Marking interactions

Validation level: 5. CHI, UIST, CSCW and TOCHI paper publication

The term "marking interactions" to describe interactions where the pointing device leaves an "ink trail" on the display similar to writing with a pen.

Copy Bibtex Kurtenbach, G. and Buxton, W. Issues in Combining Marking and Direct Manipulation Techniques. In Proceedings of the 4th Annual ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology, pages 137-144, ACM, New York, NY, USA, UIST '91 , 1991.
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Storyboard of Functions

Creating Objects

Objects are created using a form of shorthand notation.
Three objects can be defined: a square, circle and triangle.
Shorthand symbols are used to define which type of object
is to be created, and where it is to be placed.
Object type is defined by the shape and direction of the
shorthand symbol. The new object is centered on the
starting point of the defining symbol

Combining Menus and Markings

The short-hand marks for adding objects self-revealing. If a user is unsure of what markings can be made, the user presses down on the stylus and waits for a short interval of time. When the system detects that no mark is being made it prompts the user with a subdivided circular menu or "pie menu" of the three objects, appearing directly under the cursor. The user may then select an object from the pie menu by keeping the stylus tip depressed and making a stroke through the desired sector or slice of the pie.

Copying an individual object.
There is no mechanism for copying individual objects. The rationale for this is that in this toy application, it is easier to create a new object than it is to copy an existing one.

Deleting an object.
Another shorthand symbol can be used to delete individual objects. This is done by drawing through the object with a single horizontal stroke. The direction of the stroke does not matter.

Deleting a Group of Objects.
A group of objects can be deleted by circling them, and extending the encircling line so that it terminates within the circle.

Moving a Group of Objects
The commonly used marking for "move" is used to move a group of objects. The objects to be moved are encircled, and the encircling line extended to the point to which the objects are to be moved.

Copying a group of objects
The command for copying groups of objects is similar to the move command. To copy, one adds a small "C" symbol to the end of the marking.

Dragging groups of objects
Moving a group of objects and then fine tuning their position by dragging. In a), the objects to be moved are circled and their destination pointed to. In b), the user waits with the stylus depressed and the objects "slide" to the approximate location. In c), the objects are dragged to an exact position by the user.

  • there is no notion of "current tool" thus avoiding the problem of switching modes. A user tells the system what to create by using short-hand symbols rather than by using a special creator tool.
  • the fact that no screen real-estate is consumed by "creator objects" and the creation command is combined with the placement command (drawing the symbol for the object also determines where it is placed). Object creation/layout is extremely efficient.
  • markings are not self-revealing