Abstract

Inking and gesturing are two central tasks in pen-based user interfaces. Switching between modes for entry of uninterpreted ink and entry of gestures is required by many pen-based user interfaces. Without an appropriate mode switching technique, pen-based interactions in such situations may be inefficient and cumbersome. In this paper, we investigate five techniques for switching between ink and gesture modes in pen interfaces, including a pen pressure based mode switching technique that allows implicit mode transition. A quantitative experimental study was conducted to evaluate the performance of these techniques. The results suggest that pressing a button with the non-preferred hand offers the fastest performance, while the technique of holding the pen still is significantly slower and more prone to error than the other techniques. Pressure, while promising, did not perform as well as the non-preferred hand button with our current implementation.

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