Direct-touch tablets are quickly replacing traditional pen-and-paperÂ tools in many applications, but not in case of the designerâ€™s sketchbook.Â In this paper, we explore the tradeoffs inherent in replacingÂ such paper sketchbooks with digital tablets in terms of twoÂ major tasks: tracing and free-hand sketching. Given the importanceÂ of the pen for sketching, we also study the impact of usingÂ a blunt-and-soft-tipped capacitive stylus in tablet settings. We thusÂ conducted experiments to evaluate three sketch Â media: pen-paper,Â finger-tablet, and stylus-tablet based on the above tasks. We analyzedÂ the tracing data with respect to speed and accuracy, andÂ the quality of the free-hand sketches through a crowdsourced survey.Â The pen-paper and stylus-tablet media both performed significantlyÂ better than the finger-tablet medium in accuracy, whileÂ the pen-paper sketches were significantly rated higher quality comparedÂ to both tablet interfaces. A follow-up study comparing theÂ performance of this stylus with a sharp, hard-tip version showed noÂ significant difference in tracing performance, though participantsÂ preferred the sharp tip for sketching.
The media used for the main sketching study were:Â (a) a marker pen (overall size Ã¸12mm 123mm with a 3mmÂ tip) on paper (b) Â finger on a 7-inch tablet, and (c) a blunt-tipÂ stylus (Ã¸8.5mm 122mm, 6mm tip) on a 7-inch tablet.Â The follow-up study compared (c) with (d) a hard-tip stylusÂ (Ã¸7.6mm 114mm, 1mm tip) on a 10-inch tablet.