Direct combination: a new user interaction principle for mobile and ubiquitous HCI

Holland, S.; Morse, D.R. and Gedenryd, H. (2002). Direct combination: a new user interaction principle for mobile and ubiquitous HCI. In: Paterno, Fabio ed. Human Computer Interaction with Mobile Devices. Lecture Notes in Computer Science (2411). Berlin: Springer, pp. 108–122.




Direct Combination (DC) is a recently introduced user interaction principle. The principle (previously applied to desktop computing) can greatly reduce the degree of search, time, and attention required to operate user interfaces. We argue that Direct Combination applies particularly aptly to mobile computing devices, given appropriate interaction techniques, examples of which are presented here. The reduction in search afforded to users can be applied to address several issues in mobile and ubiquitous user interaction including: limited feedback bandwidth; minimal attention situations; and the need for ad-hoc spontaneous interoperation and dynamic reconfiguration of multiple devices. When Direct Combination is extended and adapted to fit the demands of mobile and ubiquitous HCI, we refer to it as Ambient Combination (AC) . Direct Combination allows the user to exploit objects in the environment to narrow down the range of interactions that need be considered (by system and user). When the DC technique of pairwise or n-fold combination is applicable, it can greatly lessen the demands on users for memorisation and interface navigation. Direct Combination also appears to offers a new way of applying context-aware information. In this paper, we present Direct Combination as applied ambiently through a series of interaction scenarios, using an implemented prototype system.

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