Natural User Interface Design using Multiple Displays for Courier Dispatch Operations.
Thesis DisciplineHuman Interface Technology
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Human Interface Technology
This thesis explores how Natural User Interface (NUI) interaction and Multiple Display Technology (MDT) can be applied to an existing Freight Management System (FMS), to improve the command and control interface of the dispatch operators. Situational Awareness (SA) and Task Efficiency (TE) are identified as being the main requirements for dispatchers. Based on studies that have been performed on SA and TE in other time critical occupations such as Emergency Medical Dispatch (EMD) and Air Traffic Control (ATC), a substitute dispatch display system was designed with focus on courier driver and freight management systems and monitoring. This system aims to alleviate cognitive overheads without disrupting the flow of the existing CFMS by providing extended screen area matched with a natural input mechanism for command and control functionality. This Master’s thesis investigates which of commercial state-of-the-art interface tools is best to use in a wide Field-of-View (FOV) multiple screen display and to dicern if there is any practical impact that a proposed NUI system will have to courier dispatching.
To assess the efficacy of such a hypothetical system the author has developed an experimental prototype that combines a set of three monitors in a Multi-Monitor System to create the overall display system, accompanied with two traditional and two advanced NUI direct and indirect interaction techniques (mouse, trackpad, touch screen and gesture controller). Experiments using the prototype were conducted to determine the optimum configuration for control/display interface based upon task effectiveness, bandwidth and overall user desirability of these methods in supporting behavioural requirements of dispatch workstation task handling. The author use the well-studied and robust Fitts' Law for measuring and analysing user behaviour with NUIs.
Evaluation of the prototype system finds that the multi-touch system paired with the multi-monitor system was the most responsive of the interaction techniques, direct or indirect. Based on these findings, employing such an interaction system is a viable option for deployment in FMS's. However for optimal efficiency, the firmware that supports the interactivity dynamics should be re-designed so it is optimized to touch interaction. This will allow the multi-touch system to be used effectively as an affordance technology. Although the gesture interaction approach has a lot of potential as an alternative NUI device, the performance of gesture input in this experimental setting had the worst performance of all conditions. This finding was largely a result of the interface device limitation within the wide FOV display range of the multi-monitor system. Further design improvements and experimentation are proposed to alleviate this problem for the gesture tracking and for the touchscreen modalities of interaction.