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The Data Surface Interaction Paradigm


Publication Type:

Conference/Workshop Paper


Theory and Practice in Computer Science


Eurographics Association


This paper presents, in contrasts to the desktop metaphor, a content centric data surface interaction paradigm for graphical user interfaces applied to music creativity improvisation. Issues taken into account were navigation and retrieval of information, collaboration, and creative open-ended tasks. In this system there are no windows, icons, menus, files or applications. Content is presented on an infinitely large two-dimensional surface navigated by incremental search, zoom, and pan. Commands are typed aided by contextual help, visual feedback, and text completion. Components provide services related to different content modalities. Synchronisation of data surface content sustains mutual awareness of actions and mutual modifiability. The prototype music tool was evaluated with 10 users; it supported services expected by users, their creativity in action, and awareness in collaboration. User responses to the prototype tool were: It feels free, it feels good for creativity, and it’s easy and fun to use.


author = {Rikard Lindell and Thomas Larsson},
title = {The Data Surface Interaction Paradigm},
editor = {Louise Lever, Mary McDerby},
pages = {155--162},
month = {June},
year = {2005},
booktitle = {Theory and Practice in Computer Science},
publisher = {Eurographics Association},
url = {}