Schubert, Sören

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Does (Multi-)Touch Aid Users’ Spatial Memory and Navigation in ‘Panning’ and in ‘Zooming & Panning’ UIs?

2012, Jetter, Hans-Christian, Leifert, Svenja, Gerken, Jens, Schubert, Sören, Reiterer, Harald

Recent findings from Embodied Cognition reveal strong effects of arm and hand movement on spatial memory. This suggests that input devices may have a far greater influence on users’ cognition and users’ ability to master a system than we typically believe – especially for spatial panning or zooming & panning user interfaces. We conducted two experiments to observe whether multi-touch instead of mouse input improves users’ spatial memory and navigation performance for such UIs. We observed increased performances for panning UIs but not for zooming & panning UIs. We present our results, provide initial explanations and discuss opportunities and pitfalls for interaction designers.