Surfnet logo

Investigating Attraction and Engagement of Animation on Large Interactive Walls in Public Areas

This is an ongoing project.


Large interactive walls capable of delivering dynamic content to broad audiences are becoming increasingly common in public areas for information dissemination, advertising, and entertainment purposes. A major design challenge for these systems is to entice and engage passersby to interact with the system, and in a manner intended by the designers.

To address this issue, we are examining the use of different types of animation at various stages of interaction as someone approaches and begins interacting with the system. We will evaluate the effectiveness of these animation types using adapted versions of museum study metrics, namely, attraction power and engagement levels, on top of conventional usability measures.

This project is a continuation of a previously funded special project titled: Exploring Extremely Usable Interfaces for Interactive Surface, which inspired us to explore the notion of easy-to-learn-and-use interface in public areas where prior training with the interface is not assumed, and each interaction phase is brief. We believe the theoretical and empirical findings will allow the general public to enjoy the benefits of large interfactive surfaces.

We hypothesize that effective use of animation (e.g. bold, whimiscal components) can help attract and guide passersby even when they have no prior experience with the surface interface. The use of animation is inspired by a previous SurfNet project by Mindy Seto (Master’s student of University of Waterloo) that investigated menu discoverability on a digital tabletop in a public setting (Designing Visual Affordances into Digital Tabletop Menus for Use in Public Settings).


The image above illustrates some of the design concepts we will be investigating using a notice board application providing information related to ongoing campus events. Various animation styles will be used depending on the interaction phase as well as how the animation is triggered. The application makes use of the Simple-Multitouch (SMT) library developed by the SurfNet intern team, and extends it to allow for web-based event creation and simple window-based navigation for multiple users.

Project Partners