they touch it. A pen on the other hand, would block much less than a finger or part of the hand. With direct touch there is no intermediary for communicating with the interface (as with the pen), the user interacts directly with the interface.


With any map application, I would prefer a touchscreen interface over a mouse/keyboard combination. I will use Google Maps for the iPhone for this specific example. While using the map itself, the user is able to drag around the map (just as a mouse would) but also use multi-touch gestures to interact with the system. With two fingers, the user can pinch zoom in and out directly on the map. With more precision and while moving your fingers at different speeds on the map, the user can zoom in and out on certain areas on the screen (for example if the user wanted to zoom in on something on the top right of their screen). In addition, the user can move two fingers in a circular motion to rotate the orientation of the screen (such as for the top of the screen to face south). There is no way a mouse can perform this action easily and have it make sense naturally for the user. With a mouse/keyboard combination, the user would likely have to right click on the page to get into a page orientation setting and move from there to change the orientation. This is not efficient and not as fluid for the action itself. Furthermore, moving two fingers up or down changes the perspective of the screen. The user can look straight down at the map (birds eye view) or more at an angle, which opens up the idea to look at a map with a 3D perspective. Again, this action would not be as natural with a mouse/keyboard combination. While a mouse/keyboard combination would work for a map application, the most efficient way to give the user the most control over the interface is to implement a touchscreen interface.


Alexander Chen - 2/24/2014 16:56:53

As we begin the chapter, we identify that every interface has its strengths and weaknesses. After further deliberation, it is clear that the physical context of the user, such as in a train or at work, coupled with the user's goals, dictate whether the relationship between the interface and input options is beneficial or detrimental.

For example, some people may believe that voice input is a very "natural" method of interaction. After all, we have been doing so since we have been born. Yet, they don't take the context of the application into mind. Perhaps voice entry shrinks the semantic distance of the gulf of execution is shortened. Assuming voice recognition is accurate, we could say that an advantage to text input is the quick and familiar way to input data. On the other hand, if the user is entering commands into a shell, voice recognition would have a difficult time guessing which command the user wants. The user might even have to spell out the command, which would slow down his/her workflow. Other scenarios, such as construction workers on duty might work poorly with voice entry, should the background noise muffle the user's voice.

Let's consider direct touch-an interface where the user lifts a convenient appendage and moves it to come into contact with a touch-screen. Direct touch is heralded by many people as the most "intuitive" interface. This might be true in many cases. For example, the user has no peripherals to lose, such as a mouse or stylus. There is low acquisition time and to intermediary. So, once an user has decided to give the system some input, the only step is to lift a finger (arm?) and touch the screen. They don't need to grab a stylus, unsheathe it, position it comfortably between their fingers, and tap the tip of the stylus to the screen. But this comes with tradeoffs. Let us consider the smallest human input surface, the finger pad. usually, this is around 10-18mm^2, as Hinckley states. This results in a loss of accuracy, due to the occlusion from the finger and low precision of the fingertip. Users in severe weather conditions, such as the tundra region, might find that direct input on capacitative screens is not possible while wearing normal gloves. Moreover, a direct touch interface has to specify special ways to show special menus, because users are only used to the tap/drag functionality. Special functions, such as highlighting lines of text or copy and paste will require special gestures.These gestures must be introduced to users explicitly. This might be more time consuming than a familiar "right click" with a mouse.

Direct touch text input will likely incur the use of a virtual keyboard, which might violate Fitts' Law, due to spatial constraints. Other methods, such as Swype TM, will encourage users to drag their fingers across the keyboard instead of tapping each letter. This only works for words already in the Swype Keyboard's dictionary.

Lastly, lets take a look at the stylus input of text. Handwriting is relatively familiar for most of literate users. Thus picking up a stylus creates a metaphor for picking up any ordinary writing utensil. Perhaps the stylus could have a tip and an eraser end to extend the metaphor even further. Assuming the handwriting recognition works wells, the stylus might offer a easy to understand input method for those who have not yet mastered the keyboard. The physical location of the user matters- stylus input of text on a rocking train carriage might produce input different than what the user intended. People on the go might find that the storage and retrieval of the stylus device is too time consuming.

Touchscreen interfaces can considered superior to a mouse/keyboard combination when multiple users will be interacting with the system at once. Each user can place their finger on their own cursor, such as during a air hockey game on a tablet device. Furthermore, during gaming, sometimes a touchscreen interface can create a more connected feeling for an user interacting with an application. Additionally, there are times when bringing a mouse and keyboard simply isn't practical. Mobile users taking a bus don't have the liberty of pulling out a keyboard and mouse to interact with their device. There is a spatial constraint between a hardware mouse/keyboard and the size of the device. A laptop, while equipped with a full mechanical keyboard, is probably more unwieldy during a bus ride, than a tablet or smartphone which can be held in the user's hands. The size of the device largely determines whether the user will be comfortable, both emotionally and physically, to take out their device while on the go. Thus a mobile user might prefer to have a touchscreen interface with a smaller, slightly less accurate virtual keyboard, than a full sized, clumsy keyboard.


Peter Wysinski - 2/24/2014 16:58:00

Direct touch and the use of a stylus for text entry vary greatly as a method for text entry. Direct touch in the sense of using a two-thumb mechanical keyboard can approach rates of up to 60 wpm since as one thumb presses a character the other thumb can already be looking for the next one — this far superior to the 15 wpm one can achieve using traditional pen and paper. While touch keyboards are faster than a stylus, what they fail to offer is the natural recognition that is inherently present when using a pen: “a pen is a poor replacement for a keyboard; but, of course, a keyboard is an equally poor replacement for a pen. The specter of recognition arises as soon as one contemplates marking a virtual sheet of paper, but it is important to keep in mind that ink has significant value as a natural data type without recognition.” Likewise while keyboard-mouse text entry can be up to two times faster than voice input, “Computers can augment human-human communication across both time and space by allowing users to record, edit, replay, or transmit digitized speech and sounds.” A mouse/keyboard input paradigm will always be far superior for pure text entry, however a touchscreen interface is preferred for precision pointing and selecting areas quickly and with precision.


Anthony Sutardja - 2/24/2014 16:58:35

The strengths of voice input is that it enables the user to perform text-based tasks at a more convenient manner (given that the computer can properly parse the speech). Voice input is not blocked by extra stimuli like looking at the key board or clicking letters on a screen. That being said, voice input has major shortcomings in that it is really only useful for text input. We are not familiar with it as a source of multi-dimensional positional input (1D, 2D, 3D tracking). Rather, voice is purely lingual and requires higher level processing that is less intuitive to perform actions that don't involve text.

Direct touch's primary strength is it's minimal distance in getting it to function. One needs to simply place his or her finger on the screen to begin interacting with the device. There is no extra equipment needed to perform certain actions. Furthermore, direct touch offer multiple contact regions. However, there are also many shortcomings with direct touch. In the reading, the authors provide an example in which it is not clear what the user should do with his/her fingers to perform the desired action with direct touch. This example involved changing the color of a square. Another shortcoming is that direct touch relies directly on visual stimuli. Sometimes, the screen and the touching surface have a parallax effect which makes the screen touches seem inaccurate.

Stylus's offer extreme precision in it's ability for 2D tracking. It is great for fine grained tasks. However, there are also many shortcomings. There is a lengthy acquisition time before you can start using the stylus. Next, a stylus only provides the user with 1 contact point to work with. On a similar note, it is difficult for the system to reject the palm which may trigger accidental inputs.

I believe free-form drawing is a great example of when a touchscreen interface (direct touch or stylus) is preferred over a mouse/keyboard combination. Since most of the feedback that is required takes place under the point of contact, it makes sense to be able to see where you are drawing.


Hao-Wei Lin - 2/24/2014 17:01:33

Strength of stylus for text entry: Stylus affords potential button functionality, and eraser head, etc. It also affords pinpointing an accurate position on a screen, resulting in better looking text when writing. For people who are familiar with traditional pen, stylus is more “natural” in a sense that it is clear to these users how to interact with it. Stylus also affords a support of the user’s hand when the users use it like a regular pen.

Shortcoming of stylus: Being a mechanical intermediary, stylus requires acquisition time (e.g. taking it out from a backpack). Also, because that it is a mechanical intermediary, there is a possibility that the user would lose it. Also, during the task of text entry, it’s easy to break the tip of the pen.

Strength of direct touch for text entry: No mechanical intermediary is required for direct touch input; only fingers are needed. If pressure is considered in the process of interactions (i.e. more pressure meaning thicker stroke), the users can pair up the sensation of his/her fingers to the out come of the stroke directly

Shortcoming of direct touch for text entry: One shortcoming is the impreciseness of direct touch input— it is hard to know where the stroke is going to be exactly because the finger of a human is wide compared to a tip point of a pen. As Hinckley mentioned, a lot of direct touch input methods might not be clear at times (e.g. how to duplicate an object on a screen).

Strength of voice for text entry: Minimal acquisition time— sound travels very fast and all that is required is for the user to speak up (faster than moving fingers towards the phone). No mechanical intermediary is required, and most people won’t lose their voice.

Shortcoming of voice for text entry: One limitation of voice text entry is that often time the surrounding environment is very noisy and it often takes more time than it should for the user to achieve the desired text entry.


An example where touchscreen interface is preferred over mouse/keyboard is when, for instance, when the user is a frequent commuter who commutes through a crowded Bart train. On a crowded Bart train there is often little space for movement and using a keyboard can be either awkward or impossible (i.e. if you are standing), and it is the same for using a mouse. In such situation, touchscreen is a better option because the user is directly interacting with the surface of the screen. One can simply use one hand to hold on to the device and the other one to do the interaction.


Meghana Seshadri - 2/24/2014 17:01:57

(1) Throughout the Hinckley chapter, there are several strengths and shortcomings of voice, direct touch, and stylus for text entry.

Speech recognition is commonly incorporated into mobile devices by using the device’s microphone to pick up ambient speech. With this comes the ability to optimize a user’s interactions with mobile devices as well as provide a communicative relationship between the user and device and allow the user to voice activate specific actions on the device. However, speech recognition has its shortcomings. Only a limited amount of vocabulary can be implemented, and the more the vocabulary and complexity of grammar increases, the higher the error ratings become. Furthermore, speech recognition is heavily dependent on the quality of the mobile device’s microphone. Another shortcoming includes the fact that by using speech, a user’s actions then become non-private in public situations.

Another mode of input is direct touch. Unlike a stylus pen, direct touch is only dependent on the user’s fingers, which they will never lose or misplace because a user always has their fingers with them. Because of this, users can start interacting with their mobile device immediately. No additional time is spent in gripping the pen or using a mouse. It is impertinent to make the human-computer interaction as similar to a user’s natural environment as possible. Hence, using a user’s sense of touch accomplishes this. While direct touch has its advantages, it also has its shortcomings. These include the fact that direct touch lacks a way to right-click, which then leads to having to find different methods of implementing those functions. A common way of doing this is the touch-and-hold method. The problem with this method, however, the time-out needs to be as short as possible for rapid activation, but it also needs to be as long as possible to avoid any inadvertent activation. Another shortcoming direct touch has is that while a mouse has 2 states it operates it, direct touch has different 2 states that it operates in. While direct touch has one motion-sensing state that is similar to a mouse, it doesn’t have a second one. Because of this, functionalities such as clicking and dragging something across a screen cannot be done with just direct touch.

Styluses or pens take care the shortcomings of direct touch screens because many pens have a third state where the screen can sense whether it is on or off the screen. Furthermore, a pen is a familiar tool to users, which will facilitate is tasks such as handwriting, sketching, and drawing. Even with these features, however, a pen has its shortcomings. Similar to direct touch, it lacks a button for right-click, hence also requires a touch-and-hold method or other methods to supply right-click functionalities. Furthermore, additional time is spent gripping the pen or taking it out of its holding spot or case. Hence, this interferes with the realistic driven interaction between the user and the mobile device.

(2) An example where touchscreen interfaces may be preferred to a mouse/keyboard combination is storyboard artists, interior designers, visual effects artists, graphic designers, and other such digital artists whose projects and assignments require for them to create digital pieces. Another key example with this similar context are parents or teachers of young children who require a platform where the children can draw, paint, and color to their whimsy without the mess of crayons, markers, and paints on their hands. Both of these types of users would find a touchscreen interface much more useful than a mouse/keyboard combination as a touchscreen interface allows for a much better user interaction for more artistic tasks like these.


Haley Rowland - 2/24/2014 17:04:27

Neither voice and direct touch involve a mechanical intermediary, so they don’t have any acquisition time and the user always has the needed input since there is no stylus to lose. As a mechanical intermediary, a stylus does have these downfalls. Accuracy of voice entry could be low depending on the accent and language of the text entry, but it allows the user to directly and easily speak the text they wish to enter. Additionally, because the user does not need to touch the screen, the screen is not obscured when performing text entry. A stylus is familiar to the user since the user is used to writing with pen and paper, but restricts the user to only using their preferred hand and may obscure the screen. The precision of the stylus is greater than that of direct touch, so direct touch may be more error prone for text entry.

A touchscreen interface would be preferred to a mouse/keyboard combination if I wanted to resize or rotate a photo. Using pinch-to-zoom or two fingers to rotate a photo feels intuitive and closely matches my mental model of physically manipulating a photo by touching it. When using a mouse and keyboard, a user must drag one corner of the photo to resize it, while rotating may require selecting an option from a menu.


Seyedshahin Ashrafzadeh - 2/24/2014 17:06:09

1) According to the article, There is a single well defined point of contact for a stylus. For touch, we can have 1 to 10 points of contact. However, for voice, there is no contact point. There is no occlusion for voice, but there is small occlusion for stylus, and moderate for touch. The precision of stylus is high, with direct touch it is moderate. Also, the precision of voice is high as long as the speech recognition is good. There might be some false input for the stylus as well as with the direct touch because of the limitations with palm rejection. We do not have the same issue in voice but based on the speech recognition software we might have some false inputs. The stylus takes time to be unsheathed and we might forget it. But we do not have the same problem with direct touch and voice. With the pen we can include other options like eraser but with direct touch and voice we have to specify what we want. One important note is that with stylus and direct touch, we would have our own handwriting but with voice the device would do the text entry in a specific format. We have high control with a stylus on our text entry (we can sketch, draw, underline, ...) and we have a moderate control with direct touch. But with voice, we have a limited control to do the above. 2) One of the examples that touchscreen interface is preferred than mouse/keyboard combination is painting. In painting the user definitely needs to have very high control. Painters have had many experiences with drawing with pen and pencil, but they have not had experiences with mouse and keyboard. Therefore, they can have much more control with a touchscreen with a pen than with mouse/keyboard. Unlike mouse/keyboard, touchscreens/pens are direct input devices which painters are more familiar with than mouse/keyboard because they have used canvases and brushes. Pens(styluses) afford being hold like brushes and touchscreens afford being painted on like canvases. On the other hand, mouses require a 2D movement for moving the cursor and a 1D movement to click with fingers. This is not what painters do to paint. To start painting with a mouse/keyboard, there would be a huge overhead to learn the skills. Another point is that touchscreens are better to use when the painters are on the go and have limited space for a mouse.


Tristan Jones - 2/24/2014 17:06:48

Each of the user interaction modes of voice, direct touch, stylus, and computer mice/keyboards all have their benefits and tradeoffs for text entry. Voice input doesn't require the user to be looking a the screen so they can do something else while it's happening. The issue is that voice recognition isn't very good, and when mistakes happen, it's really hard to fix. I remember from like 5 years ago when microsoft had this exact video, click the link to watch this hilarity. (it starts about 25 sec in)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AgF8-nTwu00

Ok, back to writing. Ummm direct touch typing has its issues where a user has no feedback on the keys being pressed. When you press your keys down on a screen there's no tactile feedback you pushed a button and it makes it difficult to know 1) if you actually hit a key and 2) which key did you hit. However, direct touch for text input is great because you can have a keyboard pretty much anywhere on the screen for the user to use. You can also remap the buttons for what the user is doing at any time (i.e. switch to a numpad for phones, add an @ button on the bottom when the user is filling out an email field.

For stylus handwriting, it's pretty accurate except data entry on a table becomes especially reliant on a stylus, which, as a small object, can get lost and be a pain to replace. However, it's perfect for professional graphic design. Styluses and touchpads also have preestablished signifiers, which means that a user can pick up what's going on *extremely* easily with a stylus. However, styluses can't do everything their real counterpart can (i.e. how do I erase my scribbles) so this analogy does not go super far itself.


Ok part 2. A person might prefer a touchscreen to a mouse/keyboard combination if there isn't any space for either of them! let's say i'm on the go and don't want to lug a keyboard and mouse around. Mice take space to move around and touchpads are kind of uncomfortable. Keyboards take up a lot of desk space/ laptop space too. Therefore, removing both of them and combining everything into the screen is a great idea for a space/clutter issue. If we look at all those futuristic designs of "laptops from the future" which are just a "glass slab" which magically contains both a battery, touchpad, and screen. I'm not sure what kind of magic they run on but they look cool so I'm all for them.


Bryan Sieber - 2/24/2014 17:06:53

One of the hardest problems for a designer is choosing the appropriate input technologies for what they are creating. Every different type of input has its unique strengths and shortcomings. Hinckley and Wigdor quote their colleague Bill Buxton: “Everything, including touch, is best for something and worse for something else.” This is reiterated throughout the whole chapter as Hinckley elaborates more on the various technologies. Certain modalities require specific intermediary, such as styluses/pens, whereas others may not require any intermediaries. This can be generalized as follows: the exact property offered by a modality for one task can be an advantage for one task, and can extremely crippling in a different one. The designer must be able to weigh the tradeoffs and combine the many unique input styles to create the best UX for the users. It is never a question of which input is better, but more of how can multiple input types be used to complement each other gaining the advantages of both and minimalizing the disadvantages. “[E]xcellence in user interface design requires tailoring the interface to the input method.” An important consideration whenever creating an application is to determine the required “cost” to invoke a command. The cost is the perceptive, cognitive, and motor functions summed to complete the task at hand. Although a cursor is common with indirect inputs, with direct inputs the cursor is replaced by the user’s finger or a mechanical intermediary.

Styluses are a unique form of input entry. They are tools which we are accustomed to using tasks such as: handwriting, sketching, and drawing. The tip of the stylus, allows for precise control. Since a user might not always have the stylus between their fingers at the ready, there is an acquisition time required before a user can use this input style. When a stylus is required, the user will eventually lose it, it isn’t a matter of “if” but “when.” Since the stylus interacts with the screen at a single point, there is minimal occlusion. If the device that the stylus interacts with also takes touch input, there is the possibility that a user’s palm may interfere with the stylus’s input. There is a high possibility that this type of input may lack a right-click button. While typing individuals have an average of 60 WPM, whereas by handwriting the average is 15 WPM, so why are pens and pencils still in use? The main reason is that the pen and pencil offer an expressive mix of writing, sketches, and diagrams; all of which allow freedom of movement with idea and design generation. One current use for stylus is handwriting and character recognition. Natural hand-writing recognition is still extremely difficult and prone to having errors. When the handwriting is lengthy, it is near impossible to convert it all.

Touch is a direct input style. With touch there is no mechanical intermediary to lose, the user will always have their fingers with them. Acquisition time is non-existent for this form of input, which is critical to its success with mobile interaction. Occlusion is a challenge with this input style. Users with a fat finger may miss out on some of the feedback interactions that occur on screen, this can also happen is a user’s palm gets in the way of the screen. How to right click with a touch screen? This is an issue designers had struggled with (and still do); the common way that it is implemented is through a hold down gesture (this introduces an unavoidable delay). When attempting to input text with touch there is the possibility that the user may not notice where the characters they are typing are being placed. Another drawback of the touch screen text input is that the keyboard GUI that pops up takes up the majority of the screen, reducing space for the actual document/text itself.

Voice is another input style that has many advantages and disadvantages. Voice and sound can be augmented in many ways; users can record, edit, replay, or transmit the digitized file. As complexity and vocabulary increase, the error rate for the computer’s recognition is increased. Also, if there is a noisy signal the audio may not be able to recognize properly causing many errors with the process. Voice recognition is about half as fast as keyboard-mouse text entry. Unfortunately, when using speech it removes the idea of privacy, anyone can hear your conversation. Using voice as a recognition enables hands-free text entry, but it comes with its drawbacks. For me personally, when playing Hearthstone I find the game to be more enjoyable when using a touchscreen. When using my mouse it feels like I need to move my hand way more often, incurring more time and effort (with Fitts’ Law). The game is an online card game. When using touch it allows me to play just as if it was an actual card game. The use of mouse and keyboard is unnecessary, the majority of the game is click, or click and drag. Right clicking is rare, and as such the right click stigma with touch is unnecessary. It feels more natural to play the game with touch than with mouse for me.


Jimmy Bao - 2/24/2014 17:08:27

The strengths of using direct touch include having multiple contact regions, being able to use the fingers on either right or left hand, having several elementary inputs (tap, hold, drag, pinch), and having a low acquisition time and zero activation force). The shortcomings of using direct touch include but are not limited to what they described as the "Midas Touch Problem" and moderate precision.

The strengths of using a stylus pen for text entry are high precision, elementary inputs, and buttons that activate certain features. The shortcomings include a high acquisition time, one point of contact at a time, and false inputs triggered by the palm.

The main strength of using voice for text entry is being able to enter text via a hands-free way. The main shortcoming is using voice for text entry is only as good as the voice recognition software. If the software is bad, the text you want to enter may not be the same that the software parses.

A touchscreen interface may be preferred to a mouse/keyboard combination when the user is on the go. It is a lot more convenient for the user to just bring whatever device (touch supported) with them rather than the device, a keyboard, and a mouse.


Steven Wu - 2/24/2014 17:09:23

Voice is simple to start and interact with immediately. Say when a user has his hands oily and doesn't want to smear the screen, he can minimize this with voice control. Speech is one of the fastest among the three inputs. However there are limitations with natural language processing as that is not necessarily perfect yet. Accents from different regions of the world might depend on the accuracy of the device.

Handwriting and annotations become easier with direct touch. There isn't a need for extra peripherals and becomes easier to implement into personal mobile devices like smartphones. Selecting an icon or dragging an image is relativity easy to learn. But direct touch isn't always perfect. The precision is low when a user tries to select something that takes precision selection a screen.

Styluses help result this issue of precision and help emulate the familiarity that artists and writers have used from drawing with a physical brush or using a pencil. The precision is higher than finger gestures since there is only one contact point between the tip of the stylus and the screen. But then again, this may not always be the optimal solution when it comes to multitouch activities on the screen. The user has to spend extra time pulling out the stylus from the pocket it was tucked away in. It is not immediate like voice. And when it comes to selecting text from an interactive keyboard, it is going to take linear time since the screen will ideally take one stylus input one after another.


An example that comes to mind when a touchscreen interface is a better alternative to a traditional desktop input of a mouse and keyboard would be when video games on a personal mobile device that involves multitouch. Or when it comes to digital note taking, which would allow the user to drag around digital papers around in a virtual workspace with more familiarity with the real life interactions of a desk. Ultimately the target users who come to mind for examples of preferred touchscreen interfaces are those who work within the creative industry. The stylus method is well suited for drawing tasks since it bridges the analogy of drawing with a pencil and paper better than a keyboard and a mouse.


Diana Lu - 2/24/2014 17:10:34

The strengths of voice are that using voice input allows you to have both hands occupied, so voice input is ideal for multitasking and using your phone while doing other things because it doesn't require that the viewer is focused on the phone screen. However, voice input can have issues in that it is prone to error ( the voice-to-text technology is still not quite at a level where it can reliably interpret speech without problems) and is dependent on the environment. If the user is somewhere with a lot of background noise, it can be difficult for the phone to accurately pick up vocal signals, and in the same realm, if the user is in a location where he should be quiet (ie: a museum) it can prevent him from being able to use voice as an interaction with the phone.

Direct touch is convenient for the user because there is no need for a mechanical intermediary (stylus or pen). As Hinckley mentions in his article, there is no way for a person to misplace his/her fingers. The advantages are that using direct touch is fairly innate to the user and people are fairly adept at using either hand to interact with the user interface. However, there are certain drawbacks to using direct touch. Hinckley talks about occlusion, where because typing with direct touch has the need for either a mechanical or on-screen keyboard, the keyboard will take up a fairly large part of the screen. Also, human fingers can be clumsy at times, where fingers can click errantly if the buttons are too small.

Styluses allow for finer precision because they have a narrow pointer that comes into contact with the screen. However, when typing with a stylus, you are limited even more than with direct touch (two thumbs) and have to type with essentially one finger. Compared to a mechanical keyboard or direct touch, this is far inferior. Also, a stylus is a mechanical intermediary, and as such, can be lost.

Touchscreen can be superior to a mouse and keyboard combination when it comes to things that are innate/better to the user, such as drawing. Drawing/sketching/calligraphy takes a fine touch, which can be much easier for a user when using a finger as opposed to using the intermediary of a mouse or keyboard.


Daphne Hsu - 2/24/2014 17:11:59

Voice is useful for when the user's hands are busy, and the user needs to input information to the app. Users can save sounds, transfer them, edit them, etc. The shortcoming of using voice is that sometimes the computer can't understand or process the user's voice to get the information the user wants to convey. Also, speech recognition may fail for more complex grammar or vocabulary, or if the microphone is not good enough and you are in a loud place. Direct touch is good for scrolling a menu, zooming in/ out, and selection. It is good for actions that mimic real world actions. The shortcomings of direct touch are that the screen may be too sensitive, the user's fingers may be too big and press the wrong buttons or hide too many parts of the screen, and the user having to have bare hands (what if it's cold?). A stylus is good for writing letters and drawing pictures more precisely than using your finger, and more closely resembles how you would use a pen for those activities. The shortcomings of using a stylus are that the user may lose the pen, the app has to be able to distinguish which "mode" the app is on if the user wants to switch between using a stylus or finger, and the app might take some time to recognize what characters the user is writing with the pen. An example of when a touchscreen interface may be preferred to a mouse/keyboard combination is a drawing application. Instead of using the mouse to shakily draw, users can instead use a finger or stylus on top of a touchscreen to fluidly draw lines and shapes. Instead of using a mouse to select brush size, line width and more, the user can just point and click on buttons to change things, which is faster than moving your mouse around.


Max Dougherty - 2/24/2014 17:19:44

The shortcomings of alternate inputs like voice, direct touch, and stylus entry is dependent on the ability of the computer to interpret purpose. This fundamentally draws a contrast between a human and a computer. Computers are built on a tradition of rigorously precise instructions and protocols, while humans use a large amount of semantic Unlike a standard keyboard interface, these modes of input must accept “fuzzy” input. A computer must therefore not only interpret an instruction, it must understand the semantic meaning behind the “natural” input provided. These human inputs are based not on experience with a system, but on a presumed expectation of effect. Take first voice commands as input. A natural and life long developed method of communication, speech is usually the quickest way for a user to communicate information. Therefore, text production with speech seems like a natural option allowing the user to input information quickly. However, an unfortunate shortcoming of speech input is the requirement for semantic understanding for interpretation. Speech recognition software requires a high flexibility in input as users will have varied speech patterns, accents, and cadences. Unfortunately, while ever more robust, speech recognition software today is still not adequate as an input format, requiring delays for error correction. Additionally, non-textual inputs like point and click operations are largely impossible with text as they require highly specific instructions that are much slower than traditional non-direct touch input. Direct Input conversely has a high degree of capacity for point and click operations as the user is able to use their hands to initiate a command without any intermediate interface. But when considering text input, a user must input data on a digital “simulated” keyboard. While relatively effective and widespread in the smartphone and tablet market, non-physical keyboards suffer from two major challenges. First, they require the user to look at the keyboard as there is no tactile feedback response, and second is occlusion, in which the finger covers the area the user points to, obscuring the user’s field of view. In more complex gesture and drawing operations, the ability to directly touch the screen provides a far more “natural” experience than the standard non-direct touch interface like the keyboard and mouse. Similar to the direct touch, stylus/handwriting input is an interface with which we are familiar as it mirrors the pen and paper system. For drawing and pointing, like direct input, the stylus (depending on the system used, e.g. capacitive) functions as an extension of the hand and can allow users to quickly and directly navigate a system. However, as many become practiced with the keyboard, it proves to be a faster input than any handwriting. Additionally, the requirement to process and translate handwritten text into type is processor intensive and still stuffers from occasional failures. So while “natural”, the benefits of typing are superior with regard to text input.


Allison Leong - 2/24/2014 17:21:02

Voice, direct touch, and stylus text entry each have their own strengths and weaknesses as ways of providing input to an application. Strengths for stylus text entry include familiarity with pens and the pen/paper format of recording text. Additionally, a stylus affords secondary controls such as a button/trigger (like an airbrush) or an eraser. The shortcomings of stylus-based text input include the intermediate step required to fetch the stylus every time the user wishes to input some text. Handwriting is also slow (measured at about 15 words per minute). It can also be difficult to distinguish between gestures meant to be translated into ink content versus gestures meant to command input, such as delete, move, or erase. Direct touch, too, has its own set of strengths and weaknesses. Strengths include speed when using bimanual input and the immediacy of having our fingers always readily available. Direct touch is also a private way to input text (as opposed to voice input). Shortcomings to direct touch include occlusion of other objects on the screen because the hand is in the way, and occlusion of visual feedback for the same reason. Lastly, voice input possesses its own set of strengths and weaknesses. Voice input works well when the input is short and allows the user to record text without necessarily having to look at the screen. The downsides to voice input is that software used to parse vocal input produces high error rates at nearly half the speed of keyboard mouse input, and the act of dictating to an interface is inherently non-private and invasive to the people around the user. A touchscreen interface may be preferable to a mouse/keyboard combination when the screen of the interface is small and can be traversed without a large motion of the arm. This allows the user to interact directly with the interface without too much physical exertion. A cash register is an example of an instance in which a touch interface could be preferable to a mouse keyboard combination. With a limited number of actions, and buttons spread out all over the screen, it is easier to press directly onto the buttons of the screen while handling groceries than having to juggle a mouse, keyboard, and screen separately.


Emon Motamedi - 2/24/2014 17:21:02

Direct input devices, such as direct touch or the stylus, have a number of shortcomings as outlined in the Hinckley chapter. To begin, they do not have buttons to transition from one state of the application to another. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, they fall victim to occlusion, which occurs when the stylus or the user's finger blocks the vision of the user to the action area on the screen. The blockade can prevent the user from seeing necessary aspects of the interface. Similarly, both leave the door open to accidental touches of the screen. Additionally, when the interface is large, direct touch or a stylus may prove difficult since it would take a lot of body movement to cover a large area. Finally, as proven through the experiment cited in the Hinckley chapter, there are no intuitive and inherent gestures that users arrive at naturally past a select few multi-touch actions.

In comparing touch and stylus, the chapter finds that touch has strength in that it provides more contact regions, more hands to complete actions with, less acquisition time to learn. On the other hand, the stylus has its own strengths, such as a very well-defined point of contact which leads to high precision and low occlusion, yet it will take time to get used to the pen in between the fingers. The pen also sometimes comes with an eraser that gives it a type of button.

Voice also comes with a number of issues. While useful for basic tasks like making a cell phone call, voice often can fail when it comes to complex grammar and vocabulary, and when the audio signal is not strong enough for the microphone to pick up. Secondly, it is very difficult to use voice to make references to spatial locations, whereas this is made easier through pointing in other forms of interfaces. Voice also is slower than using a keyboard since humans speak slower than they are able to speak. Finally, speaking aloud in a public setting is not very private and can raise a number of privacy issues.

All this being said, voice also bring a number of strengths to the table. It allows users to access and manipulate their applications without touching them. While inputting text, the user does not have to worry about occlusion blocking the various options he is choosing from. Finally, voice can be an efficient means of human to human communication within an application that involves recording audio.

A touchscreen interface can be preferred to a mouse/keyboard combination in devices that are to be used on the go. While on the go, it is very difficult to utilize a mouse as space is oftentimes very limited. In these scenarios, having the ability to manipulate aspects on the screen directly is very preferred as it allows the user to accomplish a task with the sole use of either their hands or a stylus.


Chirag Mahapatra - 2/24/2014 17:22:35

Strengths and shortcomings of voice, direct touch and stylus for text entry: - Voice: The biggest advantage voice has is that it leaves one's hands free for performing other activities. This is especially useful while performing chores which keep the hands occupied, like cooking and driving. However, they are subject to the speech recognition power of the software. A poor speech recognition software will render voice input useless and may even have negative impact. E.g. a user while trying to send a mail may use words which sound similar other words which may be profane. If the software recognizes these words and sends it to the recipient, it may lead to bad consequences for the sender. Another challenge with voice is that it is not great while editing images with speech bubbles etc. It will be hard to place a speech bubble at the right place with voice.

- Direct touch: The key advantage that direct touch brings is the flexibility. One can use single touch, multi touch to interact with the interface. Also one does not need any external device. Also it is something which is intuitive and something we are familiar with. E.g. we are used to typing with qwerty keyboards and touch based qwerty keyboards are just the extension of the same. Finally, there is no voice recognition or handwriting recognition required for this. Hence, it tends to be the most accurate. The biggest challenge with touch based interfaces for text entry is that when the keys are small the user may inadvertently press multiple keys which may require him to re-enter information.

-Stylus: The biggest advantage with the stylus is it simulates the pen and pencil, something we are extremely familiar with. We can use the stylus to make drawings/graphics on a screen as we do it on paper. We can also use it for writing in the normal style as opposed to typing. The key challenge here is that for writing, it requires hand writing recognition software. This may be error prone if the user has a lousy handwriting. Finally, it is very easy to lose a stylus. This may make the entire device unusable if it has been built around interactions with the stylus.

Touchscreen interface over mouse/keyboard: A touchscreen interface is preferred when we need to draw or work with images. A mouse and keyboard are very un-intuitive and even difficult to work with for images. Also for performing actions like selection, a touch screen is better than selecting with a mouse. This is because the time taken to perform the action is much lesser and does not need a foreign device.


Sol Park - 2/24/2014 17:23:09

The strength of voice for text entry is that the user can interact immediately since it requires no intermediary device. User can just directly speak without touching the screen. Hence, it is also convenient and the fastest among direct touch, stylus and voice. However, it has its shortcomings. Often it is not accurate since it depends on the accuracy of the devices. Also, it is always have to be in quiet environment otherwise voice input will generate a lot of false input when there are background noises.

The strength of direct touch is that there is no intermediary device needed that can be lost. User can simply use their fingers to put inputs. However, it is not precise enough to select something small.

The strength of stylus is that it gives the user very precise control. However, since it requires mechanical intermediary, it takes additional step to type the input. Also it could be lost. Also, palm can accidentally touch the screen and generate false inputs.

Touchscreen interface is preferred when user is in mobile. It is very inconvenient to carry a mouse and a keyboard around. Also it is preferred when the space is limited. It only requires touchscreen.


Patrick Lin - 2/24/2014 17:23:48

For text entry, a stylus serves as a familiar mechanical intermediary because everyone learns to write with pens and pencils. The body acts as a lever for finer control and a tapered tip allows users to indicate small objects, both of which make the stylus especially suited for activities like drawing. Having a physical object also allows for secondary controls like buttons, and could include feature for erasing or copying/pasting. The main disadvantage is that a stylus must be stored and not lost, and has an acquisition time of retrieval and unsheathing to use. Writing on a surface that isn’t paper can also affect accuracy if the user is unfamiliar with it.

Direct touch offers the opposite; fingers can be used immediately because no mechanical intermediary is required and are much harder to lose. They allow for more complex gestures with multi-touch, though certain commands may not be intuitive to some users and must be learned. Direct touch is less precise than using a stylus because fingers are wider than pen tips and occlude more of the screen, and also have no levers to make use of. For text entry specifically, writing with fingers is generally not precise and may require the use of a simulated keyboard, which serves a similar functionality to a mechanical intermediary.

Voice commands are also direct, “natural” because people are familiar with speaking to communicate, and does not require objects that could be lost, but still requires an intermediate system that interprets and transcribes spoken words for text entry.

A touchscreen is preferable to a mouse/keyboard combination in cases where the latter are inconvenient to use, and when direct touch offers the flexibility required to navigate a particular interface. Mobile phones are a good example of this because their portability excludes the option of carrying a mouse/keyboard around and opens up the possibility of alternate modalities.


Robin Sylvan - 2/24/2014 17:25:27

The Hinckley chapter goes into the use of various types of user interfaces and talked about how certain types of interactions are “natural.” After actually delving into the interfaces though, it is clear that there are not truly “natural” human-computer interactions, and that the different modalities of input each have their own strengths and weaknesses in terms of usability. While a keyboard is what we view as the standard for typing, our modern day devices such as phones have no opportunity for such, so we must go to other types of input. One of the common methods is direct touch, with a virtual keyboard placed on the screen that the user can type into. Some strengths of this is it provides users with a familiar method of typing and allows for similar typing speeds. There are also many weaknesses – the keyboard is occluding the screen. If a user is on a small screen, their fingers might not have the accuracy for typing the specific characters in. On large screens, it may be difficult for the user to reach all of the keys easily. Another modality is voice. It seems natural for a user to be able to talk into their device. Modern cellphones enable you to press a key to “type” by speaking into them. A drawback is that its very reliant on voice recognition, and that may not work especially in a noisy area. Another issue is that it can be difficult to correct text purely using speech. Speech input also requires the user to start and stop it, adding extra steps into the typing process. Another form of text entry is writing on a device using a stylus. It seems natural that a user might write on a device, but users actually handwrite much slower than they type. Another problem is that like voice, it relies on conversion of the user input to turn it into digital data. Each of these methods have their advantages, but these advantages come with tradeoffs. One example application where a touchscreen interface may be more effective than a mouse/keyboard combination is that of our previous programming assignment. In drawing applications, it is difficult for a user to use a mouse in the way they would use a stylus. People practice art with pen and paper, and its natural for them to draw. Also, when drawing with a mouse after a user makes a stroke, they must move the mouse to the next place, and then make their next stroke. With a stylus on a touchscreen, they intuitively raise the pen and create their stroke. Also, if they are drawing directly onto a screen, the placement of the stylus can directly match where they are drawing on the item, mirroring commonplace pen and paper.


Andrew Lee - 2/24/2014 17:29:31

Text entry by voice: - Strengths: scenarios where hands are occupied, device does not necessarily need to be taken out - Shortcomings: may be unreliable in noisy environments, acronyms and specialized jargon may be difficult to parse

Text entry by direct touch: - Strengths: No ambiguity, may be fastest method, good for alphabet-based languages - Shortcomings: Haptic feedback is limited, requiring user to also look at screen

Text entry by stylus: - Strengths: leverage experience using a pen for handwriting, doesn't necessarily need to look at the surface, can interleave different languages in same sentence, good for logographic languages - Shortcomings: stylus can be lost, may be slower than typing

A touchscreen interface may be preferable to a mouse/keyboard in a GPS navigation scenario. This is a situation where the driver cannot afford to deal with an indirect input device, since effort and attention is wasted on finding the device, grasping it, and then redirecting attention back to the screen. Any superfluous steps translate to potentially dangerous situations.


Aman Sufi - 2/24/2014 17:31:20

1. Voice for text entry requires the least physical effort and is the most accessible method for communicating texts compared to writing or typing. It does not need any mechanical intermediary or even physical contact to convey communication to the device, so the user can interact with the device immediately and without. It is also the fastest method of conveying text for most people and the acquisition time is low as there is no need to write or type the information you want to convey. On the downside, there is less control over what exactly the result of a voice text entry command will be, resulting in low precision – with the case of typing, you know exactly what will appear on the screen, but with voice you cannot be sure that the text will be transcribed accurately. Performing actions such as backspacing and undoing actions are also more time consuming and cumbersome as one must awkwardly dictate the commands to perform them.

For direct touch, there is no mechanical intermediary, so no special tool is needed for input. It is also easy to cycle between keyboards and perform other actions easily using touch gestures. On the downside, there is low precision in input due to finger size, and mistakes are easily made due to accidental contact with the screen.

In regards to using a stylus for text entry, stylus entry is much more precise as the pen’s contact area with the screen is very small, and dedicated stylus buttons may help with common tasks such as deleting text. On the other hand, styli are mechanical intermediaries so they pose a longer acquisition time and can become misplaced. There is the familiar analog to a pencil, but that means that traditional tasks performed through gestures become harder.

2. A touchscreen interface is definitely preferred to a mouse/keyboard combination in regards to drawing or sketching apps as a mouse is very cumbersome to use in sketching out a drawing, whereas touch interfaces, including stylus and finger painting, lends itself to the common analog of drawing directly with a tool or using the appendages.


Romi Phadte - 2/24/2014 18:30:51

The strength of touch for text entry is that text can be inputted quite quickly. Typing is a quick way to compose documents vs. handwriting the same document. However, the keyboard size is limited by screen dimensions which can limit speed and usability. The user is also forced to look at the screen to press the correct key, splitting attention between workspace and keyboard. Touch also can be aggravating due to accidental input by brushing at an unintended location. There is also a huge lack of tactile feed back like that of a physical keyboard. A graphical keyboard also occludes a huge portion of a device's screen, resulting in less space for the document. Also there can be fatigue because the user typically cannot rest their fingers in contact with the display and one must carefully keep other fingers pulled back so as to not accidentally touch keys.

Handwriting can achieve a max of 15 wpm, much slower than the keyboard. However, a stylus has significant value by offering an expressive mix of writing, sketches, and diagrams, and when used to annotate a document. Pen marks or highlights implicitly emphasize the important points in context. Freeform pen input can help help generate many design concepts vs rigid input mechanisms such as keyboard text entry. However, recognizing natural handwriting remains difficult and error prone and converting lengthy handwritten passages to error-free text remains a tedious process. Thus its best to avoid pen for text entry by recognition and instead should emphasize the stylus as a uniquely expressive data type.

In regards to voice, speech recognition works for limited vocabulary. But error rates increase as vocabulary and complexity of grammar grows. The experience is also not primarily good if users employ out of vocabulary words. Besides being slower and less private in public, speaking can interfere with the ability to compose text and remember words. For these reasons speech is important but will never completely supplant manual input devices. Speech also can be error prone. Humans can not talk to computers as they would another human. Computers must be able to sense and reason about people and their intentions: in any given dialog. Unfortunately this is beyond the technology's current limits.

An example when a touch screen interface is preferred to a mouse/keyboard is a game such as fruit ninja. The touch interface is quick and allows for a tighter visual feedback loop since your finger is on top of the images of fruit during game play. This allows for a better user experience for the gamer.