Niklas Elmqvist, Ph.D.

Surrogate Interaction
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Synopsis: Promoting a hybrid between direct and indirect manipulation using surrogate objects.


  • (2010-12-13) Accepted to CHI 2011! - Our full paper on Surrogate Interaction has been accepted to the ACM CHI 2011 conference. See you in Vancouver in May!


  • Start date: March, 2009

Direct manipulation has had major influence on interface design since it was proposed by Shneiderman in 1982. Although directness generally benefits users, direct manipulation also has weaknesses. In some cases, such as when a user needs to manipulate small, attribute-rich objects or multiple objects simultaneously, indirect manipulation may be more efficient at the cost of directness or intuitiveness of the interaction. Several techniques have been developed over the years to address these issues, but these are all isolated and limited efforts with no coherent underlying principle. We propose the notion of Surrogate Interaction that ties together a large subset of these techniques through the use of a surrogate object that allow users to interact with the surrogate instead of the domain object. We believe that formalizing this family of interaction techniques will provide an additional and powerful interface design alternative for interaction designers, as well as uncover opportunities for future research.



  • B. Kwon, W. Javed, N. Elmqvist, J.-S. Yi. Direct Manipulation Through Surrogate Objects. In Proceedings of the ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, pp. 627-636, 2011. [PDF] [YouTube] [BibTeX] [Website]