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Advances in Human-Computer Interaction
Volume 2012, Article ID 137686, 10 pages
Research Article

Comparing Horizontal and Vertical Surfaces for a Collaborative Design Task

Department of Computer Science, University of Victoria, Engineering/Computer Science Building (ECS), Room 504, P.O. Box 3055, STN CSC, Victoria, BC, Canada V8W 3P6

Received 13 October 2011; Revised 20 January 2012; Accepted 26 January 2012

Academic Editor: Antonio Krüger

Copyright © 2012 Brianna Potvin et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


We investigate the use of different surface orientations for collaborative design tasks. Specifically, we compare horizontal and vertical surface orientations used by dyads performing a collaborative design task while standing. We investigate how the display orientation influences group participation including face-to-face contact, total discussion, and equality of physical and verbal participation among participants. Our results suggest that vertical displays better support face-to-face contact whereas side-by-side arrangements encourage more discussion. However, display orientation has little impact on equality of verbal and physical participation, and users do not consistently prefer one orientation over the other. Based on our findings, we suggest that further investigation into the differences between horizontal and vertical orientations is warranted.