The Disappearing Tabletop

Social and Technical Challenges for Cross-Surface Collaboration

Call for Participation

Important Dates
Workshop Paper Submission: 28 August 2017 (Extended)
Author Notification: 20 August 2017
ISS Early Registration: 21 August 2017
Workshop: 17 October 2017

Over the past two decades tabletop research has flourished, and tabletops have been successfully deployed to ‘wild’ settings such as museums, classrooms , and science centres. This success developed in parallel to the formation of the ACM Conference on Interactive Surfaces and Spaces, the release of mainstream products such as the SMART Table, Microsoft Surface, Ideum, and hundreds of academic publications.

During this period, a number of strengths of tabletop displays were identified and characterized. For example, they have been shown to support collaborative processes more fluidly than vertical displays. In group decision-making tasks, tabletops have also been shown to result in more in-depth discussion and participants taking on a more diverse set of roles. In response to these strengths, and many others, effort was invested in the development of interaction techniques and design guidelines to promote the adoption of tabletops in practice.

However, as new devices such as smartphones, tablets, and videowalls have emerged, the ISS community has moved to explore interaction and collaboration across multiple surfaces and spaces – often including tabletops as one component of a ‘device ecology’. As these devices have gained widespread adoption, they have often displaced the tabletop as the central focus of collaborative activities. Today, groups collaborate on individual smartphones, gather around a shared set of tablets, or a nearby wall display in favour of a tabletop. These practices bring into question the role of the tabletop moving forward.

This workshop aims to foster a discussion on the role of the tabletop in modern, multi-surface ecologies between interested researchers. Submissions should describe experience in developing cross-surface or tabletop systems that support collaborative activities, perspectives on the evolving (or disappearing) role of tabletops, opportunities for the use of tabletops in supporting collaboration, and identify key barriers that prevent tabletops from advancing into broader societal use, beyond research labs and niche applications. Topics may include:

  • What has held back tabletops from commercial success?
  • Are there fundamental problems faced by tabletops? (conceptual and/or technical)
  • For what tasks, user populations, etc. are tabletops best suited?
  • What alternative devices are useful in supporting similar scenarios? e.g., Have smartphones, tablets, or vertical displays displaced tabletops?
  • Where has ISS been most successful in fostering the development of tabletops?
  • What opportunities exist for new researchers interested in tabletop research?

Participants are encouraged to address these questions directly in their workshop submissions.

How to Submit

We invite researchers and designers who have been involved in one or more project(s) involving applications of tabletop displays. Attendees of the workshop must submit a 2 Р4 page work-in-progress or position paper  in the 2016 ACM SIGCHI Extended Abstract format. Authors may also submit, if appropriate, a short video.

Given the focus of the workshop, we are particularly interested in perspectives on past work from experienced researchers, reflections on strengths and weaknesses of the tabletop form factor, and opportunities to expand the use of tabletops from new researchers.

To support discussion during the workshop, accepted papers will be made available on this website.

Submissions will be accepted via easy chair until 28 August 2017 (Extended).

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